Brook House Inquiry report published today

Brook House Inquiry Report

The Brook House Inquiry was established to investigate the decisions, actions and circumstances surrounding the mistreatment of individuals who were detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) and shown in the BBC Panorama programme “Under-Cover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets”, which aired on 4 September 2017. The Inquiry’s Chair, Kate Eves, has today (19 September 2023) published her final report.

The Chair concluded that during the relevant period (1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017), Brook House IRC was a place of “stress and distress” for detained people where there was a toxic culture amongst staff. Notably, the Chair identified 19 separate incidents in which there were credible evidence of acts or omissions that were capable of amounting to mistreatment of detained people contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In addition, the Chair found that entire safeguarding systems in a number of areas were dysfunctional, resulting in a failure to protect those detained as intended. The Chair rejected the narrative portrayed by both the Home Office and G4S, that events at Brook House were primarily the result of the behaviour of a small minority of staff, and instead noted that many of the issues identified by the Inquiry related to a failure to follow the rules and safeguards that already existed in recognition of the risks associated with immigration detention.

The Chair made 33 separate recommendations which included the following key recommendations:

  • The Government must introduce in legislation a maximum 28-day time limit on any individual’s detention within an IRC.
  • The Home Office must introduce, as a matter of urgency, a new and comprehensive detention services order to address use of force in IRCs.
  • The Home Office must urgently commission an independent review of use of force on detained people with mental ill health within IRCs.

The full final report is available here.

This report is receiving extensive media coverage, including: BBC News, The Guardian, The Independent, Sky News, ITV News and many others.

More information on the Brook House Inquiry can be found on the Brook House Inquiry website.

Alex Goodman KC, who has represented core participants in the Inquiry, recorded a podcast, in July this year, alongside Stephanie Harrison KC in which they discuss the Brook House Inquiry and the history of the detention of immigrants in the UK. To access this podcast, please click here.

Christopher Jacobs acted for one of the Detention Custody Officers at Brook House, who was a core participant in the Inquiry.

Harriet Wakeman was Junior Counsel to the Brook House Inquiry, led by Brian Altman KC. She has been instructed by the Inquiry since 2020.

Siân McGibbon was involved at an early stage in reviewing the disclosure, drafting questions for detainees and preparing statements.

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