Inquiries and Reports

Reports published through parliamentary inquiries will be listed here:


APPG on Refugees and APPG on Migration Joint Inquiry

Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom

In July 2014, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All PartyParliamentary Group on Migration launched an inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK. The joint inquiry was formed following a number of high profile incidents within Immigration Removal Centres and amid plans to increase the size of the detention estate.

182 written submissions were received and the panel also held three oral evidence sessions hearing from 26 witnesses in person, including current and former-detainees. During the course of the inquiry, the Chair of the panel, Sarah Teather MP, spent a day inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, experiencing the daily routine of a detainee in the centre.

The report focuses on both the way detention is used in the United Kingdom as well as conditions within detention centres (design of IRCs, restrictions on internet usage, access to legal representation, the ability for detainees to challenge their continued detention, access to health care, treatment of detainees with mental health conditions, the protection of individuals who have been trafficked or who are victims of torture, Rule 35 reports, movement around the detention estate, the detention of women, and the detention of LGBTI individuals.)


Independent Inquiries by Stephen Shaw

Stephen Shaw Inquiry I (Jan 2016)

In January 2016, the Home Office published the report of an independent review by Stephen Shaw that was commissioned on behalf of the Home Secretary. It examined Home Office policies and operating procedures that affect the welfare of immigration detainees. It also included a list of recommendations to the Home Office to improve the welfare of vulnerable persons in immigration removal centres.


Stephen Shaw Inquiry II (July 2018)

An independent review by Stephen Shaw, was commissioned on behalf of the Home Secretary, to examine and report on the government’s response to his previous report (Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons, published in January 2016), and what impact this has had in practice. The report looked in detail at healthcare, caseworking, safer detention, oversight and staff culture, and alternatives to detention. The report also includes a list of recommendations to the Home Office to further improve the welfare of vulnerable persons in immigration removal centres.


"Stephen Shaw has reiterated concerns about the length of time people are spending in detention, and the numbers of vulnerable people who are still being detained despite safeguards designed to prevent this. Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the report with a number of commitments including to a pilot of alternatives to detention for vulnerable women, and an internal review looking at the question of a time limit on immigration detention, which is so desperately needed. It will now be crucial that scrutiny of the system of detention is ongoing and that these commitments lead to meaningful reforms."

Harriet Ballance, Acting Director of AVID


The Home Affairs Select Committee

Inquiry into Immigration Detention

In September 2017, the Committee held an evidence session inquiring into the running of Brook House Immigration Removal Centre. The BBC Panorama investigation highlighted serious issues at Brook House, including: Endemic drug-taking (both Spice and cannabis); under-staffing; allegations of assault, racial abuse and mocking of detainees by staff employed by private operators; cases of self-harm and attempted suicide amongst detainees; failure to report incidents of C&R (control and restraint) or refusal to eat. 

As these issues appear to affect the immigration detention estate more widely, the Committee decided to broaden the inquiry to assess the extent to which they are systemic and the steps that could be taken to address them. The Inquiry was announced on Friday 16 March 2018 and oral evidence is ongoing. The final report has yet to be published. 


The Joint Committee on Human Rights

Inquiry into the Detention of the Windrush Generation

It came to light through reporting in the Guardian (known as the Windrush scandal) that children of the Windrush generation, who had leave to remain in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 but no formal British citizenship, had been prevented from working, renting, accessing NHS treatment, and a yet unknown number had been detained and deported to countries in the Carribean. Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights only permits an interference with the right to liberty in specific circumstances. As such the JCHR began an inquiry into the detention of Windrush generation on 16th May 2018.

The Committee, made up of MPs and Peers Chaired by Harriet Harman MP, took evidence in person from Ms Paulette Wilson and Mr Anthony Bryan. Both persons were detained wrongfully, despite the fact that they had leave to remain in the UK, having been settled in the UK since childhood. The committee examined their Home Office cases files, which contained evidence that showed that the Home Office had no right to detain them. The Home Office provided ‘no credible explanation’ as to why two children of the Windrush generation, were wrongfully locked up twice, depriving them of their human right to liberty, according to a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.


Inquiry into Immigration Detention

On 24th July 2018, The JCHR launched an inquiry into immigration detention. They are currently calling for evidence on the areas in which the UK’s immigration detention system fails to comply with human rights and fails to protect against arbitrary detention. They are also seeking to understand whether there are effective mechanisms to challenge immigration detention. The deadline for submissions is 7 September 2018.

  • JCHR, Oral Evidence from Garden Court Chambers, Duncan Lewis and co, Doughty Street Chambers, November 2018
  • JCHR, Oral Evidence from Freed Voices, November 2018