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Court of Appeal upholds legality of removal regime in Article 2 challenge

DATE: 09 Oct 2014

In an important decision on the ambit of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Court of Appeal has upheld the legality of the regime for the use of force during enforced removals of foreign nationals from the United Kingdom. 

In R (FI) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 1272, the Court was faced with a challenge to the legality of the regime for the enforced removal of foreign nationals from the UK. The Appellant argued that the refusal by the Secretary of State to disclose an unredacted copy of the manual used to train escorts on removal flights on the use of force meant that there was an insufficiently detailed legal framework in place to ensure compliance with Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention. 

The Court of Appeal (the Chancellor, Richards and Christopher Clarke LJJ) dismissed the appeal. It held that neither Article 2 nor Article 3 required the disclosure of the Manual. The emphasis in respect of the framework was on reasonable safeguards, not on regulation of such detail as to minimise to the greatest extent possible any risk to life or risk of ill-treatment. There were strong public interest grounds for not disclosing the manual. The fact that a PII certificate had not been obtained did not prevent the Secretary of State on relying on public interest matters to justify non-disclosure. 

David Blundell appeared as junior counsel (led by First Treasury Counsel, James Eadie QC) for the Secretary of State.