|Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) Supreme Court Judgement
After a year of waiting the Supreme Court on Wednesday 22nd February, handed down its decision on the legality of the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) of £18,600.
A brief summary of the findings of the Court’s unanimous decision are set out below:
- The Court breaks down the issues into three heads (para 79):
i. The principle of a minimum income requirement (para 80 -87)
ii. The treatment in the rules and instructions of children; (para 88 – 92)
iii. The treatment in the rules and the instructions of alternative sources of funding. (para 93- 101)
- The Court agrees with both the Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court that there is no issue in respect of discrimination under article 14 (para 78).
- The Court found our challenge to the existence of a MIR in principle and the argument that there is no rational connection between the Secretary of State’s legitimate aim and the MIR, must fail. The Court states that the Secretary of State is pursuing a legitimate aim and the MIR is part of an overall strategy aimed at reducing net migration. The Court rejects the view that there is no rational connection between the aim and the particular income threshold chosen. This aim is distinguished from Quilla, as there was no immigration dimension unlike this case (para 82).
- The Court did accept our argument that the MIR and the instructions fail unlawfully to give effect to the duty of the Secretary of State under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (para 109). This is considered in detail at paras 88 to 92.
- The Court also found the current instructions to the MIR are inadequate and has invited the Secretary of State to put forward amendments to the current instructions to the MIR in accordance with the law as set out by the Court in their decision (para 110).
- In terms of alternative funding, namely prospective earnings of the foreign partner or guarantees of third party support (para 93), the Court finds that it is open to the Secretary of State to indicate criteria by which reliability of such sources may be judged, but not to exclude them altogether (para 100).
- The Secretary of State has been invited to revise the rules themselves rather than the instructions to entry clearance officers, to indicate the circumstances in which alternative sources of funding should or might be taken into account.
There is now some light at the end of the tunnel to those families that have been separated by allowing alternative sources of income and even more so if there are children involved.
We look forward to hearing from the Secretary of State as to what she proposes to do in light of the decision.
Source: Miss Rukeya Begum - Partner/Solicitor - J. Wilson Solicitors
Supreme Court Summary: http://tiny.cc/4jyejy -
Full judgment: http://tiny.cc/cmyejy
EDM 960: 1.2 Billion People Worldwide Remain Without Electricity
That this House is concerned that an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide remain without electricity; acknowledges that in many developing countries this compounds the problems of disease, poor education and illegal migration; regrets that the UN target for universal access to energy by 2030 will be missed and that energy poverty is still growing in parts of Africa; understands that reliable, safe and affordable baseload energy is essential to help developing countries to grow their economies and become future trading partners; accepts that they will need to use all available resources, including coal and gas, alongside renewables, to meet their future energy needs; recalls that consequently the International Energy Agency has forecast that the amount of electricity generated by fossil fuels in non-OECD countries will inevitably increase; recognises that the latest technologies can substantially reduce emissions and carbon capture can remove over 90 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions playing a vital role in tackling climate change and meeting the Paris Agreement targets whilst still allowing developing nations to access cheap and reliable power essential to lift millions out of energy poverty; notes there is a risk that developing nations may choose to deploy older, more polluting technology, due to financing restrictions on new fossil fuel plants; and calls upon the Government to prioritise international aid to enable developing nations to choose the latest technology when utilising their fossil fuel resources, and to encourage further research to make it increasingly attractive, in addition to supporting new renewables projects.
Primary sponsor: Sharma, Virendra
House of Commons: 21/02/2017, http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/960
Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 960
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Angela Paterson – Out of the Frying Pan and Into Several Fires
Angela was born on 13th July 1966 in Jamaica. A number of years ago she was attacked in Kingston when some acid was thrown in her face. This blinded her left eye. She reported the attack to the police, and the police told a gang that she was an informer. She was forced to leave her children and go into hiding because of the threats to her life being made by the gang. Even whilst in hiding the gang found her and shot her, fortunately only wounding her in her leg, however her nephew was killed. Her family managed to save enough money for her to fly to England. She arrived at Heathrow on 9th February 2002, but the Immigration Service stated that she could not stay and requested that she return in three days to go back to Jamaica. She had the choice of returning to be killed or staying in England as an illegal immigrant and that Angela chose to do.
