08 Jun Windrush Call for Evidence
Solicitors at Matthew Gold & Company have recently submitted representations to the Home Office’s call for evidence on behalf of a number of clients affected by the Windrush scandal.
This follows from scandal that broke earlier this year confirming that the Home Office did not keep adequate records or issue any paper work confirming the granting of legal status in the UK following the Immigration Act 1971. As a result a group of people known as the Windrush generation, as well as many of their family members, were unable to prove their legal right to be in the country.
Fast forward to 2014 where, in Theresa May’s hostile environment, in order to obtain free NHS treatment, claim benefits, get a job, drive a car or rent a property one must prove their immigration status.
Without the documentation to do so, it is suspected that thousands of people, either of the Windrush generation or their family members, have been wrongfully denied access to various public services and stripped of their rights to work and claim benefits resulting in unimaginable anxiety, upheaval and detriment.
As a first step to compensate those affected by this scandal the Home Office announced a ‘call for evidence’ in order to begin formulating the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
Matthew Gold & Company represent a number of clients affected by the Windrush scandal and in light of our extensive experience in representing victims in previous redress and compensation schemes as well as representing vulnerable migrant families, we have submitted representations to be considered.
By doing so it is hoped the Home Office are aware not only of the individual impact this scandal has had on our clients, but also, in more general terms to ensure the scope compensation scheme is not too narrow and its operation serves the appropriate purpose.
We suggested the scheme covers the following heads of loss: impact on the individual, psychological loss, diagnosed psychiatric injuries and loss of opportunity (including loss of earnings).
We pointed out that not all mental impact amounts to a diagnosed illness. Where is does it is usually more severe justifying separate compensation. Mental impact can also include upset, trauma, anxiety, stress and more general mental distress which does not manifest itself in a diagnosed injury. This type of mental impact is likely to be more commonly found and can be seriously debilitating especially if it has lasted for a number of years.
The inability to work and to further a career can have a severe impact on an individual. If it can be shown that this was caused by the failure to recognise the applicant’s legal status, we consider it is only reasonable that an appropriate head of loss is included in the compensation scheme.
We also suggested that the scheme ensure that those affected are able to put forward their individual circumstances and have a chance to explain how they have been affected. This will not only allow for all losses to be considered and compensated but also for the victims to feel that justice is being done. We went on to recommend that the victims be afforded the opportunity for a hearing before an appropriate tribunal when requested and in the more serious cases. We expressed our view that any tribunal assessing and hearing cases should be seen to be wholly independent of the Government especially in light of the sequence of events to date.
We hope these representations will be fully considered in establishing the compensation scheme for those affected by the Windrush scandal and that steps can and will continue to be made to learn lessons from this situation and its impact.
If you think you have been affected by the Windrush scandal and would like advice on obtaining compensation from the Home Office, please contact our office on 02084459268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org