Trinity Term [2017] UKSC 42 On appeal from: [2015] EWCA Civ 1020

JUDGMENT
R (on the application of Kiarie) (Appellant) v
Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Respondent)
R (on the application of Byndloss) (Appellant) v
Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Respondent)
before
Lady Hale, Deputy President
Lord Wilson
Lord Carnwath
Lord Hodge
Lord Toulson
JUDGMENT GIVEN ON
14 June 2017
Heard on 15 and 16 February 2017
Appellant (Kiarie) Respondent
Richard Drabble QC
Joseph Markus
Lord Keen of Elie QC,
Advocate General for
Scotland
Ms Lisa Giovannetti QC
Neil Sheldon
(Instructed by Turpin &
Miller LLP
)
(Instructed by The
Government Legal
Department
)
Appellant (Byndloss)
Manjit S Gill QC
Ramby de Mello
Tony Muman
Jessica Smeaton
(Instructed by JM Wilson
Solicitors
)
Intervener (Bail for
Immigration Detainees)
Michael Fordham QC
Sonali Naik
Bijan Hoshi
(Instructed by Allen &
Overy LLP
)
Intervener (The Byndloss
Children)
– written
submissions only
Henry Setright QC
Richard Alomo
(Instructed by Fountain
Solicitors)
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LORD WILSON: (with whom Lady Hale, Lord Hodge and Lord Toulson
agree)
A: INTRODUCTION
1. The issue surrounds “out-of-country” appeals. These are appeals against
immigration decisions made by the Home Secretary which immigrants are entitled
to bring before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (“the
tribunal”) but only if they bring them when they are outside the UK.
2. Mr Kiarie, the first appellant, has Kenyan nationality. He is aged 23 and has
lived in the UK with his parents and siblings since 1997, when he was aged three.
In 2004 he was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. He has been convicted
of serious offences in relation to drugs. Sent to him under cover of a notice dated 10
October 2014 was an order made by the Home Secretary for his deportation to
Kenya.
3. Mr Byndloss, the second appellant, has Jamaican nationality. He is aged 36
and has lived in the UK since the age of 21. In 2006 he was granted indefinite leave
to remain in the UK. He has a wife and their four children living here; and he has
three or four other children also living here. He has been convicted of a serious
offence in relation to drugs. Sent to him under cover of a notice dated 6 October
2014 was an order made by the Home Secretary for his deportation to Jamaica.
4. In deciding to make deportation orders against them, the Home Secretary
rejected the claims of Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss that deportation would breach
their right to respect for their private and family life under article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”). Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss have
a right of appeal to the tribunal against her rejection of their claims and they propose
to exercise it. But, when making the deportation orders, the Home Secretary issued
certificates, the effect of which is that they can bring their appeals only after they
have returned to Kenya and Jamaica.
5. As I will explain in paras 33 and 55, it may well, for obvious reasons, be
difficult for Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss to achieve success in their proposed appeals.
But the question in these proceedings is not whether their appeals should succeed.
It is: are the two certificates lawful?
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6. Yes, said the Court of Appeal (Richards LJ, who gave the substantive
judgment, and Elias and McCombe LJJ, who agreed with it) on 13 October 2015,
[2015] EWCA Civ 1020, [2016] 1 WLR 1961, when dismissing the applications of
Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss for judicial review of the certificates.
B: CERTIFICATION
7. A requirement that some appeals against immigration decisions be brought
“out-of-country” has been a feature of the legal system referable to immigration ever
since the Immigration Act 1971 (“the 1971 Act”) came into force. An obvious
example is when people abroad apply unsuccessfully to entry clearance officers in
British embassies and High Commissions for entry clearance, ie permission to be
admitted to the UK. They often have a right of appeal to the tribunal against the
refusal of entry clearance and they are required to bring their appeals from abroad.
But such appellants are already abroad; indeed their appeals are often in a narrow
compass which surrounds their ability to satisfy the evidential (in particular the
documentary) requirements of the Immigration Rules; their appeals do not usually
include human rights claims and it is the oral evidence of their sponsors in the UK,
rather than of themselves, which is often the more important. The situation is
different when the proposed appeal is based on human rights and when the
requirement to bring it from abroad is imposed on an appellant who is in the UK and
who must therefore leave before he can bring it.
