Court of Appeal

Court of Appeal judgment on Home Office’s Article 3 duties in NRPF context

The Court of Appeal has allowed our clients’ appeal against a High Court judgment that rejected their compensation claims made after the Home Office left them destitute for prolonged periods due to the NRPF condition.

On 18 April 2024 the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the case of ASY v Home Office [2024] EWCA Civ 373. The Claimants were appealing against the judgment and order of May J in Home Office v ASY & Ors [2023] EWHC 196 (KB).

The Claimants in this case were all single mothers with limited leave to remain (“LLTR”) in the UK. Each Claimant had at least one British citizen child and faced financial difficulties which meant they were unable to meet their children’s essential living needs and/or their accommodation was not adequate. They were ineligible for benefits because the Home Office imposed a condition on the mother’s LLTR prohibiting access to public funds, under a policy which was declared unlawful by the Divisional Court in R (W) v SSHD [2020] 1 WLR 4420 because it breached Article 3 of the ECHR by requiring individuals to become destitute before the Home Office would remove the NRPF condition.

After prolonged delays, the Home Office accepted that each Claimant in this case was destitute and should therefore be permitted to have recourse to public funds, but each family had endured several weeks (and in some cases months) of destitution before that decision was made.

In October 2021, the County Court concluded that this meant the Claimants had a right to damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA 1998”) for a breach of their rights under Article 3 ECHR.

The Home Office then appealed to the High Court and it overturned the County Court’s decision.

Our clients appealed that decision, and the Court of Appeal held that “the Claimants have a right to damages for breach of their rights under Article 3 ECHR if, as a result of the conditions imposed upon them by the Home Office of having no recourse to public funds:

 (a) they have suffered inhuman and degrading treatment; or

(b) they have been at immediate risk of inhuman and degrading treatment; have notified the Home Office of this by making a CoC claim; have not had a positive and prompt response to that claim; and have suffered severe distress during the period before the claim is resolved.”

The Home Office has sought the Court of Appeal’s permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.  At the time of writing it is not clear whether permission will be granted or whether the appeal will be pursued further.  In the meantime the Court of Appeal’s decision stands, and the judgment can be accessed here.

The barristers representing our clients are Alex Goodman KC of Landmark Chambers and Ben Amunwa of 3 Paper Buildings.

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