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The Administrative Court today dismissed a judicial review challenge to the Home Secretary’s decisions to relocate Afghan nationals from London to Manchester (HZ and ors v SSHD  EWHC 660 (Admin)).
The Afghan nationals were relocated to the UK following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in 2021. The Home Secretary decided to move them from hotel bridging accommodation in London to replacement hotel bridging accommodation in Manchester.
The Administrative Court determined that these decisions were lawful. They were not a “function in relation to immigration” and so the Home Secretary was not obliged by section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, even if she had been so obliged, she had met this duty on the facts of the case. The Home Secretary had taken relevant considerations into account and made sufficient enquiries about the impact of the move on the Afghan nationals, including in relation to children’s education.
Separately, various documents about bridging accommodation did not amount to a policy. Where there was a stated policy about settled accommodation, the application of rationality principles did not require this to be transposed to replacement bridging accommodation.
Cathryn McGahey KC, William Irwin and Anisa Kassamali represented the Home Secretary.