Medical Justice case-work falls into 3 main categories ;
- Medical evidence
- Dealing with medical abuse in detention
- Assault cases
Medical Justice challenges instances of medical evidence produced by qualified medics being ignored by the Home office and immigration courts, challenges instances of medical findings by unqualified Home Office officials and immigration judges, and writes medico legal reports.
Dealing with medical abuse in detention
Including denial of medication and treatment, access to hospital, testing and test results.
Assessing detainees’ injuries after an assault by guards in the detention centre, or in transit to other places of detention, or at an airport
Medical Justice referrals
Referrals generally come to Medical Justice when all else has failed; the detainee’s legal representative cannot get legal aid funding to progress a case or finance a medical report, or has simply not attempted to get a medical report. Many detainees have not been able to get a legal aid solicitor and are being charged thousands of pounds, often of disastrously bad quality, or simply do not have any legal representation at all.
Referrals are mostly received by visitors to immigration detainees, asylum rights activists, asylum advocacy organisations, and legal representatives who have no legal aid funding on a case.
Referrals are usually all “urgent” by definition as many detainees are facing imminent deportation (sometimes within the next 24 hrs), are ill and/or being medically abused, or whose prolonged detention is effecting their mental health and sometimes causing psychosis.
Referrals for Campsfield detention centre detainees are fulfilled using local Medical Justice Oxford resources as far as possible. Referrals for Dover detention centre detainees are fulfilled using local Medical Justice Kent resources as far as possible. All other referrals are processed by a volunteer ex-detainee working out of the Medical Justice London office, who does her best to obtain time from medics, legal representatives and others. Fulfilling referral requests is extremely challenging as Medical Justice has no paid staff, and the medics, legal representatives and others who volunteer with Medical Justice have very demanding full-time jobs. It takes about 8 man-hours for a medic to visit a detainee and write a medico-legal report.
It takes a considerable amount of time to collate all the necessary information on a detainee’s situation to be in an appropriate position to approach a medic or legal representative with a referral. Sometimes it may be that a medical report or legal representation will not change the outcome of a detainee’s case. Painful priorities have to be wrestled with daily.
"Medics” could include nurses, psychiatrists, GPs, paediatricians, midwives, and gaenocologists. The Medical Justice medic may visit a detainee and produce a medico-legal report. Although the referral is handled by Medical Justice, and the medical visit arranged by Medical Justice, the medic visits and produces the medical report in their own name as they are not employees of Medical Justice. If the detainee has a legal representative and there is funding available (minority of the referrals), the legal representative instructs the medic and the medic is paid for producing the medical report. More often, there is no funding available and the medic produces a report without charge. Sometimes Medical Justice volunteer medics are able to help the detainee “remotely” without visiting – e.g. medical advice by phone or facilitating hospital access.
"Legal representatives” can include immigration solicitors and case-workers, barristers, and solicitors in the fields of civil action, mental health, community care and prison law.
Referrals from Kent and Oxford are handled on a similar basis and fulfilled locally as far as possible.
Last Updated on Monday, 31 December 2007 03:36