QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
MANCHESTER DISTRICT REGISTRY
B e f o r e :
| MK (1)
|- and -
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
Samantha Broadfoot and Tom Poole (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor) for the Defendant
Mark Henderson and Alison Pickup (instructed by the Migrant's Law Project) for the Intervener made written submissions
Hearing dates: 10-11 May 2012
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE FOSKETT:
"13. The question whether, and if so in what circumstances, support should be given at the expense of the state to asylum-seekers is, of course, an intensely political issue. No one can be in any doubt about the scale of the problem caused by the huge rise in the numbers of asylum-seekers that has occurred during the past decade due to the fact that more and more people are in need of international protection. There is a legitimate public concern that this country should not make its resources too readily available to such persons while their right to remain in this country remains undetermined. There are sound reasons of policy for wishing to take a firm line on the need for applications for asylum to be made promptly and for wishing to limit the level of support until the right to remain has been determined, if and when support has to be made available.
14. It is important to stress at the outset, however, that engagement in this political debate forms no part of the judicial function …."
The procedural background
The individual cases
"Since my friend asked me to leave on 26/09/10 I have stayed with a person from my church until today but I am not sure if he will allow me to stay for any longer. If this is the case I am facing street homelessness"
The statutory context - an introduction
(1) The Secretary of State may provide, or arrange for the provision of, facilities for the accommodation of persons—
(a) temporarily admitted to the United Kingdom under paragraph 21 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act;
(b) released from detention under that paragraph; or
(c) released on bail from detention under any provision of the Immigration Acts.
(2) The Secretary of State may provide, or arrange for the provision of, facilities for the accommodation of a person if—
(a) he was (but is no longer) an asylum-seeker, and
(b) his claim for asylum was rejected.
(3) The Secretary of State may provide, or arrange for the provision of, facilities for the accommodation of a dependant of a person for whom facilities may be provided under subsection (2).
(4) The following expressions have the same meaning in this section as in Part VI of this Act (as defined in section 94)—
(b) claim for asylum, and
(5) The Secretary of State may make regulations specifying criteria to be used in determining–
(a) whether or not to provide accommodation, or arrange for the provision of accommodation, for a person under this section;
(b) whether or not to continue to provide accommodation, or arrange for the provision of accommodation, for a person under this section.
(10) The Secretary of State may make regulations permitting a person who is provided with accommodation under this section to be supplied also with services or facilities of a specified kind.
(11) Regulations under subsection (10)–
(a) may, in particular, permit a person to be supplied with a voucher which may be exchanged for goods or services,
(b) may not permit a person to be supplied with money,
(c) may restrict the extent or value of services or facilities to be provided, and
(d) may confer a discretion.
"8. … it is useful to explain the key distinction between "Asylum Seeker" and "Failed Asylum Seeker". The term Asylum Seeker in ordinary speech is used in a very wide sense, as in anyone who is seeking refugee status, regardless of where they are in the process. By contrast, it is generally used by UKBA and the Home Office to refer to a person who has made a claim for asylum which has been recorded by the Secretary of State and which has not been finally determined.
9. In the context of entitlement to support under sections 95, 98 or section 4 of the 1999 Act, there is a specific statutory definition of Asylum Seeker in section 94(1) of the 1999 Act. Section 94(5) of the 1999 Act extends that definition to include persons who have children as part of their household at the time their asylum claim is determined and provides that they will still be considered as Asylum Seekers (for the purpose of eligibility to section 95 support) while any children remain in the UK.
10. An Asylum Seeker is to be contrasted with a Failed Asylum Seeker. A Failed Asylum Seeker is a person who has had his or her asylum or human rights claim refused and has exhausted their appeal rights in the UK and the time for making an in-time appeal has expired. Such persons are referred to by the Secretary of State as "Appeal Rights Exhausted" or "ARE".
11. Failed Asylum Seekers are expected to take steps to return to their country of origin upon becoming Appeal Rights Exhausted. In some cases, Failed Asylum Seekers do not so leave and wish to assert that they have a fresh claim for asylum or human rights protection based on significant new information."
Persons for whom support may be provided
(1) The Secretary of State may provide, or arrange for the provision of, support for—
(a) asylum-seekers, or
(b) dependants of asylum-seekers,
who appear to the Secretary of State to be destitute or to be likely to become destitute within such period as may be prescribed.
(2) In prescribed circumstances, a person who would otherwise fall within subsection (1) is excluded.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a person is destitute if—
(a) he does not have adequate accommodation or any means of obtaining it (whether or not his other essential living needs are met); or
(b) he has adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it, but cannot meet his other essential living needs.
(4) If a person has dependants, subsection (3) is to be read as if the references to him were references to him and his dependants taken together.
(5) In determining, for the purposes of this section, whether a person's accommodation is adequate, the Secretary of State—
(a) must have regard to such matters as may be prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph; but
(b) may not have regard to such matters as may be prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph or to any of the matters mentioned in subsection (6).
(6) Those matters are—
(a) the fact that the person concerned has no enforceable right to occupy the accommodation;
(b) the fact that he shares the accommodation, or any part of the accommodation, with one or more other persons;
(c) the fact that the accommodation is temporary;
(d) the location of the accommodation.
(7) In determining, for the purposes of this section, whether a person's other essential living needs are met, the Secretary of State—
(a) must have regard to such matters as may be prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph; but
(b) may not have regard to such matters as may be prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph.
(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that items or expenses of such a description as may be prescribed are, or are not, to be treated as being an essential living need of a person for the purposes of this Part.
(9) Support may be provided subject to conditions.
(9A) A condition imposed under subsection (9) may, in particular, relate to—
(a) any matter relating to the use of the support provided, or
(b) compliance with a restriction imposed under paragraph 21 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act (temporary admission or release from detention) or paragraph 2 or 5 of Schedule 3 to that Act (restriction pending deportation).
(10) The conditions must be set out in writing.
(11) A copy of the conditions must be given to the supported person.
(12) Schedule 8 gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations supplementing this section.
(13) Schedule 9 makes temporary provision for support in the period before the coming into force of this section.
