25th March 2020: Home Affairs Committee InquiryWednesday, March 25th, 2020
Home Affairs Committee Inquiry into Home Office preparedness for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Written Evidence submitted by Medical Justice
25 March 2020
An immigration detainee has already tested positve for COVID-19 at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). IRCs are high risk for clusters of COVID-19, and staff provide a conduit for infection to and from the community.
The response to COVID-19 within IRCs has already been problematic. It is widely acknowledged that even at the best of times, healthcare in IRCs is entirely inadequate and that detention can exacerbate existing medical conditions.
Many detainees are especially vulnerable due to their co-existing physical illnesses.
17th March 2020: Update on our work and office during the COVID-19 pandemicTuesday, March 17th, 2020
Medical Justice operations during the Coronavirus pandemic
The Medical Justice team has had to make a few adjustments to ensure we do our best to protect the health of our staff, volunteers, clients and that of the wider community.
Medical Justice knows that many immigration detainees are particularly worried at this time.
Immigration detention is not part of any criminal sentence; it is purely for the administrative convenience of the Home Office. By continuing to hold immigration detainees, the Home Office is risking public health, including that of detainees and immigration removal centre staff, for its own administrative convenience – this is unconscionable, and we continue to challenge it in every way we can.
16th March 2020: Detainees At Risk From COVID-19Monday, March 16th, 2020
Medical Justice demands release of all immigration detainees to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 inside detention
In light of the emerging COVID-19 situation Medical Justice is concerned for its vulnerable clients. Immigration detention can exacerbate existing medical conditions and our volunteer doctors see concerning levels of medical mistreatment in immigration removal centres.
2nd March 2020: Prince Fosu InquestMonday, March 2nd, 2020
Neglect contributed to the death of an immigration detainee died naked and emaciated in ‘strip cell’ – others remain at risk
Prince Fosu died on 30th October 2012, 6 days after being detained at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). He suffered undiagnosed, untreated psychosis and related bizarre behaviour, dehydration, malnourishment and hypothermia. He died alone, on the concrete floor of a ‘strip cell’ in segregation with no mattress, having had little if any food, fluid or sleep. He was naked, emaciated, and covered in debris.
11th Feb 2020 : Yarl’s Wood detainee cleared of assault against guardsTuesday, February 11th, 2020
A Nigerian woman was today cleared of assaulting guards UK during a violent attempt to remove her from the UK.
The Guardian today includes distressing footage of the incident in which the woman sustained multiple injuries at the hands of the guards : “Woman cleared of assaulting Yarl’s Wood guards during struggle“
Emma Ginn, Director of Medical Justice said ;
“The judge concluded that the lead guard in a use of force briefing was going to use force “come what may”.
Basics Training Day for Clinicians – March 2020Tuesday, January 7th, 2020
Medical Justice basics training day.
Our next “basics” training day for clinicians interested in volunteering with Medical Justice is on 14th March 2020.
Our training is for medics who are interested in volunteering for Medical Justice as medico-legal report writers, visiting detainees in detention centres, assessing their health and documenting evidence of torture or trauma and other health issues.
The aim of this course is to gain an understanding of the health and legal needs of asylum seekers and other immigration detainees. Whilst the focus is on persons detained, the skills learnt can be used in other work with asylum seekers and refugees, as well as medico-legal report writing.
The training covers the relevant legal processes, assessing scarring and mental health and report writing skills.
Participants will have a basic understanding and experience of the needs of immigration detainees and/or care of asylum seekers in the community and will be doctors (5 years post qualification training; ie. GP or ST4 and above, or equivalent clinical experience) and psychologists.
Medical Justice is a small charity that sends volunteer doctors (and other health professionals) into the UK’s 7 IRCs to visit men, women and children detained arbitrarily and indefinitely. We assist about 1,000 detainees a year, most of whom are asylum seekers, and most are later released. Our volunteer doctors write medico-legal reports (MLRs) documenting scars of torture and challenge instances of inadequate healthcare provision, including denial of medication and access to hospital. We are the only charitable organisation in the UK that does this. Our training is therefore unique and provided by experienced doctors in the field.
On request, fees are reimbursed after the doctor has written an MLR for a Medical Justice referral
£120 – Consultant/GP
£80 – Trainee doctors (ST4 onwards) and psychologists
Free – Medical Justice volunteer (carried out one detention visit in last 6 months)
Note: please tell us if you would have difficulties paying a fee – we can help.
You can pay by electronic transfer to us at
Account Number: 0002 1167
or by posting a cheque made payable to ‘Medical Justice Network Ltd’ to Medical Justice, 86 Durham Road, London N7 7DT.
Registration Information Needed
Please email email@example.com with the following information to register and book your place:
Current employment (post and employer)
Any dietary requirements or special needs
Home Office revises definition of torture after Medical Justice highlights problemsMonday, September 23rd, 2019
Medical Justice has agreed to ‘stay’ its case against the Home Office in the High Court of Justice regarding the definition of Torture in the ‘Adults at Risk’ policy.
This is the second successful challenge that Medical Justice has brought against the definition of torture in relation to this policy.
Following the introduction of the Adults at Risk policy we started to see that the new narrower definition of torture was excluding some victims of torture from the protection of the policy – for example, those tortured by traffickers.
As a matter of urgency, we lodged a judicial review against the Home Office. We collected evidence from our casework, and from medical professionals to support our argument. The judicial review contended that the definition of torture was unlawfully restrictive, and had no rational justification concerning the identification of those particularly vulnerable to harm in immigration detention. A year later, in October 2017, the judge ruled in our favour finding the definition of torture used at that time was unlawful.
The updated definition was still unsatisfactory as it still served to exclude some victims of torture at increased risk of harm in detention from protection, it still laid the evidential burden on detainees and increased the threshold for release from detention. Following the introduction of the new definition of torture we continued to see cases where torture survivors had been detained counter to the stated intention of the policy, including detainees who were deemed to have been victims of torture under the old definition but were re-evaluated under the new policy and found no longer to qualify under the new definition.
Again we lodged another Judicial Review on the grounds that the new torture definition was contrary to the purpose of the policy, and there had been no fair and lawful consultation.
Medical Justice was granted permission to file a judicial review on all grounds. Rather than go back to the courts, the Home Office made concessions and a consent order was agreed with Medical Justice. This included policy changes such as an amendment to the Adults at Risk Caseworker Guidance; a review of and consultation on the Detention Centre Rules when the new Detention Centre Rules are laid before Parliament; and finally that an equality impact assessment is carried out as soon as reasonably practicable.
“We see this as a significant win for the protection of already vulnerable people in detention. By making these concessions, the Home Office is admitting that more needs to be done to protect survivors of torture – we just have to wait and see how significant those deeds will be.”
– Emma Ginn, Director
Response to the consultation on the Detention Centre RulesMonday, September 23rd, 2019
We welcome the opportunity to feed into the consultation on the draft Removal Centre Rules (RCR). We are concerned about a number of aspects of the draft RCR. As the rules are long and complex we have provided a summary of our primary concerns here.