Permission to apply for judicial review has been granted in a challenge to a Home Office decision that there were ‘no reasonable grounds’ to conclude that an asylum seeker was a victim of human trafficking.
The claimant, ‘RY’, is a vulnerable Eritrean asylum seeker. The Home Office has accepted his account that when travelling to the UK from Eritrea, he was confined by agents against his will, deliberately denied adequate food and regularly subjected to violence, all for the purpose of extracting money. However, the Home Office disputes that this ill treatment meets the definition of “trafficking in human beings” set out in international law and reflected in the government’s national trafficking policy, alleging that he was not “exploited” by his captors.
RY challenges this decision, on the basis that the Home Office’s analysis of the “exploitation” element of the international definition of human trafficking was legally flawed. RY also alleges a breach of Article 4 of the European Convention and various failures of the Home Office to follow its own policy on trafficking.
Permission was granted on the papers by Margaret Obi sitting as a deputy of the High Court. While noting that the fact that the claim was brought out-of-time was “serious”, the deputy judge allowed the claimant’s application to extend time, taking into account his vulnerability, promptness after Legal Aid funding was received, and the lack of prejudice to the Home Office. The deputy judge also granted anonymity.
Alex Shattock represents RY, having previously provided a pro bono opinion on merits. He is instructed by Gina Sarfo of Duncan Lewis.