Successful challenge to Home Office trafficking policy in Upper Tribunal

Turpin Miller act for VLT, a highly vulnerable Vietnamese national trafficked into the UK on three separate occasions over 15 years, to whom the Home Office refused permission to stay as a victim of trafficking in July 2023 on the basis of historic criminality that the Home Office accepted was the product of his past exploitation.

In September 2023 VLT brought a judicial review challenging both the Home Office’s decision to refuse to grant him status, as well as bringing a general challenge to the Home Office’s policy under the current discretionary leave policy (v10.0) of refusing victims of trafficking such as our client leave to which they would be otherwise be entitled on the basis of their criminality.

On 7 February 2024, the Upper Tribunal allowed VLT’s application for judicial review. The Upper Tribunal held that the Home Office’s discretionary leave policy was unlawful, as the policy of excluding confirmed victims of trafficking from the benefit of grants of leave on the basis of historic criminality was inconsistent with the Home Office’s ongoing commitment to implement the judgment in KTT  v SSHD [2022] EWCA Civ 307 where it had been held that the Home Office had an obligation under Article 14(1)(a) of the Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking to grant leave to confirmed victims of trafficking who have ongoing asylum claims based on their fear of retrafficking.

The Upper Tribunal quashed the Home Office’s decision refusing VLT permission to stay, and ordered the Home Office to grant our client leave within 28 days.

The Home Office have now applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the Upper Tribunal’s decision.

VLT is represented by Ben Goldberg, Katherine Soroya and William Shelley of Turpin Miller LLP, and Gráinne Mellon and Eva Doerr of Garden Court Chambers.

Turpin Miller’s Legal Aid Immigration Team is representing a number of individuals challenging the Home Office’s decisions and policy on granting leave to victims of trafficking.