13 January 2022

PCS warn Home Secretary of application for court injunction to stop pushbacks

We have put the Home Secretary on notice that we will apply for a court injunction if the Home Office does not suspend their controversial pushback policy. 

Alongside Care4Calais, PCS made the move following an article in the Times at the weekend, which reported that the government had sought to implement pushback tactics twice last month.

The government said that the only reason they did not use the tactics was that there were no crossings on those days.

The move would contravene international law and would be in defiance of a judicial review which PCS and Care4Calais launched in December last year.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The arrogance of this government is breathtaking.

“The legality of the pushbacks policy is before the High Court, and yet the ministers think they can instruct our members to carry out a morally reprehensible and potentially unlawful act.

"It is outrageous that the Home Office announced that it is pressing ahead with the policy when it knows that it is subject to judicial review.

“Our focus is to protect Border Force members, abide by the law and avoid harming refugees who try to reach the UK.”

Clare Moseley, CEO of Care4Calais said: "Care4Calais is deeply concerned that the Home Office’s pushbacks policy will cause deaths at sea.

"With evidence before the court that the policy will put migrants at risk of serious harm or death, it cannot be right for the Home Office to try to implement the policy before the court has decided if it is lawful.

“We believe that we need to do all we can to protect life, and that is why we have put the Home Office on notice of an injunction application.“

Jeremy Bloom, solicitor for the claimants at Duncan Lewis solicitors said: "There is a claim before the High Court that the Home Secretary has no legal power to require vessels to return to France, and that the policy unlawfully puts the lives of asylum seekers and Border Force officials at risk.

"Our clients consider that the Home Secretary should suspend the policy until the judicial review claim has been decided.

"We hope that the Home Office will suspend the policy until the court decides on its lawfulness, but should it refuse to do so, we will proceed with an application for an injunction."