News & Views Monday 23rd April to Sunday 29th April 2018  

Home Office Conduct Results in an Award of Indemnity Costs

The Court of Appeal has awarded indemnity costs against the Home Secretary in her failed appeal against a decision of the Upper Tribunal, after she failed to pursue and to attempt to ‘make good’ an allegation of ‘systemic failure’ by the Tribunals of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber to properly apply Immigration Rules 398 and 399 in cases concerning the deportation of foreign criminals.  The Home Office had secured permission to appeal on the basis of that allegation, but it was abandoned on the day of the hearing.  

Singh LJ, with Underhill LJ agreeing, said: “Having obtained permission [to appeal] on that basis, the Appellant failed either to make the submission good with evidence or to pursue the argument. She abandoned it without even explaining why. In my view, in all the circumstances of this case, the Appellant's conduct was indeed unreasonable to a high degree.”

This judgment comes at a time when there is significant public concern over the pursuit by the Home Office of a policy of creating a “hostile environment” for migrants, without proper consideration of the consequences.

No5 Barristers Chambers,

Law Society Warns Of ‘Serious Flaws’ In UK Immigration System

The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, has warned of grave problems in our immigration and asylum system, which undermine the rule of law, whilst also damaging our country’s reputation for justice and fairness. This warning comes at a time where UKVI faces possibly the largest single influx of applications in its history, given the three million EU nationals currently residing in the UK who may wish to seek to cement their status post-Brexit. Solicitors, charities and the media have long reported on the huge delays and inconsistent decisions in immigration applications. According to Ministry of Justice figures the number of appeals being upheld has been steadily increasing over the past three years. Currently almost 50% of decisions that go to appeal are overturned, suggesting that the system is “seriously flawed”.

For many visa routes, including sponsored workers and Tier 1 Investors, there is no longer a right of appeal following a refusal. Faced with a refusal these applicants can either make a fresh application (which includes the payment of another fee) or request an administrative review, which effectively entails the Home Office re-assessing its own decision. UK visa applications are extremely expensive with costs rising frequently. The fees for an application for indefinite leave to remain, for example, are currently £2,297 per person. However, the Home Office’s own figures show the unit cost of such an application to be just £252, which amounts to an 811% profit. The Law Society concluded their warning by calling for an “immigration and asylum process that is fit for purpose and that makes lawful, timely, consistent decisions”.
Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Torture Victims Eligible For Subsidiary Protection if Facing Intentional Deprivation of Health Care

A person tortured in the past in their country of origin is eligible for subsidiary protection if they face a real risk of being intentionally deprived in that country of appropriate physical and psychological health care, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled.

The UK Supreme Court asked the CJEU whether a non-EU national who is suffering from the after-effects of torture he was subjected to in his country of origin, but who would no longer be at risk of such ill treatment if he returned to that country, is eligible for subsidiary protection on the ground that the health services of that country could not provide appropriate care for his mental illness.

In today's judgment, the Court found that under EU law, the fact a person has in the past been tortured by the authorities of his country of origin, but would no longer be at risk of such treatment if he returned, is not in itself sufficient justification for subsidiary protection.

The subsidiary protection regime aims to protect the individual against a real risk of serious harm if returned to his country of origin, which implies that substantial grounds must be shown for believing that the person concerned, if returned to that country, would face such a risk.

Nevertheless, the Court noted that the case at issue concerns a non-EU national who has not only been tortured by the authorities of his country of origin in the past, but who, in addition continues to suffer severe psychological after-effects resulting from the torture.

According to duly substantiated medical evidence, those after-effects would be substantially aggravated and lead to a serious risk of him committing suicide if he were returned to his country of origin.

The Court pointed out that the subsidiary protection regime must be interpreted and applied in observance of the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as meaning that a third country national who in the past has been tortured by the authorities of his country of origin and no longer faces a risk of being tortured if returned to that country, but whose physical and psychological health could, if so returned, seriously deteriorate, leading to a serious risk of him committing suicide on account of trauma resulting from the torture he was subjected to, is eligible for subsidiary protection if there is a real risk of him being intentionally deprived, in his country of origin, of appropriate care for the physical and mental after-effects of that torture, that being a matter for the national court to determine.

