20 Jun 2017

Home Secretary accused of unlawful process to limit refugee children entering UK

The Home Secretary is accused of unlawfully setting limits to numbers of unaccompanied child refugees accepted into the UK.

Lawyers are challenging the Government’s decision to close the scheme set up by Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs after the Calais refugee camps were shut down.

Laura Dubinsky for Help Refugees told the High Court the Government’s consultation with local authorities on allocating places was “grossly defective” and “unlawful”.

Lord Dubs and Juliet Stevenson who are campaigning for unaccompanied child refugees to enter the UK

(Picture: Lord Dubs and Juliet Stevenson who are campaigning for unaccompanied child refugees to enter the UK)

Only 480 children are being relocated under the scheme with an estimated 95,000 unaccompanied refugee minors now living in Europe.

The judges were told the Home Office consultation in 2016 was done by “stealth”, and failed to provide councils with critical information, abandoned the process with Northern Ireland, was unclear on demands or deadlines with councils in Scotland and mislead Wales on the process of offering places.

Migrants carry belongings while walking to board buses in Grande-Synthe, northern France, on April 14, 2017, as they leave a makeshift camp where around 300 migrants had found shelter after the destruction by a fire of their nearby camp, to head to reception and orientation centres. A huge fire gutted one of France's biggest migrant camps housing 1,500 people, which started after a brawl involving hundreds of Afghans and Kurds late on April 10. The Grande-Synthe facility near the northern French port of Dunkirk was the only one in the area and provided hundreds of wooden huts for shelter, as well as cooking facilities and showers

Lawyers said only six places were recorded as being available in Scotland and the same number in Wales but dozens more were never considered.

The High Court is being asked to quash the Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s decision to restrict the Dubs scheme to 480 children and to order the Government to reopen consultations with local authorities to take more.

In papers submitted to the court the Home Secretary admits mistakes were made but denies the consultation process was so unfair as to be unlawful.

The hearing’s expected to last three days.