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Lawyers launch judicial review against government’s refugee policy, on World Refugee Day

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Leigh Day and Doughty Street v Amber Rudd

Today is World Refugee Day, and Leigh Day lawyers will be marking the occasion by launching legal action against the government and its child refugee policy.

The judicial review in question has been brought by charity Help Refugees. It will claim Home Secretary Amber Rudd adopted a “seriously defective” process when she measured the capacity of local councils to take in child refugees under the Dubs scheme.

The Dubs amendment — named after its pioneer, Labour politician Lord Alf Dubs — was accepted into s67 of the Immigration Act 2016 last May. It is screenshotted below.

Dubs, who was himself a child refugee, and his supporters hoped 3,000 children would be helped by s67.

However Rudd — after consulting with local authorities — calculated only 480 should be accepted. Then the government announced in February the Dubs scheme was to be closed, after just 350 children were accepted.

It has since been revealed, thanks to a freedom of information request submitted by website Vice, that councils had voluntarily offered to accept 1,572 more children than they were already supporting.

Rosa Curling of Leigh Day, for the charity, said:

The government’s consultation with local authorities was seriously flawed. We are asking the court to order the government to reopen the consultation so that national capacity to assist these children can be properly assessed.

The claimants will argue the Home Office didn’t provide the local authorities with vital information they needed during the consultation process, for example, a 14 October 2016 deadline for responses. The Independent reports the Home Office failed to count 91% of places offered by Scottish local authorities, 86% by Welsh, and 45% by English because they were received after the cut-off date.

The case is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice before Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Ouseley today. Help Refugees are represented in their legal challenge by Laura Dubinsky, Rowena Moffatt and Alex Gask of Doughty Street Chambers and Edward Craven of Matrix Chambers.

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