Court of Appeal rules refugees without any safe or legal route can be prosecuted for simply arriving

Thursday 2 March 2023

Sonali Naik KC, Jennifer Twite, Ali Bandegani and Raza Halim of Garden Court Chambers acted for the Defendant.

Counsel instructed by Ronnie Manek of GT Stewart.

View full judgment: R v Mohamed & Others [2023] EWCA Crim 211

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The Defendant, Mr Aldaw, is a young Sudanese man fleeing persecution. He faces being prosecuted for arriving in the UK to claim asylum, without a valid visa. However, there is no provision in the Home Secretary’s immigration rules for asylum-seekers like Mr Aldaw to obtain a visa to claim asylum in the United Kingdom.

That means that Mr Aldaw, and many others like him fleeing persecution, exploitation and war in their country of origin, face being prosecuted for arriving in the UK without a visa that they cannot obtain. In other words, there are no ‘safe and legal routes’ that asylum seekers like Mr Aldaw are able to take to arrive in the United Kingdom in order to seek international protection from persecution.

The Court of Appeal presided over by the Lord Chief Justice has concluded (in an appeal against a preparatory ruling by the Canterbury Crown Court) that, despite this position, the prosecution of the Defendant can nevertheless proceed.

The Defendant is seeking permission to appeal the Lord Chief Justice’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

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