Ealing Law Centre has reached a milestone in its development with its first High Court judgment. This judgment is of significance to all those representing destitute victims of domestic violence.
The case of T was heard in the High Court on 10 July 2014 and was an attempt to clarify the immigrations rules for those who are accepted as victims of domestic violence and SEEK access to public funds through the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC).
Unfortunately the application for judicial review was dismissed. The Law Centre will be making an application for permission to the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Justice Dingemans handed down judgment yesterday morning in a challenge to the domestic violence rule incorporated in Section DVILR of Appendix FM. The challenge was by a spouse of a refugee who has fled and was accepted to have been a victim of domestic violence, so sought access to public funds through the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC).
The Home Office determined that she could not be considered under the relevant domestic violence immigration rule due to her husband not having settled status at the date she secured leave to enter the United Kingdom.
Though expressing concern that there were some difficulties with the drafting of this part of the Rules, Mr Justice Dingemans held that the relevant rule was to be read as requiring a victim of domestic violence to have been either married to a British citizen or a settled person at the date of the last grant of leave to enter or remain and therefore the Rules did not provide the Secretary of State with a discretion to consider persons such as post-flight spouses of refugees despite the strong likelihood that the spouse would ultimately secure settlement, as occurred in this matter.
Commenting on the case, the Law Centre's Ms Valdez said, ‘This is an important decision for extremely vulnerable victims of domestic violence. It has a wider impact on women’s refuges and other organisations providing support for victims of domestic abuse. We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of the application but will be seeking permission to appeal.’