The Weekly Round-up: Migrant tagging, pandemic education rights, and Mental Health Act reform
8 November 2022
In the news
A report has found that the newly introduced practice of GPS tagging migrants has left people feeling suicidal and stigmatised. Since August 2021, those on immigration bail facing deportation have been monitored by the State, but in January of this year the measures were increased to GPS tracking their every move. The report raises the following concerns: (i) it causes serious damage to mental and physical health; (ii) it is a form of surveillance that goes beyond what is necessary; and (iii) the tags must be charged for up to 4 hours per day and cannot be removed to do this. In the round, the report characterised the practice as ‘psychological torture’ and recommended that it be stopped.
Thousands of students have decided to bring legal claims against universities over their education during the Covid-19 pandemic. The claims complain that the tuition fees for education remained the same despite everything moving online, the result of which being that resources were vastly reduced. Some students paid £40,000 for the year despite lessons frequently being cancelled and timetables slashed. Part of the issue, according to one student at the University of Nottingham, was that students were not told when the period of online teaching would end, and so were forced to pay rent for no reason. No claim has been brought at present, but the calls have rallied nearly 20,000 students in support.
In other news
- A report has concluded that defective vetting and failures by police leaders have allowed a culture of potentially thousands of officers who are ‘predatory’ towards women to join the ranks. The report was ordered after the rape and murder of Sarah Everard and lists a decade of warning to police chiefs about serious sexual assault and abuses of power.
- The Law Society has called for Mental Health Act reform after data shows a disproportionate impact on Black British people in terms of detention and treatment. It was advised that the MHA should be used in ‘the least restrictive way possible’ and people who are detained should be given more choice than they currently are.
- The man who brought posters and adhesive spray to Sajid Javid’s home in protest to the vaccine rollout has been found not guilty of intent to cause criminal damage. The defence’s case was that the defendant went to Mr Javid’s property with the aim of getting arrested, rather than causing any actual damage.
In the courts
- In De Aquino v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2730, the High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review of the SSHD’s decision to refuse the claimant permission to enter the UK as a visitor and to detain the claimant. The claimant asserted that the determination that he was not a ‘genuine’ visitor was procedurally unfair due to the nature of the interview that took place. At the interview there was a failure to probe, investigate, or ask appropriate follow-up questions and these, it was submitted, undermined the refusal to grant entry to the UK. While the court concluded that the interview was procedurally unfair, it was held that the absence of this unfairness would not have made any substantial difference to the outcome of the decision. It was on this basis that the claim was dismissed in its entirety.
- In BAL v Secretary of State for Defence  EWHC 2757, the claimants partially succeeded in a claim for judicial review against the decision to refuse their application to allow them to relocate to the UK under the category of ‘additional family members’. The first claimant was a judge in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban takeover. In recognition of the role he played he and his wife were assessed as being eligible for relocation, but his other family members were not. The court held that the reasoning processes in making such a decision was so seriously flawed as to render the decisions illogical and irrational.
Elsewhere on the UKHRB
- Marina Wheeler KC discusses the small boats arriving on the south coast and the unlawful seizure of mobile phones.
- On Law Pod UK, Rosalind English talks to Robert Kellar KC about Cryptocurrencies and NFTs as forms of property.