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15 APR 2013

R (on the application of School of Business & Commerce Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 126 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 018

R (on the application of School of Business & Commerce Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 126 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 018

Education - Immigration - Discretion - Highly Trusted Sponsor

The Defendant had properly exercised her discretion in revoking the Claimant's licence and denying it ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor' status.

31 January 2013

Administrative Court

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC

(1) The Claimant, a Limited Company acting as a private educational institution challenged the Tier 4 sponsor system alleging that the system was unlawful. The Claimant had had its ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor (‘HTS') status withdrawn and its sponsor licence enabling it to issue Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies had been revoked.

(2) The Claimant challenged the Defendant's decision on the following grounds:

(a) the finding that there had been a systematic failure to declare students was wrong;

(b) non-attendance should not have been relied upon as a ground for revoking the Claimant's license. In any event, non-attendance had been within acceptable limits;

(c) the Defendant had adopted an unreasonable approach to ‘enrolment', and the Defendant's definition that the course had to have actually begun was incorrect;

(d) In the case of a Pakistan national, there was no legitimate basis that it could have been legally required to have taken further action in relation to this student;

(e) the Claimant had been in the process of obtaining planning permission for a building that they had been operating in.

(3) The Claimant's case was therefore that the revocation of its licence was unlawful and the decision was based on inaccurate facts and irrelevant matters.

(4) In submissions, the Claimant applied for an adjournment pending the resolution of the Supreme Court case of R (on the application of New London College) v SSHD [2012] Imm AR 563.

(5) HELD: The Court considered that the law was sufficiently settled to allow the case to be determined without an adjournment. The application was therefore refused.

(6) The Defendant's argument that her decision in relation to the planning issue and the Claimant operating out of a building without planning permission was reasonably within her discretion was accepted, and the Court held this to be determinative of the case.

(7) The failure of the Claimant to provide the Defendant with full and accurate information in relation to attendance had resulted in the revocation of the sponsor licence. The Court considered this decision to be within the Defendant's discretion. The case of the individual student from Pakistan was considered not to be determinative, and had not been pursued in oral argument.

(8) The Court held that the Defendant's discretion had been exercised properly and lawfully in revoking the sponsor licence. The Claimant's application for judicial review was therefore refused. in error of law and that and the subsequent decision dismissing FR's appeal were to be set aside [6], [9] - [11], [14].

Application refused.

Key paragraphs

[24] - Sufficiently settled law.

[25] - Refused.

[30]-[31] - Planning decision accepted & determinative.

[36] - Accuracy of information.

[38] - Pakistan national.

[39] - Conclusion.

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