353. When a human rights or asylum claim has been refused or withdrawn or treated as withdrawn under paragraph 333C of these Rules and any appeal relating to that claim is no longer pending, the decision maker will consider any further submissions and, if rejected, will then determine whether they amount to a fresh claim. The submissions will amount to a fresh claim if they are significantly different from the material that has previously been considered. The submissions will only be significantly different if the content:
(i) had not already been considered; and
(ii) taken together with the previously considered material, created a realistic prospect of success, notwithstanding its rejection …."
The history prior to October 2009
"Immigration control affects all of us in one way or another. When we travel abroad on holiday or business, we expect to be able to pass quickly through UK immigration control. Similarly, when our relatives or friends living abroad visit this country we expect them to be able to do so with a minimum of fuss. But we rightly expect our immigration controls to deal quickly and firmly with those who have no right to enter or remain here.
Piecemeal and ill-considered changes over the last 20 years have left our immigration control struggling to meet those expectations. Despite the dedication and professionalism of immigration staff at all levels, the system has become too complex and too slow, and huge backlogs have developed. Perversely, it is often the genuine applicants who have suffered, whilst abusive claimants and racketeers have profited. The cost to the taxpayer has been substantial and is increasing.
This White Paper sets out a comprehensive, integrated strategy to deliver a fairer, faster and firmer approach to immigration control as we promised in our manifesto.
Fundamental to the whole strategy is the need to modernise procedures and deliver faster decisions. The Government believes that there are too many avenues of appeal in the course of a single case. There should be a single appeal right considering the case as a whole, including removal arrangements. We must also regulate unscrupulous advisers who exploit the vulnerable and profit from delays.
We must be able to plan and allocate resources more flexibly in order to minimise costs overall. In particular, that means investing to eliminate backlogs and produce a fairer and faster system – and increased effort to enforce immigration controls so that those who are refused understand that they must go.
The UK was one of the first countries to sign up to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, designed in the aftermath of the last war to ensure the humane treatment of those who had to flee their own country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. But the Convention never anticipated the dramatic changes in the speed, relatively low cost and easy availability of international travel and telecommunications. In recent years our asylum system has been under severe strain. The numbers of people claiming asylum has increased from about 4,000 a year in 1988 to over 32,000 in 1997. The Government is committed to protecting genuine refugees. Indeed, it is plainly absurd for those who have fled persecution from abroad to have to wait months, or even years, to hear they are allowed to stay. But there is no doubt that large numbers of economic migrants are abusing the system by claiming asylum. Modernising our controls and simplifying our procedures will help to tackle that problem.
The current arrangements for supporting asylum seekers are a shambles. New arrangements are needed to ensure that genuine asylum seekers are not left destitute, but which minimise the attractions of the UK to economic migrants. Those arrangements and our overhaul of the asylum system are based on recognising and fulfilling the mutual obligations – a new covenant – that exist between the Government and those seeking asylum here.
The Government's approach to immigration control reflects our wider commitment to fairness. We have moved further and faster than any of our predecessors in buttressing the rights of people in relation to public authorities. The Human Rights Bill currently going through Parliament will prove a landmark in the development of a fair and reasonable relationship between individuals and the state in this country. This is an important backdrop to the proposals in this White Paper.
The White Paper sets out a long-term strategy. It tackles the failings of the current system and addresses the challenges which face our immigration control in the years ahead. It fulfils our commitment to develop a fairer, faster and firmer approach in the interests of all our people."
"… The Court of Appeal judgment relating to the 1948 Act meant that, without warning or preparation, local authority social services departments were presented with a burden which is quite inappropriate, which has become increasingly intolerable and which is unsustainable in the long term, especially in London, where the pressure on accommodation and disruption to other services has been particularly acute."
"The aim of the government was to ensure that genuine asylum seekers were not left destitute while at the same time containing the cost to the public purse of providing for asylum seekers. This was to be achieved by reducing the incentive provided by the availability of welfare benefits and community care provision, which was thought to attract economic migrants, as opposed to asylum seekers, to make applications for asylum."
"The 1948 Act will be amended to make clear that social services departments should not carry the burden of looking after healthy and able bodied asylum seekers. This role will fall to the new national support machinery."
"67. The new system took shape in the form of two distinct structures for providing asylum support both enacted through the provisions of the 1999 Act: a national scheme, which was designed to be permanent, and a local "interim scheme" which was designed to provide support during the transitional period until the national scheme was fully operational. The "interim scheme" ended on 3 April 2006.
68. The aim of the government was to ensure that genuine asylum seekers were not left destitute while at the same time containing the cost to the public purse of providing for asylum seekers. This was to be achieved by reducing the incentive provided by the availability of welfare benefits and community care provision, which was thought to attract economic migrants, as opposed to asylum seekers, to make applications for asylum."
i) Persons from abroad including asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers were excluded from all means tested benefits and from access to local authority housing: sections 115 and 118.
ii) Section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948 was amended (by the addition of a new section 21(1A)) to exclude from its scope those whose need for care and attention arose solely because of destitution: section 116. (See further at paragraph 68 below.)
iii) Asylum seekers became entitled to asylum support under section 95 (see paragraph 50 above). The detail of the scheme was set out in the Asylum Support Regulations 2000. Support continues until 21 days after the final determination of any appeal against an application for asylum. (At this initial stage no specific provision was included to deal with the position of someone who made a fresh application for asylum following the final determination of their initial claim: see below at paragraph 69.)
iv) Interim support pending a decision as to whether or not a person qualifies under section 95 may be provided: section 98.
v) Applicants refused support or who have it withdrawn are entitled to appeal: section 103. Appeals were dealt with by an Asylum Support Adjudicator but since 3 November 2008 the jurisdiction has been transferred to the First Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber). An appeal must be lodged within 3 working days of the decision appealed against and the rules provide for a decision within 9 days on the papers or 12 days if an oral hearing is requested.
vi) Special provision is made for families with children by virtue of section 122. Local authorities were prevented from providing support for families with children under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, but the Secretary of State became obliged to provide support in the case of a family with children. Furthermore, families with children were deemed to continue to be asylum seekers after their claims had been determined (see, e.g., section 94(5) of the 1999 Act).
(1) Subject to regulations 4 and 6, the criteria to be used in determining the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 4(5) of the 1999 Act in respect of a person falling within section 4(2) or (3) of that Act are -
(a) that he appears to the Secretary of State to be destitute, and
(b) that one or more of the conditions set out in paragraph (2) are satisfied in relation to him.
