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Not unfair to deny appellants’ parents an interpreter at appeal hearing

Not unfair to deny appellants’ parents an interpreter at appeal hearing

KK (India) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 369 was an appeal against removal from the UK based on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The appellant argued that the Home Office had not given sufficient consideration to her Article 8 rights, convincing a judge of the First-tier Tribunal but not the Upper. But the Court of Appeal found that a “terse” and “concise” refusal letter isn’t necessarily inadequate:

On a careful reading, the decision letter was far from devoid of detail or analysis. It outlined [in just 265 words] four specific reasons why the Appellant’s “particular circumstances” did not amount to “exceptional circumstances” and why a refusal to grant leave outside the rules would not result in “unjustifiably harsh consequences” for the Appellant. First, her “relationship with [her] family” could continue from overseas via other methods of communication. Second, the Appellant could apply for entry clearance to return to the UK “to visit her family and friends”. Third, it would be open to her father to financially support her from the UK. Fourth, it would also be open to the Appellant to seek employment on her return to India.

KK also complained of unfairness at the Upper Tribunal hearing. She had requested a Punjabi interpreter for her parents. The tribunal refused, saying that it was a technical error of law hearing with no oral evidence required. In the event, the tribunal overturned the First-tier Tribunal’s decision and immediately proceeded to re-hear the matter itself. KK’s parents were unable to participate for lack of an interpreter.

Lord Justice Haddon-Cave held that this was irrelevant to the outcome of the case. The parents would have been giving evidence about the sale of the family home in India, but would not have been able to establish their point without documentary evidence — so their oral testimony would have been worth nothing. “Accordingly”, Haddon-Cave LJ found, “any procedural irregularity arising by reason of the UT’s letter was not material and involved no unfairness”.

Conor James McKinney

CJ is Free Movement's deputy editor.

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