Anthony Metzer QC, Head of Chambers leads Sarah Pinder, joint-head of the immigration team, in a group judicial review claim brought by eight Fijian Commonwealth veterans, who served in the British army, including on numerous operations. They are instructed by Vinita Templeton, Director at Duncan Lewis.
The response from the two government departments, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office, has now been received. We have issued the following press statement:
On 20th May 2020, the MoD and the Home Office confirmed that they will vigorously defend the claims in their entirety, maintaining that the claims are “not justiciable” and would not give our clients a solution through the Courts.
We consider that the MoD and the Home Office have taken technical points of law, which do not address, even indirectly, the very difficult situations that our clients have been forced to face by the actions of the two departments.
There was no sympathy expressed towards our clients, nor remorse for the claimed breaches of guidance and for the disregard of the Armed Forces Covenant. They have continued to refuse to grant interim relief to allow leave to remain during the Covid-19 pandemic. No mention has been made of our clients’ justified concerns about their ongoing health difficulties; their fear of using the NHS; and the effect of Covid-19 and lockdown, which have exacerbated their mental health and financial worries.
Our clients are deeply disappointed, though not wholly surprised, at what they consider to be an arrogant and dismissive response. In the circumstances, they have been left no other recourse other than to proceed with their judicial review claim, which they had hoped might have been avoided had a sympathetic and understanding approach been taken to their situation.
The Guardian has published this article on 20th May reporting on the government response so far. Anthony and Sarah continue to represent the group of eight Commonwealth veterans pro bono.