(2) Those conditions are that–
(a) he is taking all reasonable steps to leave the United Kingdom or place himself in a position in which he is able to leave the United Kingdom, which may include complying with attempts to obtain a travel document to facilitate his departure;
(b) he is unable to leave the United Kingdom by reason of a physical impediment to travel or for some other medical reason;
(c) he is unable to leave the United Kingdom because in the opinion of the Secretary of State there is currently no viable route of return available;
(d) he has made an application for judicial review of a decision in relation to his asylum claim–
in England and Wales, and has been granted permission to proceed ….
(e) the provision of accommodation is necessary for the purpose of avoiding a breach of a person's Convention rights, within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998.
"15. ... the conditional duty to provide temporary accommodation under Section 4 has not yet been established. In effect, such provision is one which Parliament has deliberately chosen not to make. Essentially the scheme for provision of support for those who are in the asylum field have to be construed as a whole. Here there is a detailed scheme. There is a main duty to support asylum seekers and a less comprehensive scheme where, after an adverse asylum decision, there is a danger of destitution. There is no room for a power to provide temporary support and there is certainly nothing in the scheme which leads to a breach of Convention rights."
"… I … recall from my own experience (managing the small team that processed cases) that the numbers of Failed Asylum Seekers applying for section 4 support and being accepted on support were very low, generally less than 10 per week in the 2003 and most of 2004. The numbers of applications for section 4 support only became significant towards the end of 2004, and most particularly after January 2005 when it was accepted that there was at that time no viable route of return to Iraq. This led to an almost immediate flood of applications from Failed Asylum Seekers from Iraq, with at one time up to 1,000 applications being made per week. It is possible that the publicity generated by this exercise served to highlight the availability of section 4 among Failed Asylum Seekers and we began to see more applications made on other grounds, including on the grounds of further submissions."
"38. A way to handle the section 4 applications based upon further submissions had to be developed. It was absolutely clear to me and colleagues working in this area that many of the further submissions lacked any merit and had only been made in order to obtain section 4 support. In many cases the further submissions contained no real detail and merely asked for a reconsideration of the case. There were other cases where firms of solicitors had crafted template letters to be used for all persons of a particular nationality. These letters would often reference various documents (for example the latest US State Department Report on the particular country) but make little or no effort to set out how the documents had any bearing on the person's case. Realising that the letters were in "template" form naturally took time, as it only became apparent with experience of seeing similar letters. But overall, there was a real risk that if this trend continued persons could remain on support indefinitely by simply forwarding further submissions, however weak, as their asylum claims were finally rejected as refused. In practical terms all that happened in those circumstances was that the person would switch from section 95 support to section 4 support. I should add that this was a period when there were immense financial pressures on UKBA caused by the cost of providing asylum support. The cost in financial year 2004/4 was approximately £787 million. The cost 2009/10 was approximately £514 million.
39. For these reasons, caseworkers considering section 4 applications based on further submissions were encouraged to liaise with colleagues in other parts of UKBA, in order to see if the submissions could be answered quickly, thus obviating the need to place the person on section 4 support. In most instances this proved very difficult to achieve because of resource and other pressures. Additionally, on a practical level it was often very difficult to track down the location of the further submissions, as these were posted to different parts of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (i.e. the predecessor of UKBA). Finally, there was the inevitable lag between receipt of the submissions and logging them on to the computer system and matching them to case files.
40. The introduction of NAM from March 2007 and move towards the single case ownership system provided the opportunity to improve some of the communication problems and tighten processes."
"On behalf of the Secretary of State, Mr Giffin accepted that it would be unlawful for NASS deliberately to delay the provision of section 4 support. He submitted that there was no evidence of deliberate delay, but rather of delay resulting from the administration of the scheme by the manpower resources available for it. He submitted that the Court could not prescribe a maximum period for the consideration of applications for hard cases support and the making of accommodation available."
"65. … It may be that the evidence presented to the court has been superficial, but I have to deal with these cases on that evidence. Given that no investigation is made as to an applicant's individual circumstances, it is not apparent what administrative steps are being taken by NASS that involve the delays before an offer of support is made that were seen in the cases of the Claimants and which are still typical. It is by no means apparent why 5 days are then required to arrange final accommodation details and travel arrangements. The delays involved have to be scrutinised against the background that the applicants for support are ex hypothesi destitute and have nowhere else to turn, and against the undoubted fact that when required by the court to do so, NASS can and does arrange accommodation immediately. NASS has failed to explain why the delays that occurred in the present cases took place.
66. The court cannot however specify what resources must be devoted to administering the scheme, or what delay in general is lawful and what delay is not. A further consideration is that the court must avoid making a declaration that does not respond to changes in circumstances or the facts of individual cases. I should, I think, follow the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, which does not make declarations divorced from the facts of individual cases of the time within which public authorities must fulfil their duties; it awards damages or makes findings of infringement of Convention rights based on the facts of individual cases.
67. I appreciate that, if I do not make a general declaration concerning NASS's delays, the result may be more applications for judicial review and the attendant costs, and more applications for interim injunctions, but that is, I think, inevitable."
"That is known generally as the "hard case" provision, enabling the Secretary of State to ensure that at least accommodation is provided for those who otherwise would have none, and who otherwise would be effectively required to sleep rough or on the streets. It was primarily designed, no doubt, to cover cases where, for whatever reason, it proved impossible to remove from the country someone whose asylum application had failed and who therefore had to remain until means of removal were available …."
19. [Counsel for the Secretary of State] has submitted that to construe the provision in the way that Mr Khubber submits is correct, is to open the door to abuse. If it is known that the mere making of what is said to be a fresh application for asylum will trigger continuing right to support, then there will be an obvious incentive to those who merely seek to delay their removal from this country to do just that. It will always, and inevitably, take some time for the Secretary of State to deal with these so-called fresh applications. Although, of course, it is necessary and desirable that they are dealt with as speedily as possible, the reality is that one cannot expect such matters to be dealt with overnight. Of course there should be no unnecessary delay, and it is unfortunately the case that it does sometimes appear to take far too long for the Home Office to deal with these applications. If the individual is to be deprived of support in the mean time, that may put an altogether illegitimate pressure upon that individual, who may have a genuine fresh claim, to give up if the alternative is effectively destitution. Accordingly, it is important that this is not abused by the Secretary of State if the decision is that there is no fresh claim until he decides that it should be regarded as such by putting such a pressure upon individuals.