It was in 2005 that Angela was attacked in Birmingham. She was struck a number of times in the face with a bottle. The police, who witnessed the attack, released the attacker, but sent Angela to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. This started a long, hard fight to ensure she would not be returned to Jamaica where she had been blinded and shot by a gang that were still threatening her life. During her time in UK three of her close Jamaican relatives had been killed. After each killing a message had been sent that Angela would be next.
As the fight to save her progressed she was taken to Heathrow airport about seven times. On 1st and 2nd of August 2005 the Immigration people tried to remove her but on both occasions the flight crew, supported by a doctor, refused to take her on board the aircraft because her face was bleeding badly. On 10th October, she was again taken to Heathrow airport for removal. This time, when she was taken onto the aircraft, two security guards assaulted her. This left her badly bruised and in considerable pain. Only the intervention of the flight crew stopped the beating, and they again refused to transport her. On each occasion, she was returned to Yarl's Wood IRC. Each time she was taken back to detention her solicitors/supporters fought very, very hard to stop her threatened deportation.
Finally, after many hardships she was given Indefinite Leave to Remain and was provided with two-roomed accommodation in a semi-detached house. This was the first home of her own in her life and she was very proud of it, spending every spare penny painting, decorating and furnishing it.
Unfortunately, a trio of African men took a dislike to Angela. Whenever they saw her in town they verbally, and sometimes physically abused her. The threats were to blind her one good eye, rape or even kill her. She was terrified of these people and went to the police on more than one occasion asking for help. On each occasion the police refuse to help! On one visit the police told her that they could do nothing until these people drew blood.
This particular police force have a history of refusing to help people in trouble, resulting in cases of murder, suicide and assault.
When a supporter contacted the police in an effort to get help they lied and said that Angela had never contacted them. Because of this the same supporter wrote to the Chief Constable requesting help before she defended herself and was accused of assault. Contact was also made with her Member of Parliament, who wrote to the police on Angela’s behalf. The police merely acknowledged receipt of the letter but did not take the actions requested.
In November 2011 Angela was physically attacked and did indeed defend herself. She was charged with attempted murder, later reduced to GBH.
The police provided a duty solicitor (a specialist in landlord and tenant law).
At her trial the police introduced altered versions of interview notes, corrected after Angela had the courage to object to the judge (he was visibly upset that she had spoken out).
Her solicitor admitted that he had forgotten to send the injured persons police record to the court by the due date. He had a number of aliases and convictions for drugs and violence, but this was kept from the jury.
Her solicitors refused to instruct a London Barrister who had agreed to defend her and instead introduced an in-house advocate to her five minutes before the trial started. It has since been discovered that her barrister lied in his attendance notes to the court.
A complaint was sent to her solicitors, but it was ignored, it has now been sent to the Legal Ombudsman.
An observer who sat through the three-day court case, witnessed the racist attitude of the judge. He told the jury that the attack was recorded on CCTV but he did not have time for it to be shown to the court. What the judge didn’t tell the jury and probably his real reason for not showing it, a 17 second segment was missing. Only by viewing an unadulterated copy can we be sure, by checking the time and Angela's position in the premises, that the missing section would show the exact time that she says she was attacked. At the end of his summing up he told the probation people to leave the court as he did not want any reports and as he had a medical appointment he imposed the 12 years immediately.
Following the trial Angela was and sent to HMP Drake Hall, where she has been a model prisoner. Having completed half of her sentence her release is imminent. Because of the length of her sentence the Home Office are intending to remove her back to Jamaica. She will still be in real danger of being killed and so we must do all we can, not only to save her life, but to give time to get her justice for the dreadful way she has been treated by the police, legal team and court.
Letters of Support and Solidarity to:
HMP Drake Hall
Source for this message: John Catley <email@example.com>
|Early Day Motion 957: Human Rights in Turkey
That this House remains gravely concerned at the continuing human rights abuses in Turkey following the Government’s agreement to sell fighter jets to Turkey in January 2017; urges the Turkish Government to end the internment of political opponents many of whom had condemned the coup attempt; is deeply concerned by the arrest of 1,478 democratically elected Kurdish politicians, including 78 mayors, since July 2016 and by the imprisonment of 12 Members of Parliament in Turkey who belong to a legitimate, democratic, political party, namely the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party); is further gravely concerned by the sentences of 142 years and 83 years respectively being sought by prosecutors for the HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag; and calls on the UK Government and the Council of Europe to make representations to the Turkish Government for the release of HDP MPs and other political prisoners, expressing deep concern about the suspension of provisions within the European Convention on Human Rights.
