The High Court ruled on 3 June that Napier Barracks provided inadequate and unsafe accommodation for asylum-seekers, and that a major COVID outbreak there was inevitable. The ruling also found that residents of Napier Barracks were unlawfully detained there.

This ruling comes after repeated warnings from senior public health officials, including Public Health England, that the site could never be made COVID-secure. Earlier this year, a COVID-19 outbreak hit the barracks, affecting nearly 200 residents. Responding to the judgment, JCWI's Chief Executive Satbir Singh said:

"Today’s judgment proves that this Government not only ignores its own rules, but that it is reckless with people’s lives. Asylum seekers were unlawfully detained in appalling, crowded conditions. This was against all COVID guidance and Priti Patel had full knowledge that it would cause an outbreak. 

Abandoned, ramshackle military barracks are totally unsuitable sites to house anyone, much less victims of torture or trafficking and people fleeing atrocities. To do so was a cruel and politically motivated decision from a government that consistently puts people’s lives in danger and hopes to get away with it.

There is no place for sites like these in our communities and they must be shut down immediately." 

The case was brought by 6 asylum-seekers who were previously detained at Napier barracks. Deighton Pierce Glynn represented four of the Claimants, with two others represented by Matthew Gold Solicitors. Liberty and JCWI intervened by way of written submissions.

Yet again, this case shows that the Government is willing to put people's lives at risk - and break their own rules - to make a political point. We can't let them get away with it. This is a critical time for migrants' rights and now, more than ever, we need to keep the pressure up.

Stand with refugees. Join us to campaign against this cruelty and hostility towards migrants

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