20. The safeguard lies in section 4 of the Act. This means that so long as the individual is remaining in this country, there is power in the Secretary of State to provide at least for his accommodation. This will act as a safety net and it means also that the Secretary of State would not be permitted to refuse any support if to do so would result in a breach of the individual's Human Rights. The situation becomes somewhat similar to that which applies under section 55 of the 2002 Act, and the law now stands as laid down in Limbuela v Secretary of State  EWCA Civ 540 …. So to that extent, protection is accorded to the individual who is not automatically entitled to the continuation of asylum support.
21. It seems to me, in all the circumstances, that [Counsel for the Secretary of State's] submissions are correct and that that is the true construction of this provision. There is a real difference between the situation when an initial claim for asylum is made and that when attempts are made to prevent removal following rejection and the exhaustion of all the appeal processes of that claim. The Secretary of State is indeed entitled to consider whether the representations made can properly be said to amount to a fresh claim so as to make the individual an asylum seeker. He will record that, and the evidence before me is that he does record that, when that preliminary decision is made and that the individual in question is notified when that happens. A record is made of that decision at that time."
"If the Article 3 threshold would otherwise be met, does the making of a purported fresh claim on UN Convention on Refugees/Article 3 ECHR grounds by a failed asylum-seeker always make it necessary for support to be provided in order to avoid a breach of Convention rights, pending a decision by the Secretary of State on the representations?"
"68. The present issue, was, in fact, touched on by Collins J in certain passages in Nigatu. There, Collins J was clearly very conscious of the risk that if an individual is to be deprived of support pending a determination on his purported fresh claim he may be subjected to altogether illegitimate pressure and forced to give up what may be a genuine fresh claim in the face of destitution. He considered that the safeguard lay in section 4 of the 1999 Act which meant that so long as the individual is remaining in the United Kingdom there is power in the Secretary of State to provide at least for his accommodation. Nevertheless, the judge accepted that there is another side of the coin and that the procedures are open to abuse. He had been referred by counsel to one case in which there had been no fewer than seven purported fresh applications; each time one was rejected, another was put forward before removal could take place. The judge observed:—
"One can see that in that sort of situation and where, for example, the alleged fresh claim contained nothing that was essentially new, and only arose some time after support had been removed and when removal was due to take place, it may well be that the Secretary of State could properly refuse any further support."
He then stated that it was obvious that if someone had remained in the country after his support had been removed the Secretary of State might well properly reach the conclusion that he did not need any further support either because he should not be regarded as destitute or because section 4 would not come to his aid. He concluded:—
"Those are all matters that would have to be taken into account when considering the circumstances of any individual case. But I am satisfied that the making of what is asserted to be a fresh claim does not automatically trigger the right to continuing support as an asylum seeker. That only arises when the Secretary of State decides, obviously as soon as possible, that it can be properly regarded as a fresh claim, whether or not, as I said, in the end it succeeds." (paragraphs 25–26)
69. I respectfully agree. It seems to me that pending a decision by the Secretary of State on whether the further representations constitute a fresh claim, the Secretary of State will not be bound in every case to provide support under section 4 where the other requirements of that section are met. In my view it will be open to him, or to NASS, to decline to do so, for example on the grounds that the further representations are manifestly unfounded, or merely repeat the previous grounds or do not disclose any claim for asylum at all. In his remarks in Nigatu Collins J was addressing the provision of support under section 4 of the 1999 Act. Nevertheless, to my mind, his observations provide considerable assistance to the Defendants in their submission in the present case. A public body required to decide whether the provision of support is necessary for the purpose of avoiding a breach of Convention rights will not in every case be required to treat further submissions as a sufficient basis for the provision of support pending a decision by the Secretary of State that they do not constitute a fresh claim."
"Late claim for asylum: refusal of support
(1) The Secretary of State may not provide or arrange for the provision of support to a person under a provision mentioned in subsection (2) if—
(a) the person makes a claim for asylum which is recorded by the Secretary of State, and
(b) the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the claim was made as soon as reasonably practicable after the person's arrival in the United Kingdom.
(2) The provisions are—
(a) sections 4, 95 and 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 … and
(b) sections 17 and 24 of this Act (accommodation centre).
(3) An authority may not provide or arrange for the provision of support to a person under a provision mentioned in subsection (4) if—
(a) the person has made a claim for asylum, and
(b) the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the claim was made as soon as reasonably practicable after the person's arrival in the United Kingdom.
(5) This section shall not prevent—
(a) the exercise of a power by the Secretary of State to the extent necessary for the purpose of avoiding a breach of a person's Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act …),
(b) the provision of support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or section 17 of this Act in accordance with section 122 of that Act (children), or
(c) the provision of support under section 98 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or section 24 of this Act (provisional support) to a person under the age of 18 and the household of which he forms part.
"… But the Secretary of State's freedom of action is closely confined. He may only exercise his power to provide or arrange support where it is necessary to do so to avoid a breach and to the extent necessary for that purpose. He may not exercise his power where it is not necessary to do so to avoid a breach or to an extent greater than necessary for that purpose. Where (and to the extent) that exercise of the power is necessary, the Secretary of State is subject to a duty, and has no choice, since it is unlawful for him under section 6 of the 1998 Act to act incompatibly with a Convention right. Where (and to the extent) that exercise of the power is not necessary, the Secretary of State is subject to a statutory prohibition, and again has no choice. Thus the Secretary of State (in practice, of course, officials acting on his behalf) must make a judgment on the situation of the individual applicant matched against what the Convention requires or proscribes, but he has, in the strict sense, no discretion."
"7. … Treatment is inhuman or degrading if, to a seriously detrimental extent, it denies the most basic needs of any human being. As in all article 3 cases, the treatment, to be proscribed, must achieve a minimum standard of severity, and I would accept that in a context such as this, not involving the deliberate infliction of pain or suffering, the threshold is a high one. A general public duty to house the homeless or provide for the destitute cannot be spelled out of article 3. But I have no doubt that the threshold may be crossed if a late applicant with no means and no alternative sources of support, unable to support himself, is, by the deliberate action of the state, denied shelter, food or the most basic necessities of life. It is not necessary that treatment, to engage article 3, should merit the description used, in an immigration context, by Shakespeare and others in Sir Thomas More when they referred to "your mountainish inhumanity".
