The Queen on the application of Nadir Minsi -v- Secretary of State for Home Department (CO/695/2021)

Wed, 01 Sep 2021

Damages were paid to the Claimant for the provision of unsuitable hotel accommodation, with the only alternative of accommodation 200 miles away from bespoke treatment at Kings College London Clinical Trials

Permission was granted by Mrs Justice Ellenbogen on two grounds of Judicial Review on a challenge to the delay in implementing the decision to provide Section 4 (2) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 accommodation and support. The claimant argues that he suffers from a disability in accordance with the definition of Section 6 Equality Act 2010 – Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) comorbid with Depression/ Anxiety and that he has an Article 8 ECHR right to a private life, that is the right to continue his bespoke medical treatment and the right to engage in cutting edge trials, to increase the chances of long term recovery and decrease chances of relapse.  

Therefore, he brings claims for unfavourable treatment because of ‘something arising’ from the Disability under Section 15 Equality Act 2010 and a breach of under Article 8 ECHR,caused by the Defendants decision not to provide suitable Section 4 (2) accommodation so that he could be in easy reach to Kings College London clinical trial centres and the relevant NHS trust where he receives other medical treatment.

The claimant, a Libyan national and a failed asylum seeker had been residing in a Prevent and Protect Covid 19 hostel (a measure taken with rough sleepers during the pandemic). The defendant agreed to provide the defendant Section 4 (2) accommodation and support in December 2020, having made an application for support and accommodation under Section 4, Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 on 05 October 2020. 

On 30 December 2020, a response was received from Migrant Help stating that this issue had been escalated to the Home Office, yet the Claimant remained in the accommodation with support from charities of about £10 per week. 

The claimant was invited to implement the grant of Section 4 (2) accommodation, through the pre-action protocol. The defendant responded citing lack of suitable accommodation for a single person and did not offer the claimant Section 4 (2) financial support. The claimant bought Judicial Review proceedings. Before the interim relief hearing, the defendant had located a single unit for occupation in Doncaster, although the claimant could not access the trauma treatment that he was receiving because of participating in the STAR trial with Kings College London, as it is yet to be rolled out throughout the NHS. 

On the 29th March 2021, at an in-person hearing, Farbey J granted interim relief to the claimant on the basis that there was medical evidence that went to the impact of disrupting medical treatment- the claimant suffered from suicidal ideation. The defendant had argued that the claimant could avail himself of trauma focused CBT treatment at any NHS Trust (which is standard cognitive modification treatment), although no actual arrangements had been put in place.  This does not consider the complexity of PTSD which was comorbid with other disorders.

On the 6th April 2021, the claimant was moved purportedly in compliance with the order to the Brit Hotel in Waterloo. However, the claimant’s representative urged that he be moved from multiple occupation accommodation, which had an adverse effect on his mental health, due to hypersensitivity to noise.

The defendant then sought to persuade the court that the judicial review challenge was rendered academic. The defendant also relied on Chkharchmalia v SSHD [2019] EWHC 2232 #36-37, which referred to the challenge to the defendant’s policy in so far as it stated that the defendant’s healthcare and pregnancy on the allocation of accommodation suggests that suitable accommodation should be provided, it does not state that more expensive accommodation should be looked at. 

However, at the hearing, on the 30th June 2021, for permission to move to Judicial Review, the defendants reliance  Chkharchmalia v SSHD [2019] was rejected by the Court, on the basis that the claimant firstly did not bring a challenge to the defendants’ policy, but that the claimant was bringing a claim against the defendant because of the needs that his disability presented and that the defendant was not able to demonstrate through evidence any specific consideration of the claimant’s disability, which could arguably have justified looking at other sources of accommodation. The Court was not concerned by the limited stock available to the defendant or the constraints that affordability set- the focus of the court was on the impact on the claimant as a person with mental health impairment.

The matter was settled by consent by the defendant with the claimant having been moved to suitable single unit accommodation in travelling distance to clinical trial and treatment centres and damages for injury to feelings/ just satisfaction for being placed at a disadvantage because of his disability. 

This was among many other Judicial Reviews of a  similar nature settled with a payment of not insignificant sums in damage, where the representatives were:

  • Solicitor: Priscilla Adu-Boahen of Lawstop Solicitors and Counsel
  • Barrister: Ms Nabila Mallick, No5 Barrister' Chambers.

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