Thomas Beamont

Thomas is an Advocate Worker at the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. Thomas co-founded an organisation giving information to the Calais “Jungle” Residents, and has experience at NGO the Walk Free Foundation. BPTC and GDL from City University. He previously studied History and French at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Court of Appeal: private religious belief does not risk persecution

The difficulty of presenting asylum claims based on religion is well known. Such claims raise difficult evidential problems, which are addressed in this detailed post by Colin Yeo. But AS (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 1539 seems to pose a novel difficulty: should a claim by a person who would exercise their religion in utter privacy be accepted? Factual background and First-tier Tribunal decision The appellant is an Iranian national. She had made a previous asylum claim in the UK on the basis of her political activities, but was refused and removed to Iran in 2009. In 2012, she returned and shortly afterwards made a…

23rd October 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Human rights, long residence and the integration test in the Court of Appeal

AS v SSHD [2017] EWCA 1284 Practitioners commonly rely on the “integration test” in the Immigration Rules to resist an individual’s removal on human rights grounds. The current rules can in some circumstances require a consideration of whether there would be “very significant obstacles” to an individual’s re-integration in that country if they were to be removed or deported. But what characteristics or circumstances can be considered when assessing these obstacles? The Court of Appeal in AS has provided some useful guidance. For a full exploration of the long residence rules and the 10 and 20 year rules in particular see our earlier post: The case of Stoly Jankovic: what are…

14th September 2017 By Thomas Beamont

BBC Panorama exposes the culture of abuse in immigration detention

Panorama, Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets is required viewing for anyone interested in immigration in the UK. It is also deeply uncomfortable viewing. It documents an undercover investigation into Brook House, one of the UK’s 13 Immigration Removal Centres. The episode shows detainees subjected to severe violence, taunting, and mistreatment. A widespread culture of disdain towards the detainees among staff permeates the detention centre. The investigation sheds light on alarming issues surrounding immigration detention, which have been subject to criticism and legal challenge since the beginning of the proliferation of detention in the UK. This tweet from the Panorama account gives a sense of the programme: WATCH: undercover footage shot by…

6th September 2017 By Thomas Beamont

UK unlawfully denies transfer to UK of refugees living for 18 years in Cyprus British Sovereign Base

R (Bashir) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 397 The British Sovereign Base Areas (“SBAs”) are small British-run areas on the Cyprus islands that survived the former colony’s independence. The Home Office has taken the position for a number of years that the Refugee Convention does not apply there. The Court of Appeal has unanimously held that in doing so, then-Home Secretary Theresa May acted unlawfully in denying refugees from the SBAs access to the UK. Background facts The claimants had been rescued from a fishing boat in the Mediterranean in 1998. They had been taken to one of the British Sovereign Base Areas in…

6th June 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Can a person granted subsidiary protection be transferred under Dublin III?

Case C-36/17: Daher Muse Ahmed v Bundesrepublik Deutschland The EU does not want asylum seekers to ‘shop around’ its Member States. To this end, various Regulations exist to prevent someone who has already claimed asylum in one Member State from subsequently doing so in another. But what if an applicant has claimed before, the result of which was being granted not refugee status, but subsidiary protection (‘humanitarian protection’ in the UK)? The CJEU has replied to a reference from the German administrative court to deliver its answer. Background facts The applicant claimed asylum in Germany. The German authorities found that he had previously claimed asylum in Italy. His application in…

1st June 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Home Office unlawfully relies on Albania guidance for five years

LC (Albania)  v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 340 The Home Office has relied on outdated guidance to determine asylum applications from Albanian nationals, the Court of Appeal has held. The judgment in LC (Albania) will have far-reaching effects for those people denied protection under bad law over a number of years. The judgment also reiterates the approach to be taken when considering the future behaviour of asylum applicants if they return to their home country. Asylum claims based on sexuality Guidance for determining asylum applications on sexuality identity grounds was articulated in HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v SSHD [2010] UKSC 31 (“HJ (Iran)”)….

12th May 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Strasbourg rules on state obligations towards trafficked persons

Chowdury and Others v Greece (Application number 21884/15 – the judgment is only available in French. An English-language press summary is available.) The European Court of Human Rights has found that strawberry-pickers in Greece were subjected to forced labour. The Court found that the authorities failed to prevent forced labour and protect the migrant workers. The case raises novel points about the scope of the right not to be subjected to forced labour, and the state’s obligations to investigate potential instances of forced labour and trafficking. The facts The applicants in this case are 42 Bangladeshi men who worked on a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, Greece from 2012-2013. They…

2nd May 2017 By Thomas Beamont

Detention of Dublin asylum seekers held to be unlawful

Al Chodor and Others (C-528/15) In a highly significant judgment the CJEU has shown, in effect, that the Home Office has unlawfully detained hundreds or even thousands of individuals seeking international protection. The background facts The Al Chodor family are Iraqi nationals. They travelled to the Czech Republic and were subject to a police check in May 2015. During their police interview, they stated that they had fled Iraq via Turkey to Greece. They had continued their journey and were stopped by police in Hungary, where they made an asylum application. The Czech Foreigners Police Section was of the view that they posed a serious risk of absconding whilst in the…

23rd March 2017 By Thomas Beamont

K2: right to a private and family life no bar to deprivation of citizenship

K2 v the United Kingdom (Application No 42387/13) The use of the Home Secretary’s power to strip a British citizen of their citizenship is on the rise. It has been the subject of debate where its use has rendered a person stateless following a series cases in the higher courts (see, for instance, here and here). But what arguments can be used to prevent the deprivation of citizenship where the person remains a citizen of a foreign country? In K2, the attempt focused on the applicant’s right to a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The complaint was declared inadmissible, in a judgment in…

20th March 2017 By Thomas Beamont

The Lounani case: when can a member of a terrorist group be excluded from refugee status?

C-573/14 Lounani (Grand Chamber, 31st January 2017) A person applying for protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention can be excluded from its provisions under certain circumstances. As the Court of Justice of the European Union explained in B and D in 2010, these circumstances include those guilty of committing terrorist attacks. But what of those who merely assist in the organisation of a terrorist group? The Lounani case widens the kind of acts which will trigger an exclusion. Whilst the parameters remain unclear, those who have merely provided assistance to those committing terrorist attacks may be excluded under the provisions. The background facts Mr Lounani left Morocco in 1991. He travelled…

9th March 2017 By Thomas Beamont