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Irreversible harm

Mark Symes —  — Leave a comment

From 28 July 2014, the commencement of provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 gives the Secretary of State new powers of certification that will oust “in-country” rights of appeal for foreign criminals. She may do so in any case where she thinks removal would be consistent with the Human Rights Act 1998 and in particular where there is no real risk of serious irreversible harm faced by the deportee (section 94B of the amended Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002).

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by SAM Nasim

Kent Law Clinic has published a new report, How Children Become Failed Asylum Seekers, which needs to be read by anyone representing children in asylum cases. Taking the files of 25 “failed asylum seekers” who had arrived in Kent as children, they reviewed the decision making process of the Home Office, the legal representation and the Tribunal’s consideration of any appeal in each case, as well as seeking to identify any further legal action which could be taken.

The research team found that the majority of the young people had been refused on credibility or plausibility grounds, but that many of those findings arose out of processes which have now been disallowed. Continue Reading…

Float list

Want to know what it was like stuck on the float list at Hatton Cross today? Read Emily Dugan’s excellent write up in The Independent. We weren’t the only ones. Several cases were adjourned off to future dates, including cases in which my Garden Court colleagues Taimour Lay and Peter Jorro were instructed. Huge waste of time and very expensive for our privately paying clients.

UPDATE: see also Grey and hopeless: The grim reality of immigration tribunals by Ian Dunt, who was also with us.

Scythe being sharpened

The most devastating aspect of the Immigration Act 2014 (“2014 Act”) is the brutal scything of appeal rights. The Government has triumphantly declared that it has reduced the number of appeal rights from 17 (the number of immigration decisions in s.82 NIAA 2002 as it stands, plus s.83 & 83A appeal rights) to just three. Continue Reading…

By Mulag (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

This post is a brief summary of the removals and nationality provisions of the Immigration Act 2014, and is accompanied by an audio extract from a seminar given by Colin Yeo, Sadat Sayeed, Mark Symes and I at Garden Court Chambers on 13 August 2014, at which I spoke on these subjects. Colin posted his segment of the seminar here, and the final two segments will follow in due course. Continue Reading…

The phased withdrawal of US forces has not led to a return to generalised sectarian conflict and indeed appears to have resulted in a significant annualised drop in the number of security incidents … the most likely development is that the levels of violence will either continue to reduce or remain at around the same level as in 2010, 2011 and the first 9 months of 2012.

HM and others (Article 15(c)) Iraq CG [2012] UKUT 00409 (IAC)

Angry cat

The Immigration Act 2014 requires judges to take into account certain public interest considerations when deciding immigration cases. Little weight is to be attached to x, the politicians tell the judges through the medium of the legislation, and in y situation there is no public interest in removal. More specifically, judges are instructed that there is less public interest in removing wealthy English speakers than poor Urdu speakers.

Human rights pervade modern law and have a profound impact in crime, family, mental health, environmental and many other areas of law. It is only in immigration law that politicians have sought directly to influence the thinking of judges, though. There is no primary legislation telling judges to sentence more leniently where a convicted criminal speaks English or has lots of money, for example, or telling judges that fathers with certain characteristics have stronger rights to see their children than other sorts of fathers.

Late last month the primary legislation concerned came into full effect. How does it work, and will it achieve its purported objectives? This is a detailed blog post examining the provisions and it is accompanied by an audio extract from a seminar last night at Garden Court Chambers at which I spoke on this subject (if you listen to podcasts on your mobile phone, you can subscribe for free via iTunes here, Stitcher here or point your podcast player to podcast feed for Free Movement). Other extracts from the seminar by Bijan Hoshi, Sadat Sayeed and Mark Symes will follow in upcoming blog posts.

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cuddly toys

The case of Ahmed and Another (PBS: admissible evidence) [2014] UKUT 365 (IAC) concerns the ‘genuineness’ test that was introduced for entrepreneur applications as the final death knell for the original concept of the Points Based System as a tool for objective decision making. On appeal, the tribunal holds that s.85A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 prevents a judge from considering evidence that was not submitted with the original application to the Home Office because the genuineness test relates to the award of points under the Points Based System.

This conclusion is itself questionable as the Home Office itself seems to consider that the genuineness part of the rules is ‘non points based’ and therefore exempt from s.85A. Perhaps more importantly, though, the tribunal seems blissfully unaware in this decision of how the genuineness test operates in practice.

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Marghia (procedural fairness) [2014] UKUT 366 (IAC)

Rather harsh but perhaps inevitable decision by Mr Justice Haddon Cave on a student left in the lurch when the start date for her course was changed at the last minute. International students really do get a raw deal from the rigidities of our increasingly absurd immigration system. The official headnote reads:

The common law duty of fairness is essentially about procedural fairness. There is no absolute duty at common law to make decisions which are substantively “fair”. The Court will not interfere with decisions which are objected to as being substantively unfair, except the decision in question falls foul of the Wednesbury test i.e. that no reasonable decision-maker or public body could have arrived at such a decision.

It is a matter for the Secretary of State whether she exercises her residual discretion. The exercise of such residual discretion, which does not appear in the Immigration Rules, is absolutely a matter for the Secretary of State and nobody else, including the Tribunal – Abdi [1996] Imm AR 148.