UK Government acted unlawfully in designating Jamaica as safe for gay asylum seekers

Wednesday 4 March 2015

The Supreme Court in R (Jamar Brown) (Jamaica) v SSHD [2015] UKSC 8 has unanimously held that the Secretary of State unlawfully designated Jamaica as a country where there is in general no serious risk of persecution of its nationals pursuant to section 94(5) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

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That was so where there is a serious risk of persecution of gay persons and other members of the LBGT community who make up between 5% and 10% of the population. It was held to be no answer to that endemic persecution that they formed a ‘minority’ group. The Court held that persecution within the meaning of the Refugee Convention will by its nature often be directed towards minorities. The Court rejected the proposition that for a serious risk of persecution to exist “in general”, a relevant minority was required to exceed a percentage threshold relative to the rest of the population. The Supreme Court also endorsed the Court of Appeal’s view that the designation of a state is “a significant legal act” that “changes the complexion of the analysis of the claim”.

Mr Brown was represented by Stephen Knafler QC, Paul Nettleship (also Instructing Solicitor, of Messrs Sutovic & Hartigan) and Raza Halim.

Further details are available in the judgment: R (Jamar Brown) (Jamaica) v SSHD [2015] UKSC 8

Stephen and Raza are both members of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team and the Public and Administrative Law Team.

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