8. The Home Secretary issued the two certificates which precipitated the present
proceedings pursuant to a power conferred on her on 28 July 2014, when section
94B of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (“the 2002 Act”), which
had been inserted into it by section 17(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 (“the 2014
Act”), came into force. Until 30 November 2016, section 94B provided:
“(1) This section applies where a human rights claim has
been made by a person (‘P’) who is liable to deportation under

(a) section 3(5)(a) of the Immigration Act 1971
(Secretary of State deeming deportation conducive to
public good), or
(b) …
(2) The Secretary of State may certify the claim if the
Secretary of State considers that, despite the appeals process
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not having been begun or not having been exhausted, removal
of P to the country or territory to which P is proposed to be
removed, pending the outcome of an appeal in relation to P’s
claim, would not be unlawful under section 6 of the Human
Rights Act 1998 (public authority not to act contrary to Human
Rights Convention).
(3) The grounds upon which the Secretary of State may
certify a claim under subsection (2) include (in particular) that
P would not, before the appeals process is exhausted, face a real
risk of serious irreversible harm if removed to the country or
territory to which P is proposed to be removed.”
9. With effect from 1 December 2016, section 94B of the 2002 Act (to which I
will refer simply as section 94B) has been amended by section 63 of the Immigration
Act 2016 so as to extend the Home Secretary’s power to certify under the section.
Since then she has had power to certify any human rights claim irrespective of
whether the claimant is liable to deportation. The extended power does not fall to be
considered in these appeals but our decision today will surely impact on the extent
of its lawful exercise.
C: THE STATUTORY CONTEXT OF SECTION 94B
10. Section 3(5)(a) of the 1971 Act provides that a person who is not a British
citizen is liable to deportation from the UK if the Home Secretary deems his
deportation to be conducive to the public good.
11. Section 32(4) of the UK Borders Act 2007 (“the 2007 Act”) provides that,
for the purpose of section 3(5)(a) of the 1971 Act, the deportation of a “foreign
criminal” is conducive to the public good. Section 32(1) and (2) defines a “foreign
criminal” as a person who is not a British citizen and who is convicted in the UK of
an offence for which he is sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 12
months. My future references to a foreign criminal will be to a person as thus
defined.
12. Section 32(5) of the 2007 Act provides that, unless an exception specified in
section 33 applies and therefore, in particular, unless his removal would breach his
rights under the Convention, the Home Secretary must make a deportation order in
respect of a foreign criminal.
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13. At the material times, section 82(1) and (3A) of the 2002 Act provided that,
where a deportation order in respect of a person was stated to have been made in
accordance with section 32(5) of the 2007 Act, he might appeal to the tribunal. By
section 82(4), however, the right of appeal was subject to limitations.
14. One limitation, relevant to the present appeals, arose in the conjunction of
section 92(1) and (4)(a) of the 2002 Act with section 94(1) and (2) of it. Section
92(1) provided that an appeal under section 82 could not be brought while the
appellant was in the UK unless it fell within one of the exceptions specified in later
subsections. Subsection (4)(a) specified one exception, namely where the appellant
had made a human rights claim while in the UK. Section 94(1) and (2), however,
provided that an appellant could not rely on section 92(4)(a), ie in order to be entitled
to bring his appeal from within the UK, if the Home Secretary certified that his
human rights claim was “clearly unfounded”.
15. But another limitation is of even greater relevance to the present appeals. This
was the provision which accompanied the coming into force of section 94B on 28
July 2014. The provision was that, where under that section the Home Secretary
certified a human rights claim made by a person liable to deportation, his appeal
could be brought only from outside the UK. In relation to the deportation orders
made in relation to Mr Kiarie on 10 October 2014 and to Mr Byndloss on 6 October
2014, such was the effect of article 4 of the Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement
No 1, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2014 (SI 2014/1820), continued by
article 15 of a third commencement order (SI 2014/2771). In relation to deportation
orders made on or after 20 October 2014, such was the effect of section 92(3)(a) of
the 2002 Act.
16. There is no right of appeal to the tribunal against a certification under section
94B. As these proceedings show, the challenge is by way of judicial review.
D: MR KIARIE
17. In January 2014, when aged 20, Mr Kiarie received a suspended sentence of
imprisonment for two years for the offence of possessing Class A drugs with intent
to supply. In May 2014 the suspended sentence was activated following further
convictions for possession of Class A and Class B drugs.