8. When does the Secretary of State's duty under section 55(5)(a) arise? The answer must in my opinion be: when it appears on a fair and objective assessment of all relevant facts and circumstances that an individual applicant faces an imminent prospect of serious suffering caused or materially aggravated by denial of shelter, food or the most basic necessities of life. Many factors may affect that judgment, including age, gender, mental and physical health and condition, any facilities or sources of support available to the applicant, the weather and time of year and the period for which the applicant has already suffered or is likely to continue to suffer privation.
9. It is not in my opinion possible to formulate any simple test applicable in all cases. But if there were persuasive evidence that a late applicant was obliged to sleep in the street, save perhaps for a short and foreseeably finite period, or was seriously hungry, or unable to satisfy the most basic requirements of hygiene, the threshold would, in the ordinary way, be crossed …."
"56. The first question that needs to be addressed is whether the case engages the express prohibition in article 3. It seems to me that there can only be one answer to this question if the case is one where the Secretary of State has withdrawn support from an asylum-seeker under section 55(1) of the 2002 Act. The decision to withdraw support from someone who would otherwise qualify for support under section 95 of the 1999 Act because he is or is likely to become, within the meaning of that section, destitute is an intentionally inflicted act for which the Secretary of State is directly responsible. He is directly responsible also for all the consequences that flow from it, bearing in mind the nature of the regime which removes from asylum-seekers the ability to fend for themselves by earning money while they remain in that category ….
57. Withdrawal of support will not in itself amount to treatment which is inhuman or degrading … [but] it will do so once the margin is crossed between destitution within the meaning of section 95(3) of the 1999 Act and the condition that results from inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning [article 3]. This is the background to the second question which is whether, if nothing is done to avoid it, the condition of the asylum-seeker is likely to reach the required minimum level of severity. The answer to this question provides the key to the final question, which is whether the time has come for the Secretary of State to exercise his power under section 55(5)(a) to avoid the breach of the article.
58. The test of when the margin is crossed for the purposes of section 55(5)(a) of the 2002 Act is a different one from that which is used to determine whether for the purposes of section 95 of the 1999 Act the asylum-seeker is destitute. By prescribing a different regime for late claims for asylum, the legislation assumes that destitution, as defined in section 95(3), is not in itself enough to engage section 55(5)(a). I think that it is necessary therefore to stick to the adjectives used by article 3, and to ask whether the treatment to which the asylum-seeker is being subjected by the entire package of restrictions and deprivations that surround him is so severe that it can properly be described as inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of the article.
59. It is possible to derive from the cases which are before us some idea of the various factors that will come into play in this assessment: whether the asylum-seeker is male or female, for example, or is elderly or in poor health, the extent to which he or she has explored all avenues of assistance that might be expected to be available and the length of time that has been spent and is likely to be spent without the required means of support. The exposure to the elements that results from rough-sleeping, the risks to health and safety that it gives rise to, the effects of lack of access to toilet and washing facilities and the humiliation and sense of despair that attaches to those who suffer from deprivations of that kind are all relevant. Mr Giffin for the Secretary of State accepted that there will always in practice be some cases where support would be required-for example those cases where the asylum-seeker could only survive by resorting to begging in the streets or to prostitution. But the safety net which section 55(5)(a) creates has a wider reach, capable of embracing all sorts of circumstances where the inhumanity or degradation to which the asylum-seeker is exposed attracts the absolute protection of the article.
60. It was submitted for the Secretary of State that rough sleeping of itself could not take a case over the threshold. This submission was based on the decision in O'Rourke v United Kingdom …. In that case the applicant's complaint that his eviction from local authority accommodation in consequence of which he was forced to sleep rough on the streets was a breach of article 3 was held to be inadmissible. The court said that it did not consider that the applicant's suffering following his eviction attained the requisite level to engage article 3, and that even if it had done so the applicant, who was unwilling to accept temporary accommodation and had refused two specific offers of permanent accommodation in the meantime, was largely responsible for the deterioration in his health following his eviction. As Jacob LJ said in the Court of Appeal … the situation in that case is miles away from that which confronts section 55 asylum-seekers who are not only forced to sleep rough but are not allowed to work to earn money and have no access to financial support by the state. The rough sleeping which they are forced to endure cannot be detached from the degradation and humiliation that results from the circumstances that give rise to it.
61. As for the final question, the wording of section 55(5)(a) shows that its purpose is to prevent a breach from taking place, not to wait until there is a breach and then address its consequences. A difference of view has been expressed as to whether the responsibility of the state is simply to wait and see what will happen until the threshold is crossed or whether it must take preventative action before that stage is reached ….
62. The best guide to the test that is to be applied is … to be found in the use of the word "avoiding" in section 55(5)(a). It may be, of course, that the degree of severity which amounts to a breach of article 3 has already been reached by the time the condition of the asylum-seeker has been drawn to his attention. But it is not necessary for the condition to have reached that stage before the power in section 55(5)(a) is capable of being exercised. It is not just a question of "wait and see". The power has been given to enable the Secretary of State to avoid the breach. A state of destitution that qualifies the asylum-seeker for support under section 95 of the 1999 Act will not be enough. But as soon as the asylum-seeker makes it clear that there is an imminent prospect that a breach of the article will occur because the conditions which he or she is having to endure are on the verge of reaching the necessary degree of severity the Secretary of State has the power under section 55(5)(a), and the duty under section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998, to act to avoid it."
The guidance given to officials dealing with section 4 support applications
Pre-October 2009 guidance
"This includes all asylum support issues. Case Owners will be responsible for the consideration and management of Section 4 support. They will ensure that applicants' eligibility for Section 4 support is assessed, and where granted, ensure support is reviewed and monitored."
"Case Owners must familiarise themselves with the relevant legislation – particularly the Asylum Support Regulations 2000 (including subsequent amendments) and the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum Seekers) Regulations 2005, together with this AI and that on review of Section 4 support."
"Case owners must ensure that the application for Section 4 support is considered and where possible determined within two working days of receipt (or where possible sooner depending on the circumstances of the case)."
(Emphasis as in the original).
