The removal of individuals from the UK at little or no notice was ruled illegal by the High Court in July 2010. The Court of Appeal have today dismissed UKBA’s appeal.

From the Public Law Project 22nd November 2011:

“In an ex tempore judgment read by Sullivan LJ who was sitting with the Master of the Rolls and Maurice Kay LJ the Court of Appeal has today dismissed UKBA’s appeal against the decision of the High Court to allow a claim for judicial review by the charity, Medical Justice. The case was a challenge by Medical Justice to the lawfulness of exceptions to UKBA’s general policy which requires at least 72 hours’¬†notice[1] to be given to immigrants of their removal from the UK. Through the exceptions to the policy (until 5 out of 6 of them[2] were quashed by the High Court in July 2010[3]), UKBA were able to reduce the amount of notice given to immigrants, so that they would in some cases be detained and removed from the UK within a few hours.

The basis of the High Court’s decision, which the Court of Appeal has today upheld, was that if less than 72 hours’ notice of removal were given, an immigrant would have no realistic chance of asking the court to intervene to stop the removal where the removal was itself against the law. This would violate immigrants’ right of access to the court –¬†an important common law right. A consequence of the High Court’s judgment, and of today’s judgment of the Court of Appeal, is that – save in relation to port cases referred to in footnote 2 – at least 72 hours’ notice of removal must continue to be given.

The judgment won’t be available for a few weeks while the transcript is being prepared and approved. But it was a good one from our perspective. Thanks to all who gave so much to make the case a success, including the Law Society, BID, ILPA, Detention Action, the Poppy Project, the Refugee Children’s Rights Project (which all gave evidence in the Court of Appeal proceedings), and Sonal Ghelani who conceived the case before she left PLP to found the Migrants Law Project.

Medical Justice was represented by the Public Law Project. Counsel were Dinah Rose QC and Charlotte Kilroy.”


1. To include 2 working days between notice being given and removal, where the last 24 hours must include a working day
2. One of the exceptions, which permits less than 72 hours’ notice in cases where a person is refused leave at port and removal takes place within 7 days of the refusal of leave, was not challenged.

Ravi Low-Beer
Public Law Project
150 Caledonian Road
London N1 9RD

Tel: 0845 543 5944
Fax: 0845 345 9254