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Suella Braverman acted unlawfully in abandoning Windrush report recommendations

Today, the High Court ruled that Suella Braverman, as Home Secretary, acted unlawfully when she abandoned key recommendations from the Williams Review, which was commissioned to learn the lessons after the Windrush Scandal.

Empire Windrush

The High Court ruled that Suella Braverman, as Home Secretary, acted unlawfully when she abandoned key recommendations from the Williams Review, which was commissioned to learn the lessons after the Windrush Scandal.

This announcement comes just ahead of Windrush Day on 22nd June 2024. In the judge’s decision released this morning, Mrs Justice Williams said: “… the Windrush Scandal involved a serious and sustained wrong.”

Black Equity Organisation and Unison intervened in the judicial review, which was brought by Mr Donald, a Windrush Scandal survivor, it was argued that:

  • Ms Braverman’s decision failed to consider potential discriminatory impact on Windrush victims and breached the Public Sector Equality Duty;
  • That it amounted to indirect discrimination against the Windrush generation; and
  • It failed to heed a legitimate expectation that consultation would take place to discuss changes to implement the recommendations.

BEO intervened in light of the harm caused by the hostile environment and its ongoing impact on Black communities.

The Court found in relation to two of three dropped recommendations:

  • The appointment of a commissioner responsible for “speaking up for migrants and those affected by the system directly or indirectly”
  • A review of the powers of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

The judge explicitly stated that the former Secretary of State’s decision to abandon these recommendations indirectly discriminated against Windrush victims.

The judge did not find that the decision to abandon the recommended reconciliation events was unlawful. However, the judge did recognise and acknowledge the harm caused by not proceeding with these important events.

Kehinde Adeogun, Director of Legal Services and Policy at Black Equity Organisation said: “BEO welcomes today’s judgment as it confirms that we have a duty to challenge government decisions where racism and inequity is evident. Suella Braverman’s decision to abandon these recommendations was unlawful and the Court today has substantiated this.

We are especially pleased that Mrs Justice Williams recognised the discrimination of the Windrush generation in her judgment and referenced the evidence by our witnesses, including the expert report by Frances Webber, former Vice Chair of the Institute of Race Relations, as to the institutional racism that was at the centre of decisions made by the Home Office and the former Home Secretary. We will continue to hold public institutions to account to ensure that institutional racism is eradicated from our society.”

Timi Okuwa, CEO of Black Equity Organisation said: BEO’s mission is to continue to ensure that the voices of Windrush victims are not continually ignored and dismissed. With Windrush Day on Saturday, we remember and stand with all Windrush Scandal victims, survivors and their descendants, as well as the Windrush campaigners and activists who have fought for justice for eight years. This judgment honours the voices of Windrush victims and the justification for continuing to hold governments to account.

Posted: June 19, 2024