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Judgment handed down in judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision not to proceed with three Windrush recommendations


On 19 June 2024, Heather Williams J handed down judgment in R (Donald) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWHC 1492 (Admin). This followed a two-day hearing on 23 and 24 April 2024.  Sian Reeves, led by Edward Brown KC, was junior counsel for the Home Secretary (“SSHD”).

The Claimant’s claim for judicial review challenged the decision of the then SSHD (the Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP) on 7 December 2022 not to proceed with three recommendations made in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (“WLLR”), namely: Recommendation 3 (run reconciliation events); Recommendation 9 (introduce a Migrants’ Commissioner); and Recommendation 10 (review the remit and role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration).  

The Claimant challenged this decision on the grounds that it constituted: 

  1. A breach of a substantive legitimate expectation that Recommendations 3, 9 and 10 would be implemented (Ground 1).
  2. A breach of a procedural legitimate expectation that a decision not to proceed with the Recommendations would not be taken in the absence of prior consultation (Ground 2).
  3. Indirect discrimination in the traditional sense and/or Thlimmenos discrimination contrary to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”), read with Article 8 ECHR (Ground 3).
  4. A breach of the Tameside duty of inquiry (Ground 4).
  5. A breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) in s. 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (Ground 5).

Heather Williams J dismissed: (i) Grounds 1 and 4; and (ii) all grounds of challenge in relation to the decision not to proceed with Recommendation 3.

However, Heather Williams J held that the SSHD’s decision not to proceed with Recommendations 9 and 10 was unlawful on three grounds, namely: (i) it breached a procedural legitimate expectation (Ground 2); (ii) it indirectly discriminated against Windrush victims contrary to Article 14 ECHR (Ground 3); and (iii) it breached the PSED (Ground 5). 

For those who practice in administrative and public law, the judgment contains a helpful and comprehensive statement of the relevant legal principles.  

A link to the judgment can be found here.

The decision has been widely reported in the press, including by the BBC, the London Evening Standard and Sky News.

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Sian Reeves

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