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Detaining torture survivors: the history of a policy facing legal challenge
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An article published by Right to Remain gives an overview of the situation regarding the detention of torture survivors in the run-up to a forthcoming judicial review of the government's current 'Adults at Risk' policy, through which the government introduced in 2016 a more restrictive definition of torture than that previously used. The judicial review is based on legal challenges brought by Medical Justice, Duncan Lewis solicitors and Bhatt Murphy solicitors.

"In 2001, Parliament introduced the Detention Centre Rules for the “regulation and management” of immigration detention centres. Rules 34 and 35 introduced mechanisms to try and ensure that people with independent evidence of torture were not detained, except in very exceptional circumstances.

These rules stipulate that within 24 hours of entering a detention centre, the person must have a medical examination and that detention centre doctors must report to the Home Office any concerns that the person has experienced torture.


The adults at risk policy was brought into force on 12 September 2016, and contains the restrictive definition of torture.


This meant that from 12 September, Rule 35 reports which are intended to prevent people who had experienced torture from being detained, would not succeed if the person could not provide independent evidence of having being tortured by state actors (or with their consent/acquiescence)." (emphasis in original)

See: Defining torture, and detaining survivors (Right to Remain, link)

Documentation: UK government: Detention centre rules 2001 (pdf) and Immigration Act 2016: Guidance on adults at risk in immigration detention (August 2016, pdf)

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