18. By letter dated 22 July 2014, the Home Secretary informed Mr Kiarie, who
was detained in a Young Offender Institution, that his deportation to Kenya would
be conducive to the public good, that he was therefore liable to deportation and that
she was required to make a deportation order against him unless one of the
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exceptions in section 33 of the 2007 Act applied. She enclosed a questionnaire and
invited him to complete and return it. Mr Kiarie did so: he claimed that his
deportation would breach his human rights because it would separate him from his
family and remove him to a place where he had no family, no place of residence and
no means of fending for himself.
19. By the notice to Mr Kiarie dated 10 October 2014, the Home Secretary
rejected his claim that deportation would breach his human rights, in particular under
article 8 of the Convention. She said that she accepted neither that he was socially
and culturally integrated into the UK nor that there would be significant obstacles to
his reintegration into Kenya nor that there were any very compelling circumstances
which outweighed the public interest in his deportation. Nevertheless she did not
certify that Mr Kiarie’s claim was clearly unfounded; the length of his life in the UK
was probably thought to preclude her doing so.
20. Prior to 10 October 2014 the Home Secretary had not invited Mr Kiarie to
address whether she should exercise her new power under section 94B. In the notice
of that date, however, she said as follows:
“45. Consideration has been given to whether your article 8
claim should be certified under section 94B … The Secretary
of State has considered whether there would be a real risk of
serious irreversible harm if you were to be removed pending
the outcome of any appeal you may bring …
46. It is acknowledged that your parents and siblings are in
the United Kingdom. However, any relationships you may have
with family members can be continued through modern means
of communication upon your return to Kenya. There is nothing
to suggest that you would be unable to obtain employment in
Kenya. You are 20 years old and have no serious medical
conditions. Furthermore, any skills/qualifications you have
gained in the United Kingdom can only serve to assist you in
finding employment in Kenya. It is noted that English is one of
the official languages of Kenya and therefore it is considered that
there would be no communication barriers upon your return.
47. For all the above reasons, it is not accepted that you face
a real risk of serious irreversible harm if removed to Kenya
while you pursue your appeal against deportation, should you
choose to exercise that right. Therefore, it has been decided to
certify your article 8 claim under section 94B and any appeal
Page 7
you may bring can only be heard once you have left the United
Kingdom.”
E: MR BYNDLOSS
21. In May 2013, when aged 32, Mr Byndloss was sentenced to imprisonment
for three years for the offence of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.
22. By letter dated 21 June 2013, the Home Secretary informed Mr Byndloss,
who was in prison, that he was liable to deportation and that she was required to
make a deportation order against him unless one of the exceptions in section 33 of
the 2007 Act applied. She enclosed the same questionnaire later sent to Mr Kiarie.
23. Under cover of a letter to the Home Office dated 4 October 2013, solicitors
for Mr Byndloss returned the questionnaire which he had partially completed. He
said little more than that in 2004 he had married a British woman living in England,
by whom he had sons then aged eight, six and two and a daughter whose age he did
not identify; that, by a second partner living here, he had sons then aged three and
eight months and a daughter then aged two; and that, by a third partner living here,
he had a daughter whose age he did not identify. The solicitors also enclosed letters
from Mr Byndloss and from two of the mothers of his children and other witnesses,
and birth certificates relating to six of the children; and the solicitors explained that
they had had only a limited opportunity to assist Mr Byndloss and that he was
claiming that deportation would breach his rights under article 8 of the Convention.
24. It was more than a year later, namely on 6 October 2014, that the Home
Secretary sent notice of her decision to Mr Byndloss, who remained in prison and
who in the interim had sent further information to her. By the notice, she rejected
his claim that deportation would breach his rights under article 8; and she enclosed
the deportation order. She acknowledged that he was the father of the seven children
by his wife and by his second partner but did not accept that he had a genuine and
subsisting relationship with any of them. She said that, pursuant to section 55(1) and
(2) of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”), she had,
in making her decision, had regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare
of the children, including also that of the eighth child in case, which had not been
demonstrated, she was indeed his daughter. Nevertheless the Home Secretary did
not certify that Mr Byndloss’ claim was clearly unfounded; the existence of his
children in the UK was probably thought to preclude her doing so.
