An immigration barrister fears a Judicial Review has thrown up the possibility that the Government’s methods to deport EU nationals could end up costing the country hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Becket Bedford, of No5 Barristers’ Chambers, led the review of a case involving a 19-year-old Slovakian man who was facing deportation (R (Balog) v SSHD) which was heard in the High Court before John Howells QC. Questions were raised over the legality of the Government’s actions.

Mr Bedford said: “This case throws up serious questions. It fits the same pattern of Home Office actions that we saw with the Windrush scandal and the so-called hostile environment policy, which we are beginning to see now with the ‘deport first, appeal later policy’ applied to Union citizens.  

“With a hard Brexit looming on March 29, this tough, and in this case unlawful, approach will cost us many more thousands in damages and lawyers’ fees.”

Solicitor Stuart Luke, of Instalaw, also worked on the case. Mr Luke said: “Half way though the hearing, the Home Office accepted it had unlawfully detained a Union citizen for more than six months in an unlawful attempt to remove him ahead of his deportation appeal, after the completion by him of a sentence in a young offenders’ institute.

“It was a case where the citizen had lived in the UK for some 12 years, since coming here aged six, while his parents from Slovakia did agency work all over South of England.  

“After suffering a serious unprovoked assault as a teenager, which led to his hospitalisation, his family noticed a marked change in his personality. He committed a series of offences, including robbery, which led to his 13-month imprisonment.”

On January 14, the claimant was released without explanation two days before the hearing in the High Court to await his appeal in the immigration tribunal later this year in March, added Mr Bedford.

“Previously the Home Office had justified his detention for more than six months on account of his record, but nothing in that record suddenly changed on the day of his release.  He will now collect several tens of thousands in damages to be agreed.

“I fear the scale of this issue will only grow, especially as we let go of Europe,” added Mr Bedford.