Janet Farrell's Notable Cases

Janet's notable cases include:

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission v Attorney General of Northern Ireland & Department of Justice [2018] UKSC 27

Janet acted for Humanists UK in this appeal to the Supreme Court. In a landmark judgment, a majority of the Supreme Court held that the current law on abortion in Northern Ireland breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by failing to provide exceptions to the prohibition on abortion in cases where the foetus will not survive birth and where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Although the Court stopped short of making a formal declaration that Northern Ireland law is incompatible with human rights because the NIHRC did not have standing to bring the proceedings, it nevertheless chose to state its “positive conclusion of incompatibility” and underlined the need for review and reform noting that following the decisive referendum in the Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland now stands “almost alone [in Europe] in the strictness of its current law”.

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

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. She was acquitted following the reforms implemented by section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 which came into force on 22 October 2019. 

In the matter of an application by Sarah Ewart v Department of Justice (NI) and Department of Health (NI)

Janet acts for Humanists UK (through agent solicitors in Belfast) in an intervention in this claim for judicial review brought by Sarah Ewart, who experienced a fatal foetal abnormality pregnancy and was refused an abortion in NI. On 3 October 2019 Court held that her Article 8 ECHR rights were breached. A decision on whether it will make a declaration of incompatibility was deferred.

Szakacs & Szakacs v NHS England & Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (DOOMY814) – settlement approved June 2019

This case about NHS charging concerned unlawful and discriminatory decision making by both Defendants concerning the provision of NHS care for a highly vulnerable EEA national. At the point of instruction, Mr Szakacs, who lacked mental capacity, had been refused the care he needed and was to be repatriated by the hospital to Romania against his family’s wishes. That was prevented and the decision to refuse NHS care was reversed. A civil claim later settled with substantive damages (without admissions) being agreed for both Mr Szakacs and his wife. Further, the Department of Health has agreed in light of this case to amend its national guidance in respect of decision making for those who lack mental capacity.

R (Maternity Action) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care CO/3839/2019

Janet acts for Maternity Action in a judicial review challenging the NHS Charging regime for overseas visitors on the grounds that it disproportionately impacts particular groups of migrant women. The case also challenges the Defendant’s failure to fulfil his public sector equality duty.

AZT v Home Office [2019] EWHC 4 (QB)

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 was then transferred to the Queen’s Bench Division where it was linked to an existing false imprisonment claim for previous detentions. Janet successfully pressed for proper disclosure from the Home Office. Read the judgment concerning disclosure here. The linked claims ultimately settled for £88,000.

MOO and Others v Home Office (HQ18P00817) – settlement approved October 2019

Janet acted for a mother and her two children who were separated by immigration detention for a period of 4 months, during which time the children were in local authority care. The case settled (without admissions) for a global sum of £90,000.

SSF and KSF v Home Office (F00MY055)

Janet acted for a mother and her daughter who were separated by immigration detention for a period of 3 months, during which time the child was in local authority care. The case settled for a global sum of £50,000. The Home Office admitted that the majority of the detention had been unlawful.

AJS and AJU (a child) v SSHD
CO/88/2018

This judicial review claim successfully challenged the legality of the immigration detention of a father, was detained and separated from his 3 year old daughter who was in care. The Family Court ordered that she should be reunited with him but if he was not released in time, she should be adopted. The Home Office refused to release him, transferred him to a detention centre miles away so he could not see her, and opposed his applications for bail. He was finally released after 3 months, days away from his daughter being adopted. In settlement of the claim the Home Office admitted that they had detained AJS unlawfully throughout the detention, and agreed to pay the Claimants £50,000 in damages.

PA v SSHD

Janet acted for PA who was detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC under immigration powers for 1 month whilst she was pregnant. Her judicial review challenged her own detention and the legality of the Home Office’s policy and practice of detaining pregnant women as a whole. The claim was supported by evidence from the Royal College of Midwives, Maternity Action and the charity Medical Justice, who published Expecting Change in June 2013, raising serious concerns about the treatment of pregnant women detained under immigration powers. The claim settled in October 2015 with the Home Office admitting liablity for unlawful detention, apologising and paying substantive damages as well as agreeing to review the policy in respect of the detention of pregnant women. The final Order is here

J.N. v UK (Application 37289/12)

Janet acted for Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) who intervened in this important European Court of Human Rights case which addressed 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
 

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