Deporting EU rough sleepers is “unlawful”, says High Court

Deporting EU rough sleepers is “unlawful”, says High Court

The Home Office has been found to have acted unlawfully after it deported EU citizens sleeping rough on Britain’s streets.

The High Court said the measure was “discriminatory” and broke freedom of movement rules.

The Home Office had argued that sleeping rough is an abuse of EU free movement rights, but indicated that it would not appeal the decision.

Campaigners Public Interest Law Unit (PILU) and North East London Migrant Action (NELMA) brought the case against the Government on behalf of two Polish men and a Latvian.

Mr Justice Lang said: “There has been a significant increase in rough sleepers of all nationalities.

“The policy discriminated unlawfully against EEA [European Economic Area] nationals and rough sleepers.”

He added that even offences such as begging, drinking, and being a nuisance did not warrant deportation.

A Nelma spokesman said: “In reality, many homeless people targeted by the Home Office have fallen on hard times and are working but unable to afford accommodation.

“The numbers of European nationals sleeping rough have been steadily increasing since 2010. But rather than making substantial or systematic attempts to provide solutions to homelessness through accommodation and employment support, local and national authorities have opted to add enforcement measures to austerity policies. We hope this decision will put an end to a social policy which used imprisonment and deportation as solutions to eradicate homelessness.”