The Public Interest Law Unit at Lambeth Law Centre and North East London Migrant Action need financial support to continue an ongoing legal challenge to the Home Office’s unfair and illegal practice of detaining and deporting rough sleeping EEA nationals.
What's the issue?
The Home Office is deliberately targeting European nationals sleeping rough by detaining and deporting them. We believe this is unlawful and are challenging the Government.
Rather than being helped to access the services they need, homeless people are seeing their sleeping sites raided. Some are detained immediately while others are issued with removal papers.
Many of the people who are being detained and threatened with removal have been living and working in the UK for many years, in some cases over a decade. However, due to the precarious and low paid nature of the work they often engage in and unaffordable housing costs, they often struggle to maintain stable accommodation and experience periods of street homelessness.
The Home Office is effectively criminalising homelessness for European nationals in the UK.
Please watch our video about two rough sleepers who have been affected by the policy.
What Are We Doing?
We have filed a Judicial Review in the High Court against the Home Office policy of removing EEA nationals for rough sleeping. The Home Office believes it is an 'abuse' or 'misuse' of EU Treaty rights to sleep rough - this policy is unlawful and we are challenging it in the High Court.
The Public Interest Law Unit and North East London Migrant Action, together with volunteer barristers and interpreters, have been running an emergency advice line and weekly legal advice clinic for European rough sleepers. All have been working on an unpaid, voluntary basis.
Claimants have so far been refused legal aid despite not having any financial means. We believe the case has strong merits and are concerned that the Legal Aid Agency is reluctant to fund a case which is challenging Government policy.
Where is the money going?
All funds raised will go toward protecting three individual claimants—each of them detained by the Home Office for rough sleeping—from legal costs. The outcome of their hearing will determine whether or not a full Judicial Review is granted permission with a view to overturn the Home Office policy.
Help us to protect vulnerable claimants against legal costs they may incur in this important defence of human rights in the UK.
The Public Interest Law Unit is a project of Lambeth Law Centre that specialises in public law challenges. We work to hold public bodies, from local councils to national government, accountable, and to challenge where necessary unlawful laws and decisions
NELMA is a campaigning and solidarity group working to defend the rights of all migrants.
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