Alex Grigg obtains permission from High Court to challenge 'clearly unfounded' certification of Albanian's asylum claim

Monday 6 November 2023

Alex Grigg, of the Garden Court Chambers ImmigrationPublic Law Team, is instructed by Bahar Ata, Erin Alexander McGowan and Joshua Chua of Duncan Lewis.

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On Friday 3 November, the High Court granted permission for an Albanian asylum seeker ('H') to challenge the Home Office's certification of his asylum claim as clearly unfounded.

H is a young man who fled Albania in fear of a blood feud and violence by money lenders. Despite Upper Tribunal Country Guidance that the ability of the Albanian authorities to provide protection against blood feuds is limited, and relocation within Albania is often not a viable option, the Home Office is increasingly certifying Albanian blood feud claims as clearly unfounded, denying asylum seekers any right of appeal.

The Home Office in this case certified H's claim on that basis, and held him in immigration detention while it sought to remove him from the UK.

Instructed initially on an urgent basis prior to a scheduled removal, Alex Grigg has successfully obtained permission to challenge both the certification decisions and H's detention. The High Court held it to be arguable that the Home Office was seeking to depart from the existing Country Guidance, and had failed to justify doing so. 

This result will be of significance to many Albanian asylum seekers, who regularly now face certification of their claims and so are unable to benefit from an appeal. In particular, the Court heard submissions that the Home Office's Country Policy and Information Note on blood feuds omitted material damaging to the Home Office's position, without explanation or justification.

See full judgment here: R (H) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWHC 2758 (Admin)

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