At an oral hearing at the Administrative Court on 28 October 2020, listed to consider the application for interim relief made on behalf of the detainee, SA, Mrs Justice Stacey ruled that there was objectively no prospect of removal within a reasonable time.

The applicant had been held in detention since 1 September 2020. The Home Secretary’s particular argument that the third Hardial Singh principle must be considered in the light of the second principle, and regard had to what time might elapse before the breach of the reasonable length of detention requirement, was successfully argued by Philip Rule to represent a conflation of those separate obligations, each of which it is necessary for the State to meet if detention for the purposes of immigration removal is to be justified as lawful.

The Judge found that she could not share the confidence and optimism expressed by the Secretary of State that it would be possible in a reasonable timeframe to establish a country to which the applicant could be removed. Despite persistent and prolonged efforts by the Home Office the applicant’s nationality remained undetermined. There was insufficient evidence that any further suggested avenues of enquiry would have any likelihood of success. The position was accordingly one of hope seeking to triumph over experience, and it was speculative to contend that removal could take place within a reasonable period.

The Court ordered immediate release and stayed that taking effect for five days to allow for the provision of accommodation to the Claimant.

Philip Rule of No5 Chambers represented the successful applicant, instructed by Ahmed Aydeed, Sumbul Phillips and Tamsin Hope of Duncan Lewis solicitors, Birmingham branch.