Janet Farrell's Notable Cases

Janet's notable cases include:

R (on the application of A & B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41

Janet acted for Humanists UK in an intervention in this appeal before the Supreme Court which sought to challenge the SSH’s policy of refusing women from Northern Ireland forced to travel to England abortions on the NHS. Judgment can be found here. The Supreme Court decided by a narrow margin that the SSH was not discriminating by refusing to provide abortion services to Northern Irish women. However, two weeks following the judgment, the government announced a U-turn in policy such that the service is now available free on the NHS. Details of the case and the current policy position can be found in Humanists UK’s website here, here and here. The case continues in the European Court of Human Rights.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission v Attorney General of Northern Ireland & Department of Justice UKSC/2017/0131

Janet acts for Humanists UK in this appeal to the Supreme Court brought by the NIHRC concerning the legality of the abortion regime in Northern Ireland. The Commission argued that the failure to provide exceptions for pregnancies involving sexual crime and serious or fatal foetal abnormalities is contrary to Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR. The case was heard by a 7 judge panel over 3 days in October 2017 and judgment is awaited. Details of the case can be found on the Supreme Court’s website here and on Humanists UK’s website here.

In the matter of an application by JR76 v Public Prosecution Service N0:16/22207

Janet acts for Humanists UK (through agent solicitors in Belfast) in an intervention in this claim for judicial review in the Northern Irish High Court. The case challenges the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute the mother of a 15 year old girl who assisted her daughter by obtaining abortifacient pills on line. The full hearing is listed for April 2018.

AZT v Secretary of State for the Home Department CO/2012/2017

In an application for judicial review and urgent interim relief heard on 18 May 2017, Janet secured the release of a highly vulnerable detainee who was detained unlawfully by the Home Office. His claim for damages continues in the Queen’s Bench Division.


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.

  • Janet Farrell
Janet Farrell, photo Sarah Booker

More pages in this section