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Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

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Janet Farrell

Janet specialises in public and private law actions for those detained under immigration powers, with a particular focus on the rights of vulnerable groups including children, pregnant women and victims of torture.

Janet qualified as a solicitor in 2010 after completing her training at Bhatt Murphy. Prior to that, she practiced for a number of years as a caseworker and manager at Refugee and Migrant Justice, representing asylum seekers subjected to the fast track procedure and in the public law department. She completed part of her training at Cambridge Law Centre taking seats in community care, housing and welfare benefits law.

Janet is an accredited senior caseworker under the Law Society’s Immigration and Asylum scheme. She writes case law updates on immigration detention for the Legal Action Group (LAG) magazine. She is also a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association and Inquest Lawyers Group.

Janet has represented over 30 families, who were detained by the Home Office or who were separated through immigration detention, in private law claims which have resulted in settlements ranging between £25,000 - £125,000.

Janet's other notable cases include:

PA v SSHD

Janet acts for PA who was detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC under immigration powers for 1 month whilst she was pregnant. Her judicial review challenges her own detention and the legality of the Home Office’s policy and practice of detaining pregnant women as a whole. The claim is supported by evidence from the Royal College of Midwives, Maternity Action and the charity Medical Justice, who published Expecting Change in June 2013, which raised serious concerns about the treatment of pregnant women detained under immigration powers.

J.N. v UK

Janet acts for Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) who have been granted permission to intervene in the important European Court of Human Rights case of J.N. v UK (Application 37289/12). JN was communicated by the ECtHR in February 2014 and seeks to address, inter alia, the question of whether, in the absence of any time limit and automatic judicial oversight, the detention regime in the United Kingdom complies with Article 5 of the Convention.

R (Chen and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/1119/2013)

This judicial review claim challenged the legality of the practice of the use of force against children and pregnant women under immigration powers, in circumstances where no policy was in place. The Children’s Commissioner supported the claim as an interested party. The case resulted in the reinstatement of a former policy prohibiting the use of force against both groups save for where it is essential to prevent harm. Owing to the reinstatement of the policy, the claim settled prior to permission. The note which summarises the events of the claim and provides links to the relevant orders and statement of the Home Office’s concessions and current policy position can be found here.

R (Salimi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Independent Police Complaints Commission [2012] EWCA Civ 422

This case concerned the nature and extent of the power of detention (and use of force) of the Home Office and its contractors during enforced removals from the jurisdiction and the correct body to whom complaints should be made in respect of allegations of serious misconduct during such removals.

R (NXT and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Children’s Commissioner intervening) [2011] EWHC 969 (Admin)

This case concerned the continued detention of a mother under immigration powers in circumstances where her three children were in separate private fostering arrangements of varying degrees of stability and safety. The Children’s Commissioner agreed that the best interests of her children had not been given the appropriate weight when the Home Office decided to detain NXT. The court held that her detention became unlawful when it became apparent the defendant couldn’t deport her within a reasonable timeframe because a parenting assessment had to be carried out, which could not happen whilst she remained detained. The final order reflected the breach of the mother and children’s Article 8 rights.

R (Suppiah and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Others (Liberty intervening) [2011] EWHC 969 (Admin)

This claim challenged the legality of the Home Office’s policy of detaining children in families. It was commenced prior to the coalition government’s change of policy. Janet represented Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) who assisted Liberty in their intervention. The court held that the claimants had been unlawfully detained. Although the policy was not found to be unlawful the court gave clear guidance on the correct interpretation of the policy, finding that the detention of a child should be authorised only in exceptional circumstances and that they could not be detained on the same footing as other persons liable to removal.

R (MXL and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWHC 2397 (Admin)

This case concerning the continued detention of a mother under immigration powers, which separated her from her two children. The court found that she had been unlawfully detained in the context of her low risk of criminality, her ongoing and meritorious deportation proceedings, and the best interests and welfare of her two children. Her detention was in breach of Articles 5 and 8 and the children’s Article 8 rights were also breached.
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