Asylum – immigration – destitute – human rights – inhuman and degrading
L was an Angolan national who had sought asylum support and been turned down, despite evidence that he had no means of securing accommodation, or food or means of support, no access to sanitary facilities and no option but to sleep on the street. He alleged that this was inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to the European Convention, article 3, which invalidated the Home Office’s response to his request for support.
The court held that if a claimant established that he would be sleeping rough, especially in winter, that he had no charity to assist him, that his only prospect of food and washing facilities and a change of clothes was irregular, then a refusal of relief would amount to sufficient ill treatment to trigger an article 3 breach. In winter, no additional medical evidence of danger to health was required, as it was self-evidently a matter of common sense.
The court also mentioned that if the Home Office would only take a slightly more flexible approach to problems faced by asylum seekers, the very great deal of public money spent on applications to the judicial review courts would be put to better use.
The minimum threshold of severity of the consequences of destitution seems to have been re-stated from a more relaxed perspective than that taken by the Court of Appeal in T v Secretary of State for the Home Department. See also R v Secretary of State exparte Adam, Limbuela, Tesema in the House of Lords