CAMPAIGNERS launched a High Court challenge against the government yesterday over its U-turn on allowing unaccompanied child refugees into Britain under the Dubs scheme.
Charity Help Refugees claims ministers failed to calculate the number of places available for the children in question because they did not “properly consult” local authorities.
The hearing comes after ministers announced that only 350 child refugees would be accepted into the country under the scheme, far fewer than the 3,000 it pledged it would assist.
Representing the charity, human rights solicitor Rosa Curling said: “The consultation process by which the Home Office has calculated this low number was fundamentally flawed.
“There was no real consultation with many local authorities. “Our legal challenge holds the government to account on this critical issue of how many unaccompanied refugee children will be relocated to Britain and supported here.”
Ms Curling, of law firm Leigh Day, added: “The specified number of unaccompanied child refugees announced by (Home Secretary) Amber Rudd this week is woefully low.
“We believe the process by which the number has been reached is unlawful.
“The court will, at a future full hearing, be asked to intervene and compel the Home Secretary to reconsider.”
The preliminary hearing proposed that the case be heard as early as this May at the High Court.
Mr Justice Holman, presiding, said he was “very, very determined” the case should move forward as fast as it reasonably could — with May 2-4 pencilled in for the full hearing.
“There is a huge political dimension to this,” he said.“It is extremely important to establish as soon as reasonably practical whether the number specified is or is not lawful.”
Labour peer Lord Dubs, author of the Dubs Amendment requiring the government to relocate unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe, was in court.
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