"70. There are slight differences across the UK in the way in which section 4 applications are highlighted in respect to their urgency. This reflects the regional casework structure of UKBA and the fact that we contract with different voluntary sector partners (including, for example, Refugee Action) in different areas of the UK to provide services to asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers (including helping them to make section 4 applications).
71. The most common method is for the voluntary sector caseworker to mark the application form as either a "Priority A" or "Priority B", though sometimes the terms used are "Imminent" or "Not Imminent". The general intention is to identify cases where the person is in immediate need of accommodation, as opposed to cases where the person has accommodation at the particular moment (e.g. with a friend) but expects to lose access to it in the future. There may also be other factors such as health or pregnancy."
"An important consideration is whether the applicant can be expected to leave the UK to avoid a breach. It would not be reasonable to expect a person to leave the UK in the following circumstances (this list is not exhaustive):
- The applicant has submitted to the Secretary of State further representations and these have not yet been considered. Support under Section 4 can be provided in such cases, unless it is clear that the further representations simply rehearse previously considered material or contain no detail whatsoever.
- The applicant has submitted a late appeal against the Secretary of State's decision to refuse asylum and the AIT is considering whether to allow the appeal to proceed out of time.
These are examples only. Other circumstances may also give rise to a breach and case owners must consider each case on its own facts.
See the AI on Considering Human Rights Claim for further information.
Where it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK and case owners consider that refusing support would breach a person's ECHR rights, case owners must grant Section 4 support. The review period will be determined by the reason why the applicant cannot leave the UK (i.e. the basis on which support was granted) and the date by when the barrier is likely to be resolved, or a 3-month period, whichever is earlier.
If an applicant submits an application for section 4 on the basis that they have submitted further representations, the Case Owner must endeavour to assess the further representations before the application for section 4 is considered. If for some reason there will be a delay in considering the further representations, Case Owners must consider whether not granting section 4 support would breach the applicant's ECHR rights (see R (on the application of AW) v London Borough of Croydon and another  EWHC 2950 (Admin) paragraph 69) and assess the application against other criteria and evidence supplied by the applicant."
a) Although somewhat modified in practice, there was a positive requirement ("Case Owners must ensure") that an application for section 4 support was dealt with within 2 working days of receipt;
b) when the application for section 4 support was based upon the submission of further representations, the case owner "must endeavour to assess the further representations before the application for Section 4 [support] is considered". (Emphasis added.)
Post-October 2009 guidance
"With effect from 14th October 2009, applicants whose case is being managed by the Case Resolution Directorate (CRD) will be required to make any further submissions by appointment and in person at the Liverpool Further Submissions Unit. With effect from 14th October 2009, those whose case is being managed by a regional asylum team will be required to make any further submissions in person at a specified reporting centre in their region. This does not apply to further submissions submitted before 14th October 2009 …."
"An important consideration is whether the applicant can be expected to leave the UK to avoid a breach. It would not be reasonable to expect a person to leave the UK in the following circumstances (this list is not exhaustive):
- The applicant has submitted a late appeal against the Secretary of State's decision to refuse asylum and the AIT is considering whether to allow the appeal to proceed out of time.
- The applicant has submitted to the Secretary of State further submissions which are outstanding. Support under section 4 may be provided in such cases, if there is or will be a delay in serving a decision on these further submissions, unless it is clear that the further submissions are manifestly unfounded, or merely repeat the previous grounds or do not disclose any claim for asylum at all.
These are examples only. Other circumstances may also give rise to a breach and Case Owners must consider each case on its own facts. See the AI on Considering Human Rights Claim for further information.
Where it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant to leave the UK and Case Owners consider that refusing support would breach a person's ECHR rights, Case Owners must grant section 4 support. The review period will be determined by the reason why the applicant cannot leave the UK (i.e. the basis on which support was granted) and the date by when the barrier is likely to be resolved, or a three-month period, whichever is earlier."
"If an applicant submits an application for section 4 [support] … solely on the basis that he/she has further submissions outstanding, the Case Owner must assess the further submissions before the application for section 4 is considered. If for some reason there must be a justifiable delay in serving a decision on the further submissions which can be justified to a senior manager of Grade 7 level or above, Case Owners must consider whether not granting section 4 support would breach the applicant's ECHR rights (see R (on the application of AW) v London Borough of Croydon and other  EWHC 2950 (Admin) paragraph 69)."
"If for some exceptional reason there will be a delay in serving a decision on the further submissions, the Case Owner should consider whether the applicant is eligible for support under regulation 3(2)(e). It should be assessed whether the applicant's ECHR rights would be breached if it were not for the provision of support. Support will not be granted if it is clear that the further submissions are manifestly unfounded, or merely repeat the previous grounds or do not disclose any claim for asylum at all.
If the applicant is granted support on the basis of outstanding further submissions, subject to remaining destitute and continuing to satisfy the conditions of support, as set out under regulation 6(2) of the 2005 Regulations, his/her support is expected to continue until the UK Border Agency makes a decision on the further submissions. But Case Owners should expect to be able to justify the continued failure to get the further submissions resolved to senior managers of Grade 7 level or above."
The background to the changed guidance
"46. The change to further submissions having to be made in person was made against a background of real concern that in many cases repetitious and unmeritorious further submissions were made primarily to frustrate removal or ensure continued access to asylum support.
47. By quickly deciding the further submissions following the appointment, UKBA is attempting to close the loop-hole under which Failed Asylum Seekers are able to make unmeritorious and sometimes sequential further submissions purely as a means to access and then remain on support or to thwart removal. It is hoped that closing this loop-hole will in turn reduce the amount of asylum support paid to asylum seekers on the basis of unmeritorious and repetitive further submissions. This has the benefit of enabling UKBA to maintain and in some cases re-establish contact with Failed Asylum Seekers and encourage better engagement with the further submissions process.
48. In summary, UKBA believed that by requiring Failed Asylum Seekers to make further submissions in person and breaking the automatic link between receipt of a further submission and granting support under section 4 would discourage abuse of the system and help UKBA run a more efficient system."
"UKBA did not undertake a public consultation exercise before the new further submissions in person system was announced to Parliament … on 13 October 2009. Had such an exercise been undertaken, significant advance notice of the change would have been given and it is clear from previous experience that that would have led to an increase in the number of further submissions made thereby significantly exacerbating the very problems that the new system aimed to tackle. This was explained to relevant stakeholders at the first meeting of NASOF following implementation of the new system …. UKBA did, however, write and speak to a wide range of stakeholders on the day before the introduction of the new policy, and the day of its introduction, and responded to subsequent correspondence."
