Issue 49 - 10th April 2007

Thursday 12 April 2007

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The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2007 (No. 835 (L. 5)) make the necessary amendments to effect the legal changes demanded by the recent Court of Appeal decisions in AM (Serbia) & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] EWCA Civ 16 (25 January 2007) http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2007/16.html and FP (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] EWCA Civ 13 (23 January 2007) http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2007/13.html . Firstly Procedure Rule 19 is altered to give the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal a discretion (rather than a duty) to determine an appeal in the absence of a party or his representative if it is satisfied that the party or his representative has been given notice of the date, time and place of the hearing and that there is no good reason for the absence. Secondly, rule 62(7) is amended to provide that the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal may permit a party to amend his grounds of appeal in a reconsideration hearing which takes place in circumstances where the party was granted permission to appeal by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal, but the appeal had not been determined by 4th April 2005. More info

Cases

In AH (Sudan)& Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] EWCA Civ 297 (04 April 2007), the culmination of the litigation in recent years regarding Sudan, the Court of Appeal found that the Tribunal had misstated the law regarding internal relocation. The Court articulated the test for internal relocation: the starting-point must be conditions prevailing in the place of habitual residence; those conditions must be compared with the conditions prevailing in the part of the country to where there can be relocation absent threat of persecution; the latter conditions must be assessed according to the impact that they will have on a person with the characteristics of the asylum-seeker; if under those conditions the asylum-seeker cannot live a relatively normal life according to the standards of his country it will be unduly harsh to expect him to go to the safe haven; traumatic changes of life-style, for instance from a city to a desert, or into slum conditions, should not be forced on the asylum-seeker. The Court reiterated its view, regarding Country Guidance, that when the Tribunal determines to produce an authoritative ruling upon the state of affairs in any given territory, it must take special care to see that its decision is effectively comprehensive: whether AH Sudan deserved its Country Guidance status was left to be a matter for others to determine. Although described as a clarification of the law on internal relocation, this decision constitutes, compared to the standards applied in recent years, a dramatic liberalization of the relevant test: no longer do refugees have to show a level of undue harshness equating to very significant deprivation of key human rights, only that they cannot live a relatively normal life in the "safe haven". Any asylum claim or appeal that has failed on the "unduly harsh" element of internal relocation in the last few years should be carefully revisited in order to determine if this change of emphasis would give rise to a viable claim on the modern test: fresh claims could then be pursued. More info

In Onotota, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] EWHC 797 (Admin) (04 April 2007) Silber J in the Administrative Court noted that the documentation required to work in the UK varies depending on whether an individual is present in the UK or not, because those applying outside the United Kingdom need"a valid work permit" while those applying within the United Kingdom and who are given leave to remain as students, student nurses, working holiday makers or other categories require "a valid Home Office Immigration Employment document for employment". He found that an Immigration Employment document is not to be equated with a work permit. However he made recommendations as to how the presentation of such documents should be clarified to avoid future confusion. More info

In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Rideh [2007] EWHC 804 (Admin) (04 April 2007), Beatson J in the Administrative Court found that the cumulative effect of the control order made against Mr Rideh deprived him of his liberty; accordingly, the Secretary of State had no power to make it, and the proper course was to quash the control order. More info

In HT (Special Voucher Holder, dependants) India [2007] UKAIT 00031 (05 March 2007) the Tribunal found that the announcement regarding Special Vouchers of 5 March 2002 as reflected in the Immigration Directorate Instructions, was an abolition of the Scheme in its entirety, and that no further applications after that date would be entertained or considered by the UK authorities. This applied equally to Voucher Holders themselves seeking entry clearance on that basis or dependants of Special Voucher Holders. More info

Events

On 17 April 2007 ILPA will hold a course on Providing Services And Moving Employees Around Europe: Getting The Most Out Of EU Law, at the St Bride Institute, London. Contact their training department via www.ilpa.org.uk or 0207 251 8383

On 18 April 2007 HJT Training offer an opportunity for practitioners to update themselves on all aspects of changes over the last few months in a single day, addressing new decisions from the ECtHR, key cases on asylum and human rights and the interpretation of the immigration rules and Community; see further details at www.hjt-training.co.uk and book via 0208 303 3013

 

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