Windrush Compensation Claims

What would you do if you faced the risk of losing your job, your home and your right to work and live in the UK?

Sadly, this is the devastating reality faced by the thousands of people wrongly caught up in the Windrush scandal – because of a series of errors made by the Home Office.

If you’re one of the people who endured unimaginable distress because of Government failures, you may now be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we are acting on behalf of a wide demographic of people affected by this situation and are fielding weekly enquiries from many others.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was formally announced by the Government on 3 April 2019. Our specialist solicitors continue to closely monitor developments relating to this initiative and are determined to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation.

Now that we are in a position to submit claims for damages, we would urge anyone affected to come forward and explain their situation – so we can help them understand their rights and finally deliver access to the justice they deserve.

What is the Windrush scandal?

In 2012, the Home Office sought to cut down on illegal immigration in the UK and introduced a policy which made it harder for illegal immigrants to seek permanent residency.

This meant anyone without the relevant documentation to remain in the UK would face deportation unless they could prove their credentials.

It was a move which altered the legal status of thousands of people almost overnight, particularly those who were invited to the UK from Commonwealth countries between 1948 and 1971 to help rebuild Britain after World War II – and who subsequently became known as the ‘Windrush generation’.

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens were granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK if they already lived in the country. However, the Home Office did not keep a record of everyone who was granted permission to do so.

Despite being encouraged to settle in Britain by the Government – and legally living in the UK for decades – many people who arrived from Commonwealth countries were wrongly classed as illegal immigrants because of the 2012 change to immigration laws.

This meant that when the Home Office embarked on its so-called “hostile environment” policy, designed to make staying in the UK more difficult, some Commonwealth immigrants had their Human Rights infringed or were wrongly deported.

This happened because they did not have the formal paperwork needed to confirm their residency status – even though they’d been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

As anyone who was caught up in the Windrush scandal will know, these problems were compounded by a Home Office decision (taken in 2010) to destroy their landing cards – often the only record of their immigration status.

In line with the new hard-hitting policy; employers, NHS staff and landlords had to obtain evidence of a person’s citizenship or immigration status in order for them to access to services. Some of those who could not do so were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants – and were denied healthcare treatments, lost their jobs or were evicted from their homes. Many others were wrongly detained and deported.

Who was affected?

Not everyone who came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation has been caught up in the Windrush scandal.

It was those who did not apply for a passport or formalise their residency status, or those who could not produce the documentation to prove it, who were the hardest hit.

Unfortunately, this affected thousands of people and families, including some who came to the UK as children on their parents’ passports between 1948 and 1971.

When the rules changed in 2012, they were now adults themselves and – despite paying UK taxes their entire adult lives – their Human Rights were denied or they were detained or deported.

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What damage was done?

The most common issues suffered by people caught up in the Windrush scandal includes:

  • Being wrongfully deported from the UK
  • Being wrongful detained
  • Travel restrictions and being prevented from returning to the UK
  • Loss of the right to work and income and benefits
  • Unexpected costs – immigration status fees & legal advice etc
  • Difficulty accessing bank accounts and driving licences etc
  • Emotional distress – worry and anxiety and family separation
  • Difficulty accessing public services

All of this happened simply because the right documentation could not be provided, not because any laws had been broken.

If you or someone you know has been affected by circumstances similar to those outlined above, it is now possible to claim compensation for the pain and suffering experienced.

Can I get compensation if I’ve been affected?

Having apologised for the Windrush scandal, the Government formally announced its compensation scheme on 3 April 2019.

in place for any Commonwealth citizen who faced difficulties establishing their residency status under the immigration system.

According to a Home Office statement issued in December 2018, the Government is determined to “right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation” and they acknowledge that a fair and effective compensation scheme is a key part of that.

The exact framework laid out in April 2019 shows that non-financial remedies – such as an apology or re-instatement of employment – are available, alongside compensation settlements.

Even though the scheme is still in its infancy, individual payments can be made to people who are in urgent need or if they are an exceptional case.

Who is eligible to apply to the Windrush scheme?

In short, anyone who incurred loss or damage as a result of the Windrush scandal should be able to make a claim.

The compensation scheme is open to anyone from any nationality who has the right to live or work in the UK without any restrictions or is now a British Citizen, and arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988.

It is also open to anyone from a Commonwealth country who arrived and settled in the UK before 1973. Certain children and grandchildren of those arriving before 1973 and some close family members may also be eligible to apply, where there has been a significant impact on their life or evidence of certain direct financial costs.

It is not necessary to have gone through the Task Force application process to make a claim.

Those who are administering the Scheme will not share a claimant’s information with Immigration Enforcement, even if the case is unsuccessful.

The estates or relatives of those who are now deceased but who would have otherwise been eligible to claim compensation, may be able to apply.

For more details about how to make a claim, get in touch and arrange a free initial consultation with a specialist solicitor.

What could you claim compensation for?

  • Unlawful detention or removal from UK.
  • Denial of exit or re-entry to UK.
  • Loss of income.
  • Loss of benefits.
  • Denial of access to public, private or other services.
  • Any fees paid to secure immigration status – connected to Home Office application.
  • Supplementary items – fees for copies of official documents or the certification of documents.
  • Legal costs – paid to secure immigration status (subject to a cap).
  • Recompense for impact on normal daily life.

How will compensation payments be calculated?

Since the scheme was formally announced in April 2019, a tariff has been set up by the Government to calculate the compensation levels for losses which cannot be qualified precisely – such as the impact on a person’s normal daily life.

The amounts payable are set out in a series of “Annexes” and a basic summary of potential settlement figures is outlined below.

Deportation: £1,000 to £10,000 depending on the type of deportation

Detention: An hourly rate of £500 an hour for the first three hours following a minimum period of 30 minutes in detention. This reduces to £300 and £100 thereafter for the first 24 hours, and then after 24 hours, £500 per day for the next 30 days and £300 per day for the next 60 days, with awards of £100 per day thereafter.

For example, a person detained for 31 days and 30 mins would receive £19,800. A person detained for a year (365 days and 30 mins) would receive £65,200.

Loss of earnings: There are two types of awards under the Scheme – actual loss of earnings (which could be considerable) and a general award up to 12 months.

Homelessness: £250 per month – up to a maximum award of £25,000

Impact on life: £250 to £10,000-plus – top awards will be paid for “Profound impacts on a claimant’s life which are likely to be irreversible”.

Discretionary award: An unspecified award that does not come under the awards already described in the Scheme.

Denial of access to…

Child benefit: £1,264

Child tax credit: £2,500

Working tax credit: £1,100

Housing services: £1,000

NHS Healthcare: £500 – with reimbursement of certain private healthcare fees

Higher education: £500 – including potentially international student fees

Banking services: £200 – with potential reimbursement of losses arising

The figures outlined above should not be taken as legal advice – always speak to specialist solicitor before making a claim.

What is the time limit to make a claim?

All claims must be submitted on or before the 2nd April 2021 – although this may be extended in exceptional circumstances.

Whilst two years may sound like a long time, claims of this nature are complex and Hudgell Solicitors would recommend seeking legal advice as soon as possible.

Our ‘No win, no fee’ representation

At Hudgell Solicitors, we fund all Windrush compensation claims on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis – allowing innocent victims to pursue a case without financial risks.

Provide honest and accurate information to help us try to win the case and claimants will only pay an agreed percentage of any damages received.

The initial consultation is free and victims don’t have to pursue a case afterwards. However, we find that speaking usually allows people to gather all the information needed to make an informed decision.

Please get in touch for confidential and expert advice from a solicitor who specialises in Windrush claims.