"66. By May 2010, although not expressly stated in the publically available policy instruction a "reasonable time" had come to be interpreted as 15 working days. This has been communicated to corporate partners and relevant stakeholders on several occasions ….
67. In CAAU cases the 15 working days starts running from the date upon which an applicant has made an appointment to submit further submissions. In NAM cases the 15 working days starts running from the date upon which the further submissions are submitted, unless an applicant makes an appointment, in which case time starts to run from the date upon which the appointment is made as with CAAU cases.
68. Our statistics show that the average time taken to resolve section 4 applications based on further submissions was 23 calendar days in 2011 (17 working days from the date on which the section 4 application is made). This figure is distorted by a small minority of cases (89 out of 799) that took 50 or more calendar days to consider because of a variety of particular circumstances, such as further information requests to establish destitution or administrative errors. If these 89 cases are discounted the average time taken to consider the remaining 710 (89%) applications is 17 calendar days (13 working days)."
"I believe that the data held illustrates that case owners do prioritise section 4 applications where there is a need to, including applications made on the basis of further submissions. Records for 2011 show that 799 cases were placed on section 4(2) support on the basis of further submissions. 192 of these cases (24% of the total) were granted within 3 days of the date of application."
"5. All four of our regional offices that provide a One Stop Service (which includes assisting clients to make applications for asylum support) monitored delays in making decisions on applications for Section 4 support from 1st September 2011 to 9th March 2012 - a period of 6 months. The four regional offices are located in Liverpool, East Midlands region, Manchester and Bristol.
6. Queries related to Section 4 UKBA support have been consistently the greatest single issue, across all offices. For the year January to December 2011 we provided advice on 8549 occasions out of which 2896 (34%) related to sessions where Section 4 support was raised as a query.
7. From 1st September 2011 to 9th March 2012 we monitored delays in Section 4 applications across our 4 regional OSS offices (Liverpool, East Midlands, Manchester and Bristol). During this period our One Stop Service offices assisted with approximately 189 applications for Section 4 support. We found that, nationally, Section 4 decisions, including but not limited to those based on further submissions, were taking an average 25 calendar days from the date of the application. Of the 169 total Section 4 decisions received, 2% (3) were made on the 19th calendar day, and just over 50% (85) were made after 19 calendar days (the equivalent of 15 working days) had passed. It is now not unusual to see applicants waiting for over 5 weeks between application and decision (36 cases or 21% of all Section 4 decisions received), with one client waiting 137 calendar days for a decision on his Section 4 application linked to further submissions, only for those further submissions to be recognised as a fresh claim, and subsequently he was granted discretionary leave to remain."
The accepted policy or practice
"Definition of 'delay' in serving decisions on further submissions submitted at further submissions appointments or at reporting events
The internal target timescales for serving decisions on further submissions submitted to the UK Border Agency at prearranged appointments is 15 working days after the arrangement of the appointment.
The internal target timescales for serving decisions on further submissions submitted to the UK Border Agency at a reporting event is 15 working days after submission."
What does the policy mean in practice?
"You will be notified of a decision in writing as soon as possible. Please note that whilst your case is under consideration you are ineligible for any support under Section 4 … unless there is a justifiable delay in the service of your decision."
"You will be notified of a decision in writing as soon as possible. Please note that whilst your case is under consideration you are ineligible for any support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999."
Is the policy unlawful?
Unacceptable risk of Article 3 breach
"80. I would approach this issue therefore by asking myself whether [the hospital's] policy gives rise to a significant risk of ill-treatment of the kind that falls within the scope of the article, and if there is any such risk whether it would impose a disproportionate burden on [the hospital] for it to be forced to abandon its policy so as to eliminate it.
81. The risk which must be considered is whether a patient might suffer ill-treatment of the required level of severity as a result of being kept in seclusion under [the hospital's] policy for longer than would have been the case under the Code. As Dr Davison makes clear in her report, seclusion does give rise to risks which are both physical and psychological. That is why regular medical reviews are necessary to ensure that the patient's mental and physical health does not deteriorate. Her conclusion is that [the hospital's] policy of fewer reviews after seven days increases the risks. But the evidence falls well short of demonstrating that the policy, when read as a whole and if proper weight is given to all its additional safeguards, gives rise to a serious risk of ill-treatment of the required level of severity. The absence of any evidence that any patient has suffered as a result of [the hospital's] policy is highly significant. So too is the absence of any evidence that seclusion is being used at Ashworth for reasons that are unacceptable. On the contrary, Dr Davison's opinion is that the initial decision to seclude Mr Munjaz was appropriate on each occasion and that there was no evidence that more frequent reviews would have made any difference in his case. The Mental Health Act Commission's suggestion that arrangements should have been considered for the alternative management of such patients has not, so far as the evidence shows, been followed up by any detailed explanation of the alternative options that are available.
82. The conclusion must be that the risk of ill-treatment is very low if full effect is given to the policy, and that in view of the safeguards which it contains and the special circumstances that obtain in its hospital it would be disproportionate for [the hospital] to be compelled to abandon the policy in favour of the Code to eliminate that risk. In my opinion the policy is not incompatible with article 3."
"I am content to accept that as a matter of law a policy which cannot be operated lawfully cannot itself be lawful; further, it seems to me that there is clear and binding authority for the proposition that a policy which is in principle capable of being implemented lawfully but which nonetheless gives rise to an unacceptable risk of unlawful decision-making is itself an unlawful policy."
The 'Reception Directive'
1. Member States shall ensure that material reception conditions are available to applicants when they make their application for asylum.
2. Member States shall make provisions on material reception conditions to ensure a standard of living adequate for the health of applicants and capable of ensuring their subsistence.
"63. In the majority of cases it is not possible to 'filter' submissions at the point they are made to identify those clearly without merit, or to identify those that merely repeat matters already considered, without consideration of the papers relating to the initial asylum claim. The introduction of a filtering approach that did not assess the merit of the further submissions by comparing them to the initial claim would therefore be unworkable. It would lead to many persons who make repeat or unmeritorious submissions being placed on section 4 support and would undermine the policy objective of disincentivising such submissions and persuading failed asylum seekers to make arrangements to leave the UK. Additionally, even where it is possible to identify unmeritorious further submission quickly, it is usually necessary to set out the reasons for rejecting them in some detail in order to avoid claims for judicial reviews."
