High Court Rules on Trafficking Victims Test Case

The High Court is to rule on whether the Home Office’s new ‘scheduling rule’ is incompatible with the international Convention implemented by the UK to combat the trafficking in human beings and whether the new rule discriminates against victims of trafficking who have made an asylum claim.

On 2 May 2019 the High Court heard this test case and judgment is currently awaited.

The UK has a system in place for the identification and support of victims of trafficking and modern slavery. Newly identified potential victims are provided with support and assistance for a period, the target period being 45 days, until the Home Office reaches a decision as to whether the individual is a formally recognised victim of trafficking. If the Home Office decide the individual is a victim of trafficking, consideration is then given to whether the individual requires a period of discretionary leave to remain in the UK to assist them with their recovery from their trafficking experience and/or to enable them to continue assisting with investigations or the criminal proceedings of their traffickers.
However, the Home Office’s new rule means that some recognised victims of trafficking, those who have an outstanding asylum claim, have to wait until after their asylum claim has been decided and refused before consideration is given to whether they require leave to remain in the UK, whilst victims of trafficking who have no asylum claim receive a decision on leave to remain in the UK straightaway.

If successful, hundreds of victims of trafficking, with outstanding asylum claims, will avoid being caught by the ‘scheduling rule’ and will accordingly avoid having a decision on their leave to remain delayed by months and possibly years. The claimants waited, trapped in limbo, unable to work, study, or properly recover from their experiences, for 11 months (BS) and 8½ months (JP) for the Home Office to reach a decision on leave to remain in the UK.

The Claimants BS and JP have instructed Chris Buttler of Matrix Chambers and Ugo Hayter, Adam Hundt and Althia Stephens of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

For further information please contact Ugo Hayter (uhayter@dpglaw.co.uk) or Adam Hundt (ahundt@dpglaw.co.uk)