Issue 163 - 24th November 2009

Tuesday 24 November 2009

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1.Over 950,000 passengers have used state of the art facial recognition at border controls in the UK. Passengers use the self service gates which takes seconds to scan each passengers face against the digital photo recorded in their passports. If there is a match, the e- passport gates open to allow passengers entry into the United Kingdom. Read more.

2.Identity cards to go on sale for the first time in Manchester. Read more.

3.The High Court ruled that Britain's security services should be able to withhold evidence from claimants in civil court cases. Read more.


In a reported case R (on the application of EW) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWHC 2957 (Administrative Court) 18th November 2009, Mr Justice Hickinbottom found that Italy was safe for asylum seekers to return to and that the Secretary of State was right to certify a human rights claim as clearly unfounded. The Court did not accept that a claimant returning to Italy under Dublin II regulation would be exposed to a risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR. The Court found that whilst poor living conditions could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 ECHR, that article did not prescribe a minimum standard of social support for those in need and did not require the state to provide a home or minimal level of financial assistance to all within its care. Where an asylum seeker who was being returned to Italy to make his claim might face minor deprivations and restrictions, that did not amount to a breach of Article 3 ECHR. Click here to view the judgment.

In an unreported decision OO (Sudan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, JM (Uganda) v SSHD Court of Appeal (civil division) 18.11.2009 the Court of Appeal heard two conjoined appeals of O, a Sudanese national and JM a Ugandan national, both of whom had claimed asylum on the basis that they were homosexual which was an offence under national legislation in Sudan and Uganda. The Court of Appeal agreed with AIT that there was very little objective evidence showing that national legislation was enforced by authorities in the countries of the asylum seekers and therefore there was no real risk of persecution if returned to Uganda or Somalia.

The Court of Appeal also rejected an argument that the situation had changed since the Refugee or Person in need of International Protection (Qualification) Regulations 2006 was enacted. The Court of Appeal did not accept that the regulations which implemented Directive 2004/83 widened the scope of persecution further than the position under domestic case law.

In an unreported decision R (on the application of AW) v Croydon London Borough Council (2009) QBD (Admin) Collins J 16.11.2009, Mr Justice Collins held that social workers could not be criticised for their age assessment of a person purporting to be an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, even though a different conclusion was reached on reassessment.

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