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Meaning of ‘false representation’: AA Nigeria case

The Court of Appeal has adopted a helpfully limited approach to the meaning of ‘false representation’ in Immigration Rules 320(7A) and 322(1A), restricting it to cases of deliberate falsehood rather than accidental mistake. The case is AA (Nigeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWCA Civ 773 and the outcome is completely opposite to the tribunal’s consideration of the same issue in FW (Paragraph 322: untruthful answer) Kenya [2010] UKUT 165 (IAC). It really is remarkable how often the tribunal adopt the most restrictive possible interpretation and how often the higher courts disagree. It rather starts to call into question the judgment of some senior members of the tribunal.

Lord Justice Rix in the leading judgment notes that there are two meanings to ‘false’, one of which is ‘incorrect’ and the other of which is ‘dishonest’. The Immigration Minister of the moment, Liam Byrne, stated that the former definition was intended, there are good legal grounds for following the less expansive approach and there are also good commonsense and humane reasons for following such an approach.

An immigration judge will therefore have to assess not only whether a representation was factually inaccurate but also whether it was made deliberately in order to mislead, rather than inadvertently and by mistake.

Free Movement
Free Movement The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.

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