There will be a public inquiry into the abuses at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre which were uncovered by a BBC Panorama programme. If you were detained at Brook House IRC at any point between 1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017, and where there is credible evidence of mistreatment, then you may be able to be a ‘Core Participant’ in the Inquiry. If you would like assistance, or more information, then please contact Manveer Bhullar or Lochlinn Parker of our Civil Liberties department.
On 5 November 2019, the Home Secretary announced the conversion of the Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s (PPO) special investigation of Brook House IRC to a statutory inquiry. The Inquiry will be investigating the mistreatment of detainees at Brook House IRC, which was broadcast in the BBC Panorama programme ‘Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets’ on 4 September 2017.
The decision of the Home Secretary follows a claim for judicial review brought by two Claimants challenging the failure of the Home Secretary to order an investigation in compliance with his duty under Article 3 ECHR (MA & BB v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1523 (Admin)). Whilst the Home Secretary asked the PPO to conduct a Special Investigation, the High Court recognised that this was limited in scope. The Hon. Mrs Justice May DBE held that:
“80…I am satisfied that there is a real risk amounting an overwhelming probability that former G4S staff will not attend voluntarily to give evidence and that the PPO’s investigation will, as a result and for the reasons discussed above, fail to ensure an effective Article 3 investigation. In my view the PPO must have a power to compel witness attendance.”
She further held that it would be for the PPO to determine which hearings should be held in public so as to secure full accountability and the Claimants must be afforded properly funded representation at least to enable them to review and comment on witness evidence and to direct lines of enquiry for the PPO.
Kate Eves has been appointed as the Chair to the inquiry and the Inquiry’s Terms of References can be found here. In summary, the purpose of the Inquiry is to investigate into and report on the decisions, actions and circumstances surrounding the mistreatment of detainees broadcast in the BBC Panorama programme; to reach conclusions with regard to the treatment of detainees where there is credible evidence of mistreatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR; and then make any such recommendations as may seem appropriate.
In particular, the inquiry will investigate:
- The treatment of complainants, including identifying whether there has been mistreatment and identifying responsibility for any mistreatment.
- Whether methods, policies, practices and management arrangements (both of the Home Office and its contractors) caused or contributed to any identified mistreatment.
- Whether any changes to these methods, policies, practices and management arrangements would help to prevent a recurrence of any identified mistreatment.
- Whether any clinical care issues caused or contributed to any identified mistreatment.
- Whether any changes to clinical care would help to prevent a recurrence of any identified mistreatment.
- The adequacy of the complaints and monitoring mechanisms provided by Home Office Immigration Enforcement and external bodies (including, but not limited to, the centre’s independent monitoring board and statutory role of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons) in respect of any identified mistreatment.
However, the scope of the inquiry is unfortunately limited only to individuals who were detained at Brook House IRC during the period 1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017 and where there is credible evidence of mistreatment of that individual that is contrary to Article 3 ECHR. The Inquiry will pay for the legal expenses of any individuals designated as a ‘Core Participant’ by the Inquiry chairperson.
If you were detained at Brook House between 1 April 2017 to 31 August 2017 and would like further information about how to apply to be a Core Participant, please get in touch with either Manveer Bhullar or Lochlinn Parker from our Civil Liberties Department, both of whom have experience with representing individuals in public inquiries. You can call us on 020 3909 8100, or use our online contact form.
You can also get in touch for further information about how we can assist you if you are currently or have previously been held in immigration detention.