Windrush generation man treated ‘shamefully’ – judges

The man, who came to the UK in 1960 when the three, as part of the Windrush generation, was “disgracefully treated” because he was unable to obtain “official documents about his immigration status”, according to senior judges.

Three Court of Appeal judges said in their ruling on Wednesday in the final stages of the nationality dispute that Hubert Howard, who was born in Jamaica and died in the UK aged 62 in 2019, faced “serious problems” because of being subjected to ” hostile environment.”

Lord Justice Underhill, Lord Justice Baker and Lady Justice Elizabeth Lang said that Mr Howard’s family was compensated under the Windrush Compensation Scheme for “the way he was treated”.

“He came to this country at the age of three with his mother in November 1960,” Lord Justice Underhill said.

“He lived here until his death on November 12, 2019.

“During this whole period he had… the right to reside in the United Kingdom, most recently on the basis that he had permission to remain in perpetuity; and he did not need any individual permission to do so.

“So he was a member of the so-called Windrush Generation.

Close

Jamaican immigrants are welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after ex-HMTS Empire Windrush landed them at Tilbury (Archive/PA)

The judge added: “Like many members of the Windrush generation, Mr. Howard faced serious problems because of the fact that he was placed in the so-called “hostile environment” due to the inability to obtain official documents about his immigration status.”

He said “in all seriousness” that in 2012, Mr. Howard lost his permanent job as a watchman after being screened by immigration officials.

Mr Howard applied for naturalization as a British citizen in 2018.

The Home Office ministers rejected his application on the grounds that Mr. Howard did not meet the statutory “requirement of good standing”.

In 2021, a High Court judge said that the rejection of Mr Howard’s application for naturalization was illegal.

But the judges on appeal overturned the ruling on Wednesday after a hearing at the Court of Appeal in London and upheld the Home Office’s claim.

Lord Justice Underhill stated that the decision on appeal “does not in any way undermine the admission that Mr Howard was treated ignominiously”.

Lord Justice Baker and Lady Justice Lang agreed.

The Home Office letter explained that Mr. Howard’s application was denied because he did not meet the “requirements of good standing” and was “convicted of a number of criminal offenses” and received a 12-month suspended prison sentence for assault.

The appellate judges called all but one of the offenses “minor”.

They said the assault conviction came in 2018 when Mr Howard, who was seriously ill, got mad at the doctor’s secretary, tried to snatch her paperwork and “in doing so” “grabbed her finger.”

In April 2019, Mr Howard opened a case challenging the denial of his application, arguing that it conflicted with promises made by then Home Secretary Amber Rudd in an April 2018 House of Commons statement regarding the treatment of members of the Windrush generation.

Lawyers representing the Home Office argued that Judge Swift, the High Court judge who first considered Mr Howard’s recusal, concluded that the Home Secretary had no reasonable grounds to uphold the good character of the Windrush generation, which was wrong in law.

The appellate judges, who declared that Mr. Howard’s interests were represented after his death by his daughter, ruled in their favour.

They said the denial was reviewed by the Home Office in October 2019 and Mr Howard’s application was granted “by way of exception.”

The appellate judges said Mr Howard, who had suffered from leukemia for several years, died less than a month later.

They said the ministers agreed that neither the possible granting of citizenship to Mr. Howard nor his death made the lawsuit related to the original decision academic.