Sponsors: Sheppard, Tommy / McGarry, Natalie / Grant, Peter / Lucas, Caroline / Williams, Hywel / Nicolson, John
House of Commons: 2/.02/2017, http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/957
Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 957
To find your MP go here: https://www.writetothem.com/
Shortage of Judges Hits Immigration Tribunals
A rapid decline in the number of immigration tribunal judges could herald a crisis, despite the government’s insistence that there is sufficient capacity to deal with a growing backlog of work. Government figures show that in 2012 there were 347 fee-paid and 132 salaried judges in the first-tier tribunal. In 2016 there were only 242 fee-paid and 77 salaried. In the upper tribunal, a headcount of 40 fee-paid and 42 salaried judges in 2012 declined to 35 fee-paid and 42 salaried last year. Official figures show there were 62,903 outstanding cases in the first-tier tribunal at the end of the third quarter last year, up 20% on the same period in 2015. The age of a case at disposal was 48 weeks between July and September 2016, 15 weeks longer than the same period in 2015.
Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said the ministry was doing everything it can ‘to avoid unnecessary delay’ in the immigration and asylum tribunal. Responding to a parliamentary question by Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, Heald said the government has provided an additional 4,950 tribunal sitting days for this financial year to ensure current caseloads do not increase. ‘We are keeping performance under close review and are confident there is sufficient capacity to deal with the number of appeals we expect to receive,’ he added.
However, solicitor Christopher Cole, a member of the Law Society’s immigration law committee, highlighted problems experienced by practitioners over the past six to 12 months due to a lack of judges. Cole, partner and head of immigration at Rotherham firm Parker Rhodes Hickmotts, said: ‘The most common and frustrating issue has been the late adjourning of hearings due to a lack of judiciary. Delays in the first-tier tribunal (immigration and asylum chamber) have been pretty extreme over the last 18 months or so.’
Read more: Monidipa Fouzder, Law Gazette, http://tiny.cc/4vldjy
Home Office Agrees to Review Asylum Claims of Child Refugees in France
The Home Office has agreed to review asylum applications from child refugees in France after it emerged that several had returned to the site of the former Calais camp in a renewed effort to make the crossing to the UK. One teenager who arrived in London this weekend after hiding beneath a coach at the port told the Guardian that increasing numbers of children in French reception centres had lost hope of travelling to the UK by official means and were returning to the notorious site. Responding to questions about his case, and after calls from Theresa May to assess the number of children returning to the site of the camp, the Home Office said it had agreed with French authorities to “review any new information from children formerly resident in Calais”.
Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, http://tiny.cc/0mvcjy
SSHD’s Appeal Against Decision Not to Deport a "Foreign Criminal" - Dismissed
Quarey, R (on the application of) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 47 (08 February 2017)
This is an appeal from the decision of the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber, made on 1 October 2014. The Upper Tribunal "reluctantly" dismissed the Secretary of State's appeal from the decision of the First Tier Tribunal made on 29 October 2013. The appeal proceeds by way of permission of McFarlane LJ, given on 21 January 2016. The Respondent is a "foreign criminal" within the meaning of United Kingdom Borders Act 2007. The Grounds of Appeal by the Secretary of State are firstly that when assessing whether deportation was proportionate under Article 8 of the European Convention, the FTT failed to have regard to the Parliamentary source and the nature of the State's policy in favour of deportation, and secondly that the FTT failed to "engage meaningfully" with the threefold criteria, or facets of public interest, in deportation set out in authority, namely the risk of re-offending, the need for deterrence and public revulsion in relation to serious criminal activity. For those reasons, it is said the Upper Tribunal should have allowed the appeal.
