A claimant with Bhatt Murphy solicitors successfully challenged an immigration check earlier this month on discrimination grounds because she was stopped and questioned on the basis of her accent.
“The Home Office has recently settled a discrimination claim brought by a British woman of Croatian descent who was represented by Bhatt Murphy solicitors. The claimant was stopped and surrounded in South London by Metropolitan police officers during a ‘spot-check’ and threatened with arrest. She was then referred to a Home Office immigration officer for an immigration check which confirmed her to be British. It was the Claimant’s case that the only explanation for her prolonged stop was that she did not have a British accent, which amounted to discrimination and harassment. The claim against the Home Office was settled in return for the payment of damages and without an admission of liability. The claim against the Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis is ongoing. This case illustrates that individuals who are victims of unlawful stops and questioning by either immigration officers or police officers can take legal action to enforce their rights. Individuals who think that they may have been unlawfully targeted should seek legal advice in respect of any remedies that may be available to them.”
The full document give details about the difference between police and immigration officers duties in an immigration check, and also states that any check should NOT be made “purely on race, nationality or accent” grounds as “this may amount to either direct discrimination or harassment contrary to the Equality Act”: