A high court challenge to Amber Rudd’s decision to close the Dubs scheme for lone child refugees after resettling only 350 from Europe is to be heard in early May.
Mr Justice Holman pencilled in 2-4 May for a full hearing of the case, saying he was “very, very determined” the case should move forward as fast as it reasonably could.
“There is a huge political dimension to this. It is extremely important to establish as soon as reasonably practical whether the number specified is or is not lawful,” he told a preliminary hearing on Friday.
The legal challenge, which is being brought by the charity Help Refugees, claims that the consultation process with local authorities that led to the 350 cap on the scheme was “fundamentally flawed”.
The consultation process to establish a specified number of vulnerable lone refugee children to be brought to Britain under the scheme was required by the Dubs amendment to the 2016 Immigration Act last May. It was widely assumed at the time that up to 3,000 children might be helped.
The amendment was named after its sponsor, the Labour peer Alf Dubs, who was in court for the directions hearing on Friday.
Rosa Curling, of the law firm Leigh Day, which is representing Help Refugees, said there had been no real consultation with the local authorities before the “woefully low” figure of 350 was announced.
“Our legal challenge holds the government to account on this critical issue of how many unaccompanied refugee children…