Secretary of State for the Home Department v DD (Afghanistan)  EWCA Civ 1407 (10 December 2010) – Read judgment
It is a sometimes controversial aspect of immigration law that asylum seekers facing a real risk of persecution will nevertheless be denied the protection of the Refugee Convention, through the application of Article 1F of that Convention. One of the bases for exclusion from protection is Article 1F(c), which applies where a person “has been guilty of acts contrary to the principles of the United Nations”. How does a court decide such cases?
The Court of Appeal has reversed the decision of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) in a case involving an Afghani asylum seeker. The AIT had ruled that Article 1F did not apply, and so DD was entitled to refugee status. The AIT’s conclusion was reached despite DD admitting a history of involvement with organisations engaged in violent activities against the Afghan Goverment and UN-mandated forces: Jamiat-e-Islami, the Taliban, and Hizb-e-Islami. The Home Secretary’s appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to the AIT for a limited reconsideration.
HM (Iraq) v The secretary of state for the home department  EWCA Civ 1322 – Read judgment
The Court of Appeal has overruled the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal’s decision to deport a 25-year-old Iraqi citizen who had lived in the UK since he was 12 and had recently been sent to prison for drug dealing, on the basis that it did not think carefully enough about his human rights to private and family life.
The decision – which is unusually concise and easy to follow – highlights the careful balancing exercise which an asylum and immigration tribunal must undertake in order to weigh up whether a person’s human rights to private and family life outweigh the public good of sending them back to their home country. In this case, although HM won his appeal, his case must now be reheard – for a third time – by an asylum tribunal.
RT (Zimbabwe) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1285 (18 November 2010) – Read judgment
The Court of Appeal has ruled that asylum seekers cannot be forced to lie about not holding political beliefs when returning to their home country. The potentially wide-ranging decision extends the protection arising from a recent Supreme Court decision which found that homosexuals could not be sent back to their home country if they would have to lie about their sexuality.
The case concerned four Zimbabwean asylum seekers. In previous asylum cases involving Zimbabwe, it had been assumed that it is legitimate to require applicants, in order to avoid persecution, to demonstrate loyalty to Zanu-PF, itself a persecutory regime. The men in this case did not hold strong political views, but did not support the Zanu-PF either. The question was whether it would breach their human rights to send them back if they would be forced to join the ruling party.
Updated 12/9/10 | PM, R (on the application of) v Hertfordshire County Council  EWHC 2056 (Admin) (04 August 2010) – Read judgment
Some people get to a certain age and stop counting. For them, the exposure of their true age to friends or colleagues might cause embarrassment. But for asylum seekers, proving their true age can alter the direction of their lives.
The recent High Court case of an Afghan asylum-seeker has highlighted the different, and often better, treatment which child asylum seekers received compared to their adult equivalents. It has also brought into focus the importance of a court’s initial, and often difficult, assessment of an asylum-seeker’s age, and the duty on local authorities to make up their own minds.
TM (Zimbabwe) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department EWCA Civ 916 – Read judgment
Is it reasonable to expect an asylum seeker on their return to their home country to lie about their political beliefs and thereby avoid persecution? This question was recently addressed by the Court of Appeal in light of a potentially wide-ranging decision of the Supreme Court relating to gay refugees.
Last month the Supreme Court held in HJ (Iran ) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 31 that to compel a homosexual person to pretend that their sexuality does not exist is to deny him his fundamental right to be who he is (see our post). When an applicant applies for asylum on the ground of a well-founded fear of persecution because he is gay, if the tribunal concludes that a material reason for his living discreetly on his return would be a fear of the persecution which would follow if he were to live openly as a gay man, then his application should be accepted [para 82].
R (on the application of ZO (Somalia) and others) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant)  UKSC 36 – Read judgment
The Supreme Court has ruled that the UK must provide minimum standards to asylum seekers, including the right to work, whether or not their first asylum application has failed. Asylum seekers will now be able to work if they have been waiting for over a year for a decision.
The ruling is the latest in a line of court defeats for the Government on its asylum policy, including the recent High Court ruling that part of the fast-track deportation system is unlawful, as well as the Supreme Court’s rejection of the policy of sending gay asylum seekers back to countries where they may face persecution for their sexuality.
HJ (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 31 (07 July 2010) – Read Judgment
The Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s “Anne Frank” policy of sending back gay refugees to their home countries where they feared persecution is unlawful as it breached their human rights..
HJ and HT are both homosexual men and had been persecuted in their home countries – Iran and Cameroon respectively – after their sexual orientation had been discovered.
The court criticised the controversial policy, practised since 2006, of telling gay asylum seekers who feared prosecution in their home countries to hide their sexuality upon their return, rather than granting them asylum. In the Court of Appeal the men’s barrister had referred to this as an “Anne Frank” policy, in that, like Anne Frank, the men would be safe if they hid from authorities but not if they didn’t.
The Supreme Court has ruled against a man who challenged his immigration decision to remove him to the Palestinian National Authority on the basis that he could not go back as he would not be allowed back in to the place of his birth.
The challenge was based on the contention that the “country” or the “territory” stated in the notice of the decision was not one that satisfied the requirements of the 1971 Immigration Act 1971, and therefore the decision was unlawful under Section 82 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (“the 2002 Act”)
The appellant, who was born in Gaza in 1985, had been living in Libya since the age of 5. In 2007 he entered the UK clandestinely in a lorry, and subsequently claimed asylum. This was rejected by the Secretary of State. His appeal of this decision was dismissed by the Immigration judge. She also dismissed this appeal insofar as it was based on the contention that the original immigration decision to remove him was “not in accordance with the law”.
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