"47. Article 16(4) requires individual attention to be given to decisions for reduction, withdrawal or refusal of reception conditions and the appellant has argued that the detailed assessment that this will entail would impose an onerous burden on the immigration authorities which would in turn limit the scope for withdrawal or reduction of reception conditions. I cannot accept this argument. There does not appear to be any reason in principle why the state should not be able to adopt what the claimants described as "the screening short-cut of accelerated determinations", particularly in view of the inroads which Mr Tam has told us are being made in the backlog of repeat applications. The answer to the possibility of abuse in the making of repeat applications must surely lie in the devising of streamlined procedures for identifying and rejecting promptly those that are devoid of merit.
48. This is undoubtedly what was contemplated by certain provisions in the Procedures Directive, particularly article 24(1)(a) (which empowers member states to create specific procedures to allow for a preliminary examination for the purposes of processing cases); and article 32(2) (which permits a specific procedure to be applied after a decision has been taken on a previous application). Recital 15 of the Procedures Directive is also relevant. It states:
"Where an applicant makes a subsequent application without presenting new evidence or arguments, it would be disproportionate to oblige member states to carry out a new full examination procedure. In these cases, member states should have a choice of procedure involving exceptions to the guarantees normally enjoyed by the applicant."
49. These provisions point powerfully to the way in which the problem of unmeritorious applications should be confronted and dealt with. This is not to be achieved by disapplying the Reception Directive to all repeat applications whether or not they have merit. The problem of undeserving cases should be counteracted by identifying and disposing promptly of those which have no merit and ensuring that those applicants who are genuine are not deprived of the minimum conditions that the Directive provides for."
"66. I conclude, therefore, that when applying Schedule 3, a local authority should not consider the merits of an outstanding application for leave to remain. It is required to be satisfied that the application is not "obviously hopeless or abusive" to use the words of Maurice Kay LJ. Such an application would, for example, be one which is not an application for leave to remain at all, or which is merely a repetition of an application which has already been rejected. But obviously hopeless or abusive cases apart, in my judgment a local authority which is faced with an application for assistance pending the determination of an arguable application for leave to remain on Convention grounds, should not refuse assistance if that would have the effect of requiring the person to leave the UK thereby forfeiting his claim. This is the approach adopted by Lloyd Jones J in R ([AW]) v Croydon London Borough Council  LGR 159, paras 74–76 and Andrew Nicol QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, in R (B) v Haringey London Borough Council  HLR 175, para 60 and Binomugisha v Southwark London Borough Council  1 FLR 916, para 53."
"56. These figures show two things. First, the overall number of cases being supported under any part of section 4 have reduced. An analysis of why this is has not yet been carried out, but certainly part of the reason has been CRD's resolution of old cases and in addition there has been a fall in levels of asylum intake. Second, the percentage of cases being supported under section 4, as a result of further submissions, has also dropped. There may be different reasons for both of these changes, one of which is that the policy has deterred at least some of the abusive applications identified in my earlier paragraphs above."
"19. It is clear, then, that this 15 day systematic delay is affecting a significant number of vulnerable applicants nationally. A significant proportion of our clients were street homeless whilst awaiting a decision on their Section 4 support application where they had further submissions outstanding. Many of our clients report sleeping on park benches, garages, sheds or outside our offices. One of our clients, in desperation, broke into our office in order to sleep and injured himself in the process. Our clients generally avoid other rough sleepers because they are afraid of being attacked. This means they avoid soup kitchens and night shelters too as they often can't cope with the crowded and hostile environment.
20. 6 applicants suffered illness or disability, and one applicant was receiving psychiatric care. 1 applicant (and her husband) were HIV+. 4 applicants had children (although one was not living with them) and 3 applicants had a pregnant wife, one of whom experienced serious complications throughout the pregnancy (and while waiting for the support decision which was delayed due to further requests for medical information), 5 applicants reported depression and stress, including one who was self-harming and 2 who had attempted suicide. 1 applicant reported fear of his community regarding his sexuality (thus impacting on his ability to find alternative means of support). A significant number of our clients are staying on the floors of others who are in receipt of section 4 support. Their section 4 support is insufficient to enable the friends to share their food with our clients and many of our clients in this position go without food for a number of days. This means that even where they may have a roof over their heads, they do not have any or anywhere near enough food to eat.
21. Our survey indicates that there is no prioritisation given to applications from street homeless people."
"… A significant proportion of such people (i.e. destitute with further submissions pending) are "street homeless" (i.e. people sleeping on the streets). The majority are single men, although they also include single women."
"21. Many of our street homeless clients report sleeping at bus stops, on night buses (in cities such as London which have night bus services), in train and bus stations. People can only get on night buses if they have been able to obtain a bus pass or ticket (which means that it is not an option for the overwhelming majority of street homeless asylum seekers). They also tell us they feel vulnerable and unsafe sleeping rough. Some report being attacked whilst sleeping rough and it is not uncommon for them to be subjected to racist abuse.
25. The overwhelming majority of the people who are street homeless find the experience of being in that position frightening and hugely distressing. Most of them have never experienced being homeless and lack the necessary survival skills to cope with being homeless. Many of them will not be sufficiently proficient in the English language. A lot of them, even if they speak English, are educated and from professional backgrounds. The distress and humiliation they report feeling at being homeless is particularly acute given their unfamiliarity with such a way of life. They find it particularly difficult to deal with the encounters with established groups of rough sleepers (often drug and alcohol users) which are unavoidable when someone is homeless."
"24. I have read the statement made by Hugo Tristram of the British Red Cross and can confirm that the impact of destitution on our clients is similar to that documented by the Red Cross. Our clients frequently report sleeping in bus shelters, parks and on night buses, they report fear of authorities, indignity and lack of self worth."
"34. It is clear to NRC that the minimal alternative support that is available means that many of its clients awaiting decisions on their section 4 support applications are going hungry and experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. A sizeable proportion of our clients are street homeless. Some of them (including women) report sleeping at bus stops and in bus stations. Clearly this is unsafe particularly for women."
Relief and the individual cases