Skip to main content

European Court of Human Rights

Volume 507: debated on Wednesday 17 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to (a) his policy and (b) the UK Border Agency's practice on the detention of children following the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on 19 January 2010 regarding detention. (320127)

In January 2010 the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a case of immigration detention in Belgium involving a mother and her children. The court ruling was not concerned with the policy on detention as such but the conditions in which the children were detained. In particular, the fact that they were held in a closed transit centre, which was not designed to house children and was not appropriate for housing children. As a consequence of this the court ruled that their detention was unlawful. The mother's detention was deemed lawful.

The UK Border Agency has 11 immigration removal centres, three of which are designed to meet the needs of families with children. We do not therefore consider that the ruling impacts on the UK's policy of detaining families with their children as a last resort to enforce their departure from the UK where they have no basis of stay and have failed to leave the country voluntarily.