We are challenging the government on Operation Nexus, a vague policy administered by the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement, that allows people to be deported from the UK without any convictions.
We are bringing a Judicial Review to challenge a joint Met Police and Home Office initiative, Operation Nexus, that allows people to be deported from the UK without any convictions.
We believe that everyone has the right to a fair trial. But since the government launched Operation Nexus in 2012, many people living legally in this country have faced arbitrary deportation.
Operation Nexus is presented as an initiative which allows the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police to exchange information to facilitate the deportation of foreign national offenders.
We decided to investigate the policy, meeting defendants, analysing individual cases in depth and coordinating with other civil rights groups and solicitors’ firms, for well over a year. What we found was highly disturbing. Our research revealed that, thanks to Operation Nexus, the government was able to deport individuals who had no prior convictions, without permitting them access to a fair trial.
If an individual is deported this should be based on proven conduct, which is usually demonstrated by the presence of a criminal conviction. However, in Nexus cases, the Home Office is provided with police intelligence regarding individuals who may only be suspected of some form of criminality, or who may have had a criminal conviction many years ago or in a some cases may not have been convicted of a criminal offence ever. This intelligence information is then presented to the immigration tribunal considering any deportation appeal, often without any external scrutiny or challenge.
From our research we believe that the policy is being implemented unfairly and has done much damage to human rights protections under European law, including impacting the right to a fair trial.
We’re now ready to challenge the policy in the courts through Judicial Review. Support us, and support the right to a fair trial for everyone living legally in the UK.
Just picture it:
A foreign national, legally residing in the UK, comes into contact with the police. They may have been arrested without charge, or acquitted, or in some extreme cases approaching the police as victims themselves.
But Nexus allows for their immigration information to be passed on to the Home Office by the police, simply because they are foreign.
As a result, they are now liable to be deported. They can appeal the decision, but their ability to access legal representation is significantly reduced: there is no legal aid for many deportation cases. Once in court, appealing the deportation order, they may come up against police officers giving evidence against them. It feels like they are being tried for a crime which they may never have been charged with, or even, already cleared of. What’s worse, because they are not in a criminal court, but in an immigration tribunal, the rules of evidence are significantly lessened.
- They do not have to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but only on a balance of probabilities.
- They face a single judge instead of a jury of their peers.
- Evidence by anonymous or absent witnesses is admissible, and can be presented to the court by a third party, often a Nexus police officer.
- The court is under no obligation to disclose evidence favourable to the defendant.
What we're raising and why:
The AIRE Centre is a small charity with very limited resources. Changes to legislation mean that even though we are a not for profit organisation with limited funds, we might be required to pay the defendants’ costs – the possibility of which will make it impossible for us to take on the case. However, we believe that someone needs to do something about the way this policy is being implemented.
So we're appealing to you for support. We need to raise £3,000 to make it possible.
About the claimant
The AIRE Centre is a specialist legal charity. We make sure the most vulnerable and marginalised people are treated fairly and are protected by European law. We also defend migrants’ rights by providing free legal advice and representation, and support practitioners and decision makers, to apply European law fairly and correctly. In 2014, AIRE provided free legal advice to over 600 people, and for the past 20 years has been involved in some of the most important cases concerning the rights of vulnerable migrants. Further information is available on: www.airecentre.org
- Foreign nationals, with no prior offences and legally residing in the UK, can now be deported without access to a fair trial - We are the AIRE Centre, a legal charity defending the rights of the most vulnerable. - We are raising funds to bring a Judicial Review against this policy ourselves.
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