The High Court has ruled that West Sussex Council does not have to
automatically provide financial support to a group of people from
Diego Garcia or any future arrivals from the island,
writes Amy Taylor.
The judge found that there is no legal obligation for the
council to financially support UK passport holders when they arrive
at Gatwick airport unless an assessment finds they are unable to
He threw out the Diego Garcians’s case and their application
for judicial review finding that the council had acted correctly in
dealing with the islanders on an individual basis and by not
providing support to them as a group.
The 45 Diego Garcians arrived earlier this month. A further 45
are expected to arrive next week and a further 3,000 are waiting in
the wings to come over.
The High Court had previously ordered the council to provide
support and accommodation to about 100 people from the Indian Ocean
island who had already come to the UK. The council was forced to
spend £500,000 of its social services budget doing so.
The islanders hold British passports, which they were given in
the 1970s after their island was taken over for military use and
the inhabitants moved to Mauritius, but can only claim state
benefits once they have been in the UK for six months meaning the
local authority had to take responsibility for their care.
A council spokesperson said that this group was now eligible for
benefits so the judgment would not affect them but that the council
would continue to try to get reimbursed for their care by the