ASK v SSHD [2017] EWHC 196 (Admin), [2017] MHLO 6

"The issue in this case concerns an allegation that in 2013 the Claimant - 'ASK' - was unlawfully detained in an Immigration Removal Centre pending removal from the United Kingdom and, once he was definitively declared unfit to fly, detained for an unreasonably long period of time before eventual transfer to a psychiatric unit. I was told that there are a growing number of similar cases before the Courts. The case raises a number of issues. First, the implications of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in R (on the application of O) (by her litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 19 and the change that it has brought to the law relating to detention, in the light of R (Das) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mind and another intervening) [2014] EWCA Civ 45. In O v SSHD the Supreme Court modified the test for when a person awaiting removal could be detained in a detention centre by rejecting the view of the Court of Appeal in Das that the Defendant was not required to take account of the possibility that a detainee would receive better care and treatment in a psychiatric unit relative to that available in the IRC. Second, the extent of the duty on the Secretary of State to make inquiries as to a person's mental health before she transfers an immigration over-stayer to an IRC and whether it is sufficient to complete the medical assessment only once the person has been detained? Third, whether there is a duty upon IRC caseworkers when they complete their records to refer expressly to HO policy and the questions they need to address and whether the omission of such information or entries in recorded form has significance in law? Fourth, how a court is to assess the point in time at which a detainee must be treated as definitively unfit to fly for the purpose of determining when an otherwise legitimate rationale of detention for the purpose of removal ends? Fifth, once a decision is taken that a detainee must be transferred to a psychiatric unit under the Mental Health Act 1983 what is meant by 'prompt' transfer and in particular what happens if there is disagreement between the transferring clinicians who issue certificates under sections 47 and 48 MHA 1983 and the receiving clinician(s) to whom the IRC wishes to transfer and entrust the detainee? Sixth, how the Court should evaluate different types of evidence including: caseworkers reviews and notes, contemporaneous clinical notes and reports, and subsequent (ex post facto) expert reports which rely upon earlier notes and clinical reports."

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