Anthony Metzer QC and Sarah Pinder of Chambers, instructed by Vinita Templeton of Duncan Lewis Solicitors represent a group of eight Commonwealth Veterans (“the Claimants”), who have lodged a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State for Defence (SSD) and the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD). This has been recently featured in two articles in The Guardian, which can be accessed here and here.
The Claimants challenge Home Office and Ministry of Defence (MOD) practices which include failures to follow their own guidance and duties with regard to Foreign and Commonwealth HM Forces personnel at discharge, which impacts hugely on the Claimants’ rights to reside in the UK. They are seeking a declaration that these failings occurred as a result of serious and systemic administrative errors, resulting in illegality, and that they should therefore be entitled to Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) free of charge. They also seek a declaration that other veterans who have already returned to their country of origin who were subject to the same historic injustices, should be given an opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Enter (‘ILE’).
Additionally, the Claimants argue that the SSHD’s guidance on how to treat those whose exemption stamps were not cancelled and setting out the factors considered as part of its discretion to grant ILR outside the Immigration Rules is unclear and the SSHD’s practices are demonstrably unfair and inconsistent.
With regard to Home Office application fees, the Claimants seek a further declaration that charging veterans and their families extortionate settlement application fees is unfair, discriminatory and contrary to the express terms of the Armed Forces Covenant.