25. One of the consequences of the long unexplained delay in the Home
Secretary’s determination of Mr Byndloss’ claim was that in the interim section 94B
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had come into force. Although she had not at any time invited him to address
whether she should exercise the new power, she explained in the notice dated 6
October 2014 that she had decided to do so. She concluded her reference to the
section as follows:
“Consideration has been given to whether your article 8 claim
should be certified under section 94B … The Secretary of State
has considered whether there would be a real risk of serious
irreversible harm if you were to be removed pending the
outcome of any appeal you may bring. The Secretary of State
does not consider that such a risk exists. Therefore, it has been
decided to certify your article 8 claim under section 94B and
any appeal you may bring can only be heard once you have left
the United Kingdom.”
26. In November 2014 Mr Byndloss issued an application for judicial review of
the certificate under section 94B. He filed witness statements which gave further
details about his relationship with the eight children; but at that time he was still
detained, albeit in an immigration removal centre following completion of his
sentence. Permission to apply for judicial review was refused in the High Court but
he secured permission to appeal against the refusal; and the hearing of his appeal,
together with that of Mr Kiarie who had also been refused permission to apply for
judicial review of the certificate referable to him, was fixed to take place in the Court
of Appeal on 23 September 2015.
27. Less than three weeks before that hearing, namely on 3 September 2015, the
Home Secretary sent to Mr Byndloss a 21-page letter which she described as
supplementary to the decision dated 6 October 2014 but which she claimed to
incorporate her entire reasoning. In effect it replaced the earlier notice and amounted
to a fresh, up to date, decision to reject Mr Byndloss’ claim. She noted that in April
2015 he had been released from immigration detention and that he had therefore
been incarcerated, in all, for 705 days. She maintained, contrary to prison records
by then already provided to her, that there was no evidence that the four children of
the marriage had visited him in prison. Following a detailed analysis she maintained
her refusal to accept that he had a genuine or subsisting relationship with any of the
eight children or that he played any meaningful parental role in their lives.
28. In the letter dated 3 September 2015 the Home Secretary also reiterated her
decision to certify Mr Byndloss’ claim under section 94B. But she expressed her
reasons for doing so differently. She expanded her explanation in order to address
the alleged difficulties in bringing an appeal from Jamaica to which Mr Byndloss
had referred in the proceedings. She said that if necessary he could give evidence
from there by video link; that the proposed evidence about his relationship with the
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children could be given orally by their mothers and in a written statement by himself;
and that his concern to be able to react to whatever might be said against him at the
hearing could be met by his study of her skeleton argument, by which he could in
advance discern what would be said. She referred, as before, to her duty under
section 55 of the 2009 Act; but she now placed her reference to it in the specific
context of her function under section 94B. Her central conclusion was as follows:
“The Secretary of State does not consider that your removal
pending the outcome of any appeal would be unlawful under
section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and considers that
there is no real risk of serious irreversible harm in your case. It
is considered that your removal pending your appeal would be
proportionate in all the circumstances.”
29. In the days between receipt of the letter dated 3 September 2015 and the
hearing in the Court of Appeal Mr Byndloss, by his solicitors, filed a mass of
evidence intended to contradict some of what the Home Secretary had said in the
course of it. In particular he filed a lengthy report by an independent social worker
to the effect that following his release Mr Byndloss had had frequent contact with
all eight children; had resumed a loving and committed relationship with each of
them; and had maintained a good relationship with their mothers.
30. In the event the Court of Appeal resolved to treat the Home Secretary’s letter
dated 3 September 2015 as the decision under challenge in Mr Byndloss’ appeal but
not to consider the evidence filed subsequently on his behalf. In this connection it
accepted an offer by the Home Secretary that, were his appeal dismissed, she would
consider the new evidence when making yet a further determination whether to
certify the claim under section 94B. On any view, however, the court’s treatment of
the letter dated 3 September 2015 as the decision under challenge cut away aspects
of the argument proposed to be advanced on behalf of Mr Byndloss, including in
particular an argument that the certification dated 6 October 2014 had run counter
to published policy which had governed the use of section 94B during the initial 11
weeks for which it had been in force. Following delivery of the judgments of the
Court of Appeal in the present case, a different constitution of that court has
delivered valuable judgments relating to the difficulty which confronts courts and
tribunals when deciding how to treat “supplementary” decision letters sent by the
Home Secretary, often shortly before a hearing: R (Caroopen) v Secretary of State
for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 1307. Mr Byndloss does not suggest,
and has never suggested, that it was wrong for the Court of Appeal to treat the letter
dated 3 September 2015 as the more material decision by then under challenge; but,
had the guidance in the Caroopen case been available to it, the court might have
been more concerned to address the disadvantage which he had suffered as a result
of the Secretary of State’s last minute reconstitution of the issues.
