Government can't deport homeless EU migrants, High Court rules

Three EU nationals challenged the Government's policy

The Government's policy was introduced last year (stock photo)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The High Court has ruled that the Government's policy of deporting homeless EU migrants is illegal, in a landmark verdict welcomed by campaigners.

Mrs Justice Laing said the measures, brought into effect lasrt year, were discriminatory and in direct contravention of European law.

The verdict follows a challenge brought by three EU nationals - two from Poland and one from Latvia - who faced deportation for sleeping rough.

Laing ruled that the Government's policy "discriminated unlawfully against EEA nationals and rough sleepers", as “there has been a significant increase in rough sleepers of all nationalities."

The Home Office was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the claimants, in another blow to Theresa May and her administration.

The Government published a revised policy just before the ruling was read out, but Laing advised Home Secretary Amber Rudd to reconsider its terms.

'Toxic and disturbing'

The ruling was hailed on Twitter, with campaigners saying the Government's policy was "toxic."

Matthew Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, who gave evidence for the case, said:

“We are very heartened that the High Court has ruled unequivocally that this disturbing policy is illegal and must be stopped immediately. It has been shocking to witness how some of the most vulnerable members of our society have been treated, in many cases taking them away from the help they were getting to resolve their homelessness.

“Our own clients have been severely affected by these detentions, sometimes with tragic consequences. This is no way to treat people. This policy has been brutal and indiscriminate, but with this ruling, it must come to an end immediately.”