These proceedings have taken too long. The FTT hearing was on 24 March 2014 and the Tribunal's decision was promulgated on 9 April. The Upper Tier Tribunal sat on 22 September and promulgated their determination on 1 October 2014. Thus far, the matter proceeded with reasonable speed. However, there was some delay before the Secretary of State sought to appeal the decision. A re-sealed and amended Appellant's Notice and Grounds was filed and served in February 2015. Permission was refused by Sullivan LJ on 10 April 2015. Following a fire affecting the Appellant's office, it was 10 June 2015 before a renewal application was filed. Permission to appeal and an extension of time was granted by MacFarlane LJ on 21 January 2016. A hearing date was set in late July but the Secretary of State applied to vacate the date and adjourn the hearing, an application then supported by the Respondent. It is by that route that the appeal comes to be heard two years and ten months after the FTT decision, and yet based on evidence from that time.
36. Neither the expression of their judgment by the FTT nor the review by an appellate court must be permitted to become a mere "tick-box" exercise. As Elias LJ observed in AM v SSHD, the decision of a tribunal is not to be flawed because when giving their reasons, the tribunal fails to repeat "mantra fashion" the separate identified ingredients of the public interest in deporting foreign criminals, or for that matter, fail to recite expressly the statutory origin of the policy of deportation, and that the statutory origin means that the policy is that of Parliament, not "merely" that of the Secretary of State. Nor is there an obligation on a Tribunal to recite all of the key passages from authority. In the end, with respect to him, it appeared to me that Mr Gullick would have been satisfied with nothing less than such an anxious parade of learning. That is in the end an unhelpful approach. The matter is one of substance, not appearance.
37. The approach has now been clearly set out by Lord Thomas in the passage in Hesham Ali cited above and I need not repeat it. I add only this: it will be wise for a tribunal, in a suitable case, to set out in their balancing exercise the degree of weight they ascribe to the various factors which arise, on the evidence, both for and against deportation. The decision must be transparent and clearly understood.
38. I turn to the substance here. It appears to me that the FTT were alive to the proper considerations. They referred directly to the statutory basis of the obligation on the Secretary of State to deport. They can be taken to understand that the statute, and thus the obligation, carry the authority of Parliament. They cited the critical passages from MF (Nigeria) set out above, which spell out the point that such a one as this Respondent will only succeed in avoiding deportation "exceptionally", meaning where there exist "very compelling reasons". The FTT here also had well in mind the terms of the relevant decision by the Appellant. They had a clear view of the facts and the family circumstances. In considering the nature of the public interest in deportation as it affects this case, they made clear that the low risk of future offending was not the only matter of public interest, noting the passage from Judge LJ in N (Kenya) cited above, and emphasising the need for deterrence of others. On that basis they reached their conclusion.
39. In my judgment, the FTT directed themselves to the proper considerations of law. For those reasons, I would dismiss the appeal.
Lord Justice Briggs:
40. I agree. In this case the FTT chose to demonstrate that it understood the relevant legal considerations by a careful and extended citation from the key paragraphs of the relevant authorities, rather than by seeking to summarise them in their own words, or by setting then out again when applying those considerations to the facts as found. Reading the judgment of the FTT as a whole, I consider it to be reasonably clear that those were the considerations applied during the carrying out of the balancing exercise called for by the Article 8 appeal in this case. The UT was therefore correct to conclude that the FTT's decision was not vitiated by any error of law.
Lord Justice Jackson:
41. I also agree.
Published on Bailii, 08/02/2017
EU Citizens 'Denied Residence Documents'
EU citizens living in the UK say they are being denied a guarantee of permanent residency because they do not have health insurance. A little-known rule requires EU citizens not in work or looking for work to buy comprehensive insurance. One man told the Today programme that his application was rejected, despite living in the UK since the age of 13. Peers are now trying to change the law. The Home Office said securing the status of EU migrants was a priority. Since the referendum in June, many EU citizens have applied for documents guaranteeing the right to live permanently in the UK. But the documents can only be obtained by migrants who have consistently either worked, sought work, or bought the insurance for five years. The Home Office does not remove people for failing to buy insurance, but will not issue them with the guarantee of permanent residence. As EU migrants can use the NHS, many did not realise they needed health insurance.
Read more: Ross Hawkins, BBC News, http://tiny.cc/nc1bjy
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 142
This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 7 February and 20 February 2017. http://tiny.cc/o0xdjy