Page 10
F: OBJECTIVES OF SECTION 94B
31. On 30 September 2013, at the Conservative Party Conference, the Home
Secretary said:
“Where there is no risk of serious and irreversible harm, we
should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeals
later.”
An Immigration Bill was swiftly laid before Parliament and clause 12 of it provided
for the insertion of section 94B into the 2002 Act. The Bill had not been preceded
by a green paper or other form of consultation. An Impact Assessment of the Bill,
dated 14 October 2013, described the objective of the proposed insertion as the
removal of unnecessary delay in the determination of appeals. On 22 October 2013,
in proposing the second reading of the Bill, the Home Secretary said (HC Deb, vol
569, col 161):
“Foreign criminals will not be able to prevent deportation
simply by dragging out the appeals process, as many such
appeals will be heard only once the criminal is back in their
home country. It cannot be right that criminals who should be
deported can remain here and build up a further claim to a
settled life in the United Kingdom.”
On 5 November 2013, when attending on the Public Bill Committee, the Minister
for Immigration said (Immigration Bill Deb 5, cols 205, 206):
“The new power is to help to speed up the deportation of
harmful individuals, including foreign criminals … many
people use the appeal mechanism not because they have a case
but to delay their removal from the United Kingdom. In some
cases, they attempt to build up a human rights-based claim
under article 8, which they subsequently use, sometimes
successfully, to prevent their departure.”
32. Thus the specific, linked objectives of section 94B were alleged to have been
to reduce delay in the determination by the tribunal of human rights appeals and to
prevent an appellant’s abuse of the system by seeking to strengthen his claim during
the pendency of his appeal. But, as the Secretary of State no doubt correctly submits,
there was also a more fundamental objective, arising from the very fact that the
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potential subjects of certification were very largely, like the two appellants, foreign
criminals.
33. The deportation of a foreign criminal is conducive to the public good. So said
Parliament in enacting section 32(4) of the 2007 Act: see para 11 above.
Parliament’s unusual statement of fact was expressed to be for the purpose of section
3(5)(a) of the 1971 Act so its consequence was that every foreign criminal became
automatically liable to deportation. Parliament’s statement exemplifies the “strong
public interest in the deportation of foreign nationals who have committed serious
offences”: Ali v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 60,
[2016] 1 WLR 4799, para 14, Lord Reed. In the Ali case the court was required to
identify the criterion by reference to which the tribunal should determine an appeal
of a foreign criminal on human rights grounds against a deportation order. The
decision was that the public interest in his deportation was of such weight that only
very compelling reasons would outweigh it: see paras 37 and 38, Lord Reed.
34. The Home Secretary submits that the strong public interest in the deportation
of foreign criminals extends to their deportation in advance of their appeals. Her
submission found favour in the Court of Appeal. In para 44 of his judgment Richards
LJ observed that the very fact of Parliament’s enactment of section 94B exemplified
the public interest in deportation even in that situation; that therefore “substantial
weight must be attached to that public interest in that context too”; and that, in
assessing the proportionality of a certificate, “the public interest is not a trump card
but it is an important consideration in favour of removal”.
35. Notwithstanding the respect which over many years this court has developed
for the opinions of Richards LJ, particularly in this field, I disagree with his
observations. I have explained in para 31 above that one aspect of this public interest
is said to be a concern that, if permitted to remain in the UK pending his appeal, a
foreign criminal might seek to delay its determination in order to strengthen his
personal and family connections here. But the tribunal will be alert not to allow
objectively unwarranted delay. A somewhat stronger aspect of the public interest is
the risk that, if permitted to remain pending his appeal, the foreign criminal would,
however prejudicially to its success, take that opportunity to re-offend. To that
extent there is a public interest in his removal in advance of the appeal. But in my
view that public interest may be outweighed by a wider public interest which runs
the other way. I refer to the public interest that, when we are afforded a right of
appeal, our appeal should be effective. To be set alongside Parliament’s enactment
of section 94B was its enactment of section 82(1) and (3A) of the 2002 Act, by
which it gave a foreign criminal a right of appeal against the deportation order: see
para 13 above. In published guidance to her case-workers the Home Secretary has
made clear that there is no need to consider certification of a claim under section
94B if it can be certified under section 94, as to which see para 14 above. So, as
exemplified in the cases of Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss, a certificate under section
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94B is of a human rights claim which is not clearly unfounded, which in other words
is arguable. In my view therefore the public interest in a foreign criminal’s removal
in advance of an arguable appeal is outweighed unless it can be said that, if brought
from abroad, the appeal would remain effective: as to which, see section I below.
G: ANALYSIS OF SECTION 94B
36. It is clear, for example from the Home Secretary’s announcement to her
party’s conference set out at para 31 above, that the initial conception was of a power
to require a foreign criminal to bring his appeal from abroad in all cases in which
his removal created no risk that he would suffer serious irreversible harm. The
criterion of serious irreversible harm was drawn from the practice of the European
Court of Human Rights (“the ECtHR”) when it considers whether to indicate an
interim measure under rule 39 of its Rules of Court: if, for, example, an applicant
who is challenging a decision to deport or extradite him would face “an imminent
risk of irreparable damage” if removed in advance of determination of the
application, the ECtHR may indicate that it should not take place: Mamatkulov v
Turkey (2005) 41 EHRR 494, para 104. There is clearly a parallel between the power
of the ECtHR under rule 39 and the Home Secretary’s power of certification under
section 94B; but the parallel is not exact, if only because the demands made of an
appellant in adducing evidence to a UK tribunal in an appeal against a deportation
order, to which I will refer in para 55 below, have no parallel in those made of an
applicant in pursuing an application before the ECtHR.
37. For whatever reason, Parliament wisely decided that the overarching criterion
for certification under section 94B should be that removal pending appeal would not
breach the claimant’s human rights and that the real risk of serious irreversible harm
should be only an example of when such a breach would occur. Subsections (2) and
(3) might be thought to have made this clear but unfortunately it was made far from
clear to case-workers. Guidance issued by the Home Office entitled “Section 94B
certification guidance for Non-European Economic Area deportation cases”, in both
its first version dated July 2014 and its second version dated 20 October 2014, stated:
“Section 94B … allows a human rights claim to be certified
where the appeal process has not yet begun or is not yet
exhausted where it is considered that the person liable to
deportation would not, before the appeal process is exhausted,
face a real risk of serious irreversible harm if removed to the
country of return.”
So it is easy to understand why the certification of Mr Kiarie’s claim on 10 October
2014 and the first certification of Mr Byndloss’ claim on 6 October 2014 were both
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expressly based on a conclusion that they would not face a real risk of serious
irreversible harm if removed to Kenya and Jamaica in advance of any appeal: see
paras 20 and 25 above.
38. In the Court of Appeal Richards LJ inevitably held that those two
certifications were based on a legal misdirection. He proceeded to hold, however,
that the misdirection in Mr Kiarie’s case had not been material because, even had
she applied the overarching criterion, the Home Secretary would still have certified
his claim; and that the misdirection in the first certification of Mr Byndloss’ claim
had been cured by a correct direction in the second certification of it.
39. Earlier Richards LJ had observed:
“There may in practice be relatively few cases where removal
for an interim period pending an appeal would be in breach of
Convention rights in the absence of a risk of serious irreversible
harm, but it is a possibility which must be focused on as a
necessary part of the decision-making process.”
With respect, I would not associate myself with this observation of Richards LJ. It
would lull case-workers into thinking that they would be safe to concentrate on
weighing a real risk of serious irreversible harm to the prospective appellant himself.
But, as I will explain, a specific focus on the risk of serious harm to the prospects of
his appeal might very well ground a conclusion that his removal in advance of it
would breach his Convention rights.
40. Any analysis of section 94B must also include reference to the discretion
which it confers on the Home Secretary not to certify the claim even when she
concludes that to do so would not breach Convention rights. No doubt its exercise
will be rare.
H: JUDICIAL REVIEW OF CERTIFICATION
41. In their proposed appeals to the tribunal Mr Kiarie and Mr Byndloss will
argue that their deportation would breach their rights under article 8. In the present
proceedings for judicial review they argue analogously that their deportation in
advance of their proposed appeals would breach their rights under article 8.
Although the focus of the two inquiries is different, should the judicial approach to
the Home Secretary’s respective decisions be different? After all, both the tribunal
when it hears the appeals and the court or tribunal when it hears the applications for
judicial review are public authorities, which act unlawfully if they act in a way which
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is incompatible with a Convention right: section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998
(“the 1998 Act”).
42. When on an appeal the tribunal considers an argument that deportation would
breach the appellant’s Convention rights, for example under article 8, its approach
to the Home Secretary’s decision is not in doubt. It was recently explained by Lord
Reed in the Ali case, cited at para 33 above, in paras 39 to 50. In summary, the
tribunal must decide for itself whether deportation would breach the appellant’s
Convention rights; in making that decision, it can depart from findings of fact made
by the Home Secretary and indeed can hear evidence and make findings even about
matters arising after her decision was made (section 85(4) of the 2002 Act); and, in
making that same decision, it must assess for itself the proportionality of
deportation, albeit attaching considerable weight to the considerations of public
policy upon which the Home Secretary has relied and to any other part of her
reasoning which, by virtue of her position and her special access to information,
should carry particular authority.
43. There is no doubt that, in proceedings for judicial review of a certificate under
section 94B, the court or tribunal must also decide for itself whether deportation in
advance of the appeal would breach the applicant’s Convention rights. There is no
doubt that, in making that decision, it must assess for itself the proportionality of
deportation at that stage. As Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury said in the proceedings
for judicial review in R (Lord Carlile of Berriew) v Secretary of State for the Home
Department [2014] UKSC 60, [2015] AC 945, at para 67:
“… where human rights are adversely affected by an executive
decision, the court must form its own view on the
proportionality of the decision, or what is sometimes referred
to as the balancing exercise involved in the decision.”
Lord Neuberger proceeded, however, to add a qualification referable to the degree
of respect to be afforded to the judgment in that regard of the primary decisionmaker; and he did so along the lines of the last part of my summary in para 42 above.
44. The issue which arises relates to the court’s treatment of the Home
Secretary’s findings of fact when it comes to decide for itself whether deportation
in advance of the appeal would breach the applicant’s human rights. To what extent
should it inherit and adopt them? In the Court of Appeal Richards LJ said of the
Home Secretary:
Page 15
“In my judgment, her findings of fact are open to review on
normal Wednesbury principles, applied with the anxious
scrutiny appropriate to the context: … R (Giri) v Secretary of
State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 784 …”
45. In the Giri case, now reported at [2016] 1 WLR 4418, the issue was whether
the Home Secretary had been entitled to refuse to grant the applicant leave to remain
in the UK. She had been entitled to do so if, in making his application for leave, he
had failed to disclose a material fact. She found as a fact that he had failed to do so.
The Court of Appeal applied the Wednesbury criterion in holding that her finding of
fact had not been unreasonable.
46. The difficulty is that the Giri case did not engage the court’s duty under
section 6 of the 1998 Act. In Manchester City Council v Pinnock (Nos 1 and 2)
[2010] UKSC 45, [2011] UKSC 6, [2011] 2 AC 104, a tenant of a house owned by
a local authority argued that possession of the house pursuant to the order which it
sought against him would breach his rights under article 8. This court held at para
74 that:
“… where it is required in order to give effect to an occupier’s
article 8 Convention rights, the court’s powers of review can,
in an appropriate case, extend to reconsidering for itself the
facts found by a local authority, or indeed to considering facts
which have arisen since the issue of proceedings, by hearing
evidence and forming its own view.”
In the Lord Carlile case, cited at para 43 above, Lord Sumption said, more broadly,
at para 30:
“… when it comes to reviewing the compatibility of executive
decisions with the Convention, there can be no absolute
constitutional bar to any inquiry which is both relevant and
necessary to enable the court to adjudicate.”
