Judge critical over mother's deportation

A judge has criticised the Home Office after a mother was separated from her two Nottingham children by being deported to her native Africa.

Mr Justice Stadlen said putting the woman, who has HIV, on the flight to Malawi in November 2010 was premature.

He told the High Court the fact that officials did not wait for advice from the Office of the Children's Champion (OCC) was irrational.

The woman, 40, whose children are 17 and 15, arrived in the UK in 2004.

The mother, who claimed she was abused by her partner in Malawi, had made several applications to stay in the UK.

They were turned down after immigration officials doubted the closeness of her relationship with her children.

'Deep upset'

Mr Justice Stadlen said that was "strongly denied" by all members of the family.

The children said they were "harmoniously and closely unified" to their mother.

Her attempts to stay in the country were dismissed by a tribunal and the High Court.

The OCC initially approved of the deportation but, prior to the mother's removal, was asked to urgently look again at the case.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) did not wait for the OCC's response before flying her out of the country.

Mr Justice Stadlen said deportation went ahead without consideration of "powerful evidence of the close ties felt to the mother by both children and the deep upset felt by them at the fact and prospect of being separated from their mother".

The judge ruled that the decision to put her on the flight was irrational.

"It should in my view have been obvious to the UKBA that there was a very real prospect that, in the light of that material, the OCC might change its advice and oppose the mother's removal," he said.

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