Source: Scottish Legal News,
Read the full judgement:

Early Day Motion 1189: Anglophone Crisis In Cameroon

That this House condemns the violence and state oppression imposed by the Government of Cameroon in the Anglophone regions of the country; highlights with regret that over 20,000 refugees from Cameroon have been registered by the UNHCR in their camps across the border in Nigeria; acknowledges reports that an estimated 1,000 people have been detained and 100 people shot for opposing the Government's oppression of the English-speaking community; notes that the Government of Cameroon responded to peaceful protests in 2017 by closing borders to the anglophone regions and deploying the Army's Rapid Intervention Brigade; further condemns the Government of Cameroon for its decision to use force and appeals for a peaceful solution to be found; and calls on the UK Government to press the Government in Cameroon to open talks with anglophone leaders.

House of Commons, 24/04/2018,

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM 1189
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Early Day Motion 1206: Human Rights In The Philippines

That this House notes with alarm grave on-going human rights violations in the Philippines; deplores public attacks and threats made by President Duterte on people attempting to gather evidence about such abuses; further notes with concern the petition submitted by the Philippine Department of Justice listing more than 600 people, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of lndigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, as terrorists, which has been referred to by the NGO Human Rights Watch as a virtual Government hit list; welcomes the decision of the International Criminal Court to hold a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in that country despite the President's subsequent declaration withdrawing the Philippines from the ICC; is aware that the Government has approved sales of electronic surveillance equipment to the Philippine Government; and calls on the Government to repeatedly raise those concerns with the Philippines Government to support and improve protection for human rights defenders working in that country and to immediately end the sale of surveillance equipment to the Philippine Government.

House of Commons, 25/04/2018,

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM 1206
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Home Office Faces Court Action Over Asylum Children

The British government will face legal action on Wednesday over extensive delays in child asylum cases amid mounting criticism of the way the Home Office is dealing with thousands of unaccompanied minors in the UK. Lawyers and mental health experts are warning that child survivors of rape, torture and trafficking are suffering mental health problems because they must wait months, even years, for their cases to be addressed. Even the young people brought by the Home Office directly from Calais are affected by delays and wider problems in the asylum process. The Guardian has heard of least two cases of young people threatened with removal despite being brought over legally to join their family. Now delays have become so widespread, lawyers say, that they are bringing a judicial review case against the Home Office, based on two test cases. The Home Office says it is committed to resolving 98% of cases within six moths, but says some child asylum cases are complex and take longer to resolve.

Read more: Harriet Grant, Guardian,

We Need Human Security, Not Humanitarian Intervention

Theresa May justified the air strikes on Syria last week in humanitarian terms. She is right, of course, to draw our attention to the humanitarian plight of Syrian citizens at the hands of the Syrian regime. But the justification of the strikes under international law is highly questionable and it is very difficult to identify what humanitarian benefits, if any, have been achieved by the strikes.
It is important to expose the hypocrisy of the Government’s humanitarian argument and the dangerous precedent this sets for future military interventions. At the same time, it is essential to ask what can be done to alleviate the suffering in Syria and what a genuine humanitarian intervention might look like.

Read more: Open Democracy,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 169

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 11 and 24 April 2018.

Early Day Motion 1182: Independent Review of Home Office Immigration Policy and Practice

Houses of Parliament, Date tabled: 19.04.2018 - Total number of signatures: 24

That this House notes the Home Office's long track record of delay, maladministration and poor quality decision-making while implementing increasingly harsh anti-immigrant policies; deplores the cruel and grossly unfair treatment of Commonwealth citizens legally resident in the UK, including denial of NHS health care, dismissal from employment, arbitrary detention under Immigration Act powers, threat of removal from the UK and destitution;

believes that such mistreatment is a direct result of deliberate policies, and in particular the then Home Secretary's creation of a hostile environment under the Immigration Act 2014, which places an unreasonable onus on individuals to produce often long lost evidence of residence; deeply regrets the failure of the then Home Secretary to act upon policy recommendations set out in the October 2014 Legal Action Group report Chasing Status, which included establishing a specialist unit within the Home Office to deal with Windrush Generation cases;

commends the work of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Praxis Community Projects, the Refugee and Migrant Centre and others in supporting individuals stripped of their legal rights; welcomes the current Home Secretary's belated acknowledgement that the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and sometimes loses sight of the individual; and calls on the Government to establish an independent commission to review Home Office policies and practice, their impact on black and minority ethnic communities and how they might be reformed to improve fairness and efficiency.

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM 1182

To find your MP go here: