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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

19 MAR 2014

RQ (Jordan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2014] EWHC 559 (Admin)

RQ (Jordan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2014] EWHC 559 (Admin)

The First Tier Tribunal erred in failing to allow the Claimant an adjournment in order that he might produce evidence to refute the Defendant's attack on his credibility.

5 March 2014

Administrative Court

Philip Mott QC

(1) The Claimant, a Jordanian national of Palestinian descent, arrived in the UK in November 2009. He was arrested for theft in 10 August 2012, by which time his visa had expired. The Claimant sought asylum, which was refused. His subsequent appeal was dismissed by the First Tier Tribunal (‘FTT') and permission to appeal refused by both the FTT and the Upper Tribunal (‘UT').

(2) The only grounds for challenge pursued in this case were that the FTT had erred in not granting an adjournment, and the UT in not granting permission to appeal. The UT refused permission to appeal, concluding that the challenge to the refusal to adjourn could not be argued as unfair. The UT also made adverse findings as to the credibility of the Claimant.

(3) The Claimant's asylum claim was based on fears for his life in Jordan and Palestine due to his previous, unwitting, involvement with Hamas. The Claimant further argued that he had renounced his Jordanian nationality, and so could not return there. The adjournment sought before the FTT had been to allow a fax from the Jordanian Embassy confirming his renouncement to be checked and translated.

(4) HELD: The Court made reference to R (Cart) v Upper Tribunal [2012] 1 AC 663, which limited the granting of permission to those cases which would raise an important point of principle or practice, or there was another compelling reason for permission to be granted.

(5) The test as to whether to adjourn was whether the FTT could justly determine the appeal without an adjournment. The Court held that it was reasonable for the UT to conclude that the Claimant was not credible. However, the credibility finding was so heavily based on the adverse findings as to the Claimant's nationality having been renounced (which was later proven to be correct), that the UT Judge was held to have been an error in law.

(6) It was at least arguable that a decision-maker would struggle to put adverse findings of credibility out of their mind when considering the issue of an alleged fear of persecution.

(7) The Court held that the FTT ought to have given the Claimant the opportunity to produce the evidence as to the revocation of his nationality by way of granting the adjournment, as this was a key point of the Defendant's attack against the Claimant's credibility. The Court granted the Claimant's application for judicial review and quashed the UT decision refusing permission to appeal.

Application succeeded.

Key paragraphs

[8-10] - Adjournment test.

[24] - Not credible.

[26] - Error in law.

[29/30] - Opportunity to respond.

[32] - Conclusion

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