Home Office’s ‘no recourse to public funds’ policy found unlawful again

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A five year old British boy and his mother have succeeded in their challenge to the Home Office’s recently revised policy on denying benefits to migrants. The High Court has declared the Home Office’s NRPF policy to be unlawful for failing to comply with the duty to treat the interests of children as a primary consideration. Last year the High Court ruled that the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) policy introduced in 2012 by then Home Secretary, which blocks thousands of families from receiving the same state support that helps other low-earning parents to survive, was unlawful because it was liable to subject people to levels of destitution which breached the common law “law of humanity” and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The policy was amended in response to that judgment, but the Claimants case was that the policy remained unlawful. Another case followed on and was heard by a Divisional Court on 17 & 18 March 2021.  In a single judgment of the court handed down today, the judges ruled that the policy fails to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  The judgment can be accessed here.  The High Court challenge was supported by The Unity Project, a charity set up to support families facing destitution as a result of NRPF. Alex Goodman (with Ben Amunwa of The 36 Group), representing the claimants, was instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn partners Adam Hundt and Ugo Hayter, trainee solicitor Althia Stephens and paralegal Bryony Goodesmith. The case has been reported in the Guardian.

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