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Tanveer Ahmed upheld

Tanveer Ahmed upheld

magnifying glassIn the case of MJ (Singh v Belgium : Tanveer Ahmed (unaffected) Afghanistan [2013] UKUT 253 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal found:

The conclusions of the European Court of Human Rights in Singh v Belgium (Application No. 33210/2011) neither justify nor require any departure from the guidance set out in Tanveer Ahmed [2002] Imm AR 318 (starred). The Tribunal in Tanveer Ahmed envisaged the existence of particular cases where it may be appropriate for enquiries to be made.  On its facts Singh can properly be regarded as such a particular case.  The documentation in that case was clearly of a nature where verification would be easy, and the documentation came from an unimpeachable source.

The First Tier Tribunal in MJ had rejected the Appellant’s account and had dismissed the appeal on asylum and human rights grounds.

One of the grounds argued before the Upper Tribunal was that the First Tier Tribunal had erred in law in the consideration of the supporting documents adduced by the Appellant.

It was argued on behalf of the Appellant, citing the case of Singh v Belgium, that if a document was verifiable and the SSHD had not verified it, then this would be a breach of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In finding that the First Tier Tribunal had made no error of law, the Upper Tribunal found that the case of Singh was not inconsistent with Tanveer Ahmed, as the Tanveer Ahmed case also envisaged some circumstances when enquiries should be made by SSHD.   The Upper Tribunal observed that the documents in issue in the case of Singh, namely emails between the Applicant’s representatives and UNHCR and also attachments confirming that the Applicants were Recognised Refugees, could be easily verifiable.  The Upper Tribunal found:

Tanveer Ahmed does not entirely preclude the existence of an obligation on the Home Office to make enquiries.  It envisages, as can be seen, the existence of particular cases where it may be appropriate for enquiries to be made.  Clearly on its facts Singh can properly be regarded as such a particular case.  The documentation in that case was clearly of a nature where verification would be easy, and the documentation came from an unimpeachable source.  We do not think that Ms Laughton has entirely correctly characterised what was said in Singh in suggesting that in any case where evidence was verifiable there was an obligation on the decision maker to seek to verify.  What is said at paragraph 104 is rather in terms of a case where documents are at the heart of the request for protection where it would have been easy to check their authenticity as in that case with the UNHCR.  That is a very long way indeed from the difficulties that would have been involved in this case in attempted verification by the Home Office of documents emanating from Hizb-i-Islami.  We do not think that what is said in Singh v Belgium in any sense justifies or requires any departure from the guidance in Tanveer Ahmed, which is binding on us and which we consider to remain entirely sound.

In conclusion, practitioners will need to make an assessment of the documents in issue in a case and decide whether they are capable of being classified as “easy to verify”.

Sanaz Saifolahi
Sanaz has practised in the field of immigration law for over 13 years. She is well regarded for her thorough case preparation, effective advocacy and personable nature. Sanaz is also an assessor for the Law Society ‘Immigration Law Advanced’ Accreditation Scheme.

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