High Court grants permission for Napier barracks legal challenge following Home Secretary’s concession it is arguable that conditions breach human rights

At today’s High Court hearing the Home Secretary conceded that it is arguable that conditions in Napier barracks may breach human rights and are inadequate and permission to proceed to trial was granted.

The claim is brought by 6 Claimants who were accommodated by the Home Secretary in Napier barracks. The Claimants argue that the use of Napier barracks fails to meet essential living needs and risks breaching Articles 2, 3, 5 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Despite filing a summary defence and evidence last week, the Secretary of State conceded in the morning of the hearing that they could not advance their defence and that the claim was arguable. The hearing will now be heard in April.

Clare Jennings, Director and Solicitor at Matthew Gold and Co, representing 2 of the Claimants said:

The Secretary of State has been on notice of the issues at Napier barracks for months and has publicly defended the use of the barracks. It appears that it is only now, that the Secretary of State has finally begun to grapple with the issues, with the 11th hour concession that it was arguable that the conditions within the barracks breached human rights. Our clients have been subjected to months of intolerable living conditions. We are pleased that this matter will now proceed to trial and the Secretary of State’s actions will receive much needed scrutiny”.

Olivia Halse, Solicitor for two of the Claimants says:

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s concession that it is arguable that our clients’ human rights have been breached as a result of the conditions in the barracks. It is a shame, however, that this has come at such a late stage. Hundreds of vulnerable men have been subjected to horrendous conditions in the barracks and many still remain in the barracks. We call on the Government to take immediate steps to close down the barracks and ensure they act in accordance with their duty to provide these asylum seekers with adequate and suitable support.”

The Claimants are anonymized pursuant to an Order of the Court and cannot be identified for legal reasons. The case references are: NB v SSHD CO/312/2021, M & F v SSHD CO/329/2021, OMA v SSHD CO/397/2021, XD v SSHD CO/354/2021, YZM v SSHD CO/402/2021.

Clare Jennings, Olivia Halse, Rachel Etheridge, Kathryn Gooding, Ornina Kassem, and Alexander Hogg of Matthew Gold and Co. represent two of the Claimants. Counsel instructed are Shu Shin Luh and Antonia Benfield of Doughty Street Chambers.

Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors are instructed by four of the Claimants and Counsel instructed is Tom Hickman QC of Blackstone Chambers and Leonie Hirst of Doughty Street Chambers.