Home > News > R (Hoareau and Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs [2019] EWHC 221 (Admin) – Resettlement of the Chagos Islands

The Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Carr J) has today handed down judgment in R (Hoareau and Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs [2019] EWHC 221 (Admin), dismissing both claims.

The claim related to the Chagos Islands, which form part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Between 1968 and 1972, the British government exiled the entire population of the Islands to facilitate the construction of a US military base on Diego Garcia. A law was passed to prohibit any Chagossian from returning to the Islands without a permit.

In 2012, the government commenced a review of its policy on the Chagos Islands and Chagossians. Despite a feasibility report indicating a range of possible means by which the Islands could be successfully resettled, the government decided – on 16 November 2016 – to refuse to support or permit the resettlement of the Islands, once again disappointing Chagossian hopes of return.

Ms Solange Hoareau, who has lived in exile in the Seychelles for almost 50 years, issued a claim for judicial review on a number of grounds including that the decision was irrational, contrary to Ms Hoareau’s rights under the ECHR and in breach of the public sector equality duty.

Click here for the judgment.

Toby Fisher and Admas Habteslasie, led by Ben Jaffey QC, acted for Solange Hoareau.

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