Migrants' Rights Network

Permission granted for MRN’s legal challenge

The High Court has today granted MRN permission to challenge the data-sharing agreement between the Home Office, Department of Health and NHS Digital.

MRN is delighted at the decision and looks forward to taking the legal challenge forward, helping to protect the right of all patients to confidentiality. We need a health system that everyone can trust, regardless of their immigration status – not one that further entrenches the government’s ‘hostile environment’.

We are extremely grateful to our solicitor, Lara ten Caten of Liberty, and our barristers Guy Vassall-Adams QC, Sarah Hannett and Aidan Wills of Matrix Chambers for their exceptional legal advice and representation. Without the many hours of hard work they have undertaken on a pro-bono basis, we could not have reached this point.

The case will now go to a full hearing and the judge has recommended this take place as soon as possible. Again, this is great news – it has taken a while to get to this point, but we hope our day in court will allow us to show how this agreement undermines the fundamental values of the NHS.

We were also pleased that the judge ordered a cost cap of £15,000. Thank you to everyone who has helped us to raise £11,000 towards this so far.

We still need your help to raise the missing £4,000 however – so please do consider donating to our continued crowdfunding campaign.

Together we can make sure this unethical and inhumane agreement is ended once and for all.

For more details please contact the Migrants’ Rights Network on 020 8123 6021 / 07534 488696/ 020 7424 7386


  1. The Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) is a policy and advocacy organisation that is working for the rights of all migrants in the UK. We believe in a rights-based approach to migration policies, and work with migrant and refugee communities to amplify their voices on issues that affect them.
  2. NHS Digital (previously the Health and Social Care Information Centre) provides national information, data and IT systems for health and care services.
  3. Under the memorandum of understanding, the Home Office may request ‘non-clinical’ information held by NHS Digital. This includes forename, middle names, surname, date of birth, gender, last known address, and contact details of their primary care service.
  4. Data can be requested when the Home Office believe someone is in the UK without permission and disclosure by NHS Digital is a matter of public interest. The Home Office must also have tried to find the patient itself and failed in order for NHS Digital to share patient details.







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Elspeth Macdonald


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