It seems the UK Govt is literally burning public money defending their unlawful practices and abuses. Below are some of the current cases that the government are defending and rulings that they are appealing. You might be shocked to hear some of the details behind these case and we can only imagine the kind of legal bill they’re racking up as a result. Remember these are just the current cases so we can expect there have been many more cases that the government has been forced to defend (or appeal) over the previous months and years.
MATT HANCOCK FAILED TO PUBLISH AWARD NOTICES FOR PPE RELATED PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS
The High Court ruled today that Matt Hancock (the Secretary of State for Health & Social care) acted unlawfully when he failed to “publish Contract Award Notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.” The judge declared that Hancock had spent “vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020” and that “the public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded.” It’s understood that the government has spent over £200,000 of public money in legal costs defending this action. On Tuesday, The National also reported that the Good Law Project review included information that Dominic Cummings had admitted that he was instrumental in awarding a £500,000 government contract to research firm ‘Public First’ – a company run by Cummings’ and Michael Gove’s friends. The company was awarded the contract without having to go through a formal tendering process or advertisement.
CIVIL SERVANTS UNION BRING CASE AGAINST BORIS JOHNSON OVER PRITI PATEL BULLYING INCIDENT
We also learned today that the FDA (the trade union for senior and middle management civil servants and public service professionals) is bringing a case against Boris Johnson over his decision to stand by Priti Patel, despite the fact that she had been found to be in breach of the ministerial code by an independent report. The independent adviser on ministerial standards at the time, Sir Alex Allan, said that Patel had been “shouting and swearing” and that her conduct “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying.” Sir Allan subsequently resigned after Johnson ignored his advice. According to the FDA’s General Secretary, Dave Penman, a recent survey found that nearly 90% of FDA members said they had no faith that the Ministerial Code protected them from bullying or harassment by ministers.
ASYLUM SEEKER BRINGS CASE AGAINST PRITI PATEL OVER 23HR A DAY CURFEW POLICY
Also today, an asylum seeker has launched proceedings at the High Court against the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, over a “curfew” policy that effectively imprisons asylum seekers for 23-hour every day. Asylums seekers placed in hotels are allowed no more than 1hr a day to get fresh air or to get in essential shopping. Security guards at the door sign people in and out, they demand to know where you’re going and then they check your bags when you return. They also threaten to call the police if you don’t abide by their rules. According to a recent report from one London council, some of the hotels they had inspected had tiny rooms, the quality and choice of food was often poor and there was a shortage of water and toiletries. Hygiene standards were low and some rooms even had mice.
GOVT LOSES APPEAL IN CASE WHERE CHILDREN BEING CHARGED £1012 FOR BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
Yesterday we discovered that the Home Office lost another appeal after courts found that that they had been illegally charging extortionate amounts to register children as British citizens. Apparently, Priti Patel’s department have been charging children £1012 each to register as British Citizens if they were born outside the UK (to British parents) or even if they were born in the UK but their parents were still waiting for citizenship or settled status. The actual cost to register children is £372, so the government were in fact making a profit of £640 per child. Current estimates suggest that this impacts about 120,000 children in the UK (more than half of whom were in fact born in the UK), which means this little money earner could net them almost £77 million. Yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld the 2019 High Court ruling that these fees were unlawful. The Judge added that the government’s actions caused the children to “feel alienated, excluded, isolated, second-best, insecure and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK”. All the hand ringing and exclamations of “lessons learned” over Windrush appear to have all been for nought. In fact, this Conservative government appear to be more than comfortable with the idea of making stonking profits from the children of migrants, so much so that they’re even prepared to go to court to fight for the policy and then spend even more public money appealing the decision, after the first ruling went against them.
GOVT APPEALS RULING WHERE CHILD REFUGEE DETAINED AS AN ADULT BY IMMIGRATION SERVICES
One is the case of a child refugee who had been unlawfully detained as an adult by immigration services (hearing on 16th March 2021). Remember, a court has already ruled against the government in this case but the government are determined to spend even more public money appealing that decision.
GOVT APPEAL RULING THAT SHAMIMA BEGUM BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO FIGHT FOR HER CITIZENSHIP
Then there’s the Shamima Begum case. The Government is hoping to overturn another decision that went against them when a court of appeal had previously ruled that Shamima Begum should be granted leave to enter the UK so that she can pursue her appeal against the Secretary of State’s decision to deprive her of British citizenship (Judgment date is 26th February 2021).
My best guess, the amount of money being spent on defending court cases and appealing court decisions is probably enough to fund an entire government department.
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