Secretary of State for the Home Department’s Discretionary leave policy for trafficking victims declared unlawful: Upper Tribunal decision in VTL (Vietnam)

Thursday 8 February 2024

The Applicant was represented by Gráinne Mellon, Eva Doerr & Hannah Lynes of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Ben Goldberg of Turpin Miller Solicitors.

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The Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) has, in an important judgment handed down this morning, declared that the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s policy guidance on Discretionary Leave Guidance, version 10, published on 16 March 2023 is unlawful insofar as it excludes victims of trafficking, like the Claimant – who received a positive Conclusive Grounds decision before 30 January 2023 and had, before that date, articulated a trafficking-related asylum claim which remains outstanding – on the basis that they are subject to deportation proceedings.

Upper Tribunal Judge Frances found that the Discretionary Leave policy provided transitional provisions applicable to cases where a person, prior to 30 January 2023, had both received a positive Conclusive Grounds decision and articulated a trafficking-related asylum claim, which were intended to commit the Secretary of State to making decisions on discretionary leave in accordance with Article 14(1)(a) of the Anti-Trafficking Convention (ECAT) and the judgment in R (EOG & KTT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWCA Civ 307.

In addition to declaring the policy unlawful in the above respects, the Upper Tribunal quashed the decision to refuse to grant the applicant temporary permission to stay in the UK as a victim of trafficking and ordered the SSHD to grant the applicant discretionary leave within 28 days.

The judgment can be found here.

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