Sarabjit Singh QC was instructed by the Secretary of State for the Home Department in two cases concerning the deportation of criminals to Jamaica that were determined by the High Court and Court of Appeal on Monday.
The proposed deportation charter flight caused heated debate in Parliament during the course of Monday 10th February 2020, with opposition MPs challenging the government over its decision to deport individuals to Jamaica before the release of a report on the Windrush scandal, whilst the government defended its right to deport serious foreign criminals in the public interest.
Sarabjit was instructed by the Home Office to act in two cases that came to a head on Monday. In the first, Detention Action, an immigration campaign group, sought an injunction to prevent the deportation of certain individuals on the flight to Jamaica who they claimed were not given a sufficient opportunity to seek legal advice to challenge their removal. An injunction was twice refused by the High Court during the course of Monday, before the Court of Appeal granted one on Monday evening. Sarabjit was instructed by the Home Office to make a late night attempt to persuade the Court of Appeal to change its mind, which led to a Court of Appeal judge sitting beyond midnight before confirming her decision shortly before 1am.
In the second case Sarabjit acted in, a number of Claimants sought to injunct the removal of anyone to Jamaica on the charter flight on multiple grounds, including that the political and media scrutiny surrounding the return of deportees would expose them to a risk of serious harm in Jamaica. They also claimed that it was unlawful for the Secretary of State to carry out deportations when the leaked Windrush Lessons Learned draft review had recommended that the government reconsider its deportation policy. Sarabjit was instructed by the Secretary of State to respond to the claim on Monday and resist an injunction against the flight. A High Court judge agreed on Monday that an injunction should be refused, describing the claim as hopeless, before the Claimants made a renewed attempt to obtain an injunction which was ultimately refused by another High Court judge late on Monday night. This meant that the deportation flight was able to take off on Tuesday morning.
Widely featured in the press:
- Evening Standard
- Huffington Post
- Sky News
- Financial Times (paywall)