47. Even when elevated by the protean concept of “anxious scrutiny”, application
of the Wednesbury criterion to the right to depart from the Home Secretary’s
findings of fact (including any refusal to make such findings) in the course of a
judicial review of her certificate under section 94B is in my opinion inapt. If it is to
discharge its duty under section 6 of the 1998 Act, the court may need to be more
proactive than application of the criterion would permit. In many cases the court is
likely to conclude that its determination will not depend on the Home Secretary’s
Page 16
findings of fact or that, if it does, her findings are demonstrably correct and should
not be revisited. Take the case of Mr Byndloss. He contends that, even by reference
only to the evidence before her on 3 September 2015, she was wrong, by her letter
of that date, to refuse to accept his contention that he had a genuine or subsisting
relationship with any of his children. I will explain why, in my view, his application
for judicial review can be determined without the need for a court to inquire into the
correctness of her refusal to accept his contention. But, even in the course of a
judicial review, the residual power of the court to determine facts, and to that end to
receive evidence including oral evidence, needs to be recognised.
I: THE REQUIREMENTS OF ARTICLE 8
48. At last I can begin to address the central issue. But, in answering the question
“did the certificates breach the rights of the appellants under article 8?”, the first task
is to identify what, in this context of proposed deportation in advance of an appeal,
article 8 requires.
49. In Al-Nashif v Bulgaria (2003) 36 EHRR 655 the Bulgarian authorities had
deported the first applicant to Syria on grounds of national security. When prior to
his deportation he had sought to appeal against the deportation order, the court had
ruled that, inasmuch as it was on grounds of national security, the order was not
open to appeal. The ECtHR held that the deportation had interfered with the first
applicant’s right to respect for his family life and that it followed from the absence
of any facility to appeal against the order that the interference was not “in
accordance with the law” within the meaning of article 8(2). It held:
“123. Even where national security is at stake, the concepts of
lawfulness and the rule of law in a democratic society require
that measures affecting fundamental human rights must be
subject to some form of adversarial proceedings before an
independent body competent to review the reasons for the
decision and relevant evidence, if need be with appropriate
procedural limitations on the use of classified information.”
So the court held that Bulgaria had breached the first applicant’s rights under article
8. It proceeded to hold, separately, that it had breached his rights under article 13 of
the Convention in conjunction with article 8. Article 13 provides:
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the]
Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before
Page 17
a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been
committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
When domestic UK courts are asked to determine allegations of breach of
Convention rights, it is of no consequence to them that article 13 was omitted from
the articles included in Schedule 1 to the 1998 Act. The right to an effective remedy
for breaches of the substantive Convention rights is generally recognised elsewhere
in the 1998 Act (Brown v Stott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline) [2003] 1 AC 681,
715, Lord Hope of Craighead) and indeed, in the case of the present appellants, has
been specifically recognised by the grant of a right of appeal under section 82 of the
2002 Act.
50. In subsequent decisions the ECtHR seems to have preferred to locate the right
to an effective remedy for breach of article 8 within article 13 rather than within the
phrase “in accordance with the law” in article 8(2). The leading authority, recently
indorsed in Khlaifia v Italy, Application No 16483/12, is De Souza Ribeiro v France
(2014) 59 EHRR 454. A Brazilian man was arrested in French Guiana and ordered
to be removed on the basis that his presence there was illegal. On the day following
his arrest he filed an application for judicial review of the order but, later on that
very day, he was removed to Brazil. The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR held that
France had breached his right under article 13 in conjunction with article 8. He had
argued that, whenever an order for removal was challenged by reference to article
8, article 13 required an automatic suspension of the removal pending determination
of the challenge, just as when the challenge was by reference to articles 2 or 3. But
the Grand Chamber declined to go so far. It held:
“83. By contrast [to challenges under articles 2 or 3], where
expulsions are challenged on the basis of alleged interference
with private and family life, it is not imperative, in order for a
remedy to be effective, that it should have automatic
suspensive effect. Nevertheless, in immigration matters, where
there is an arguable claim that expulsion threatens to interfere
with the alien’s right to respect for his private and family life,
article 13 in conjunction with article 8 of the Convention
requires that states must make available to the individual
concerned the effective possibility of challenging the
deportation or refusal-of-residence order and of having the
relevant issues examined with sufficient procedural safeguards
and thoroughness by an appropriate domestic forum offering
adequate guarantees of independence and impartiality.”
There was a powerful concurring opinion to the effect that article 13 did require
automatic suspension of the order when removal “would allegedly put migrants in
Page 18
danger of irreversible damage to their family lives” (para OII-21). But the
jurisprudence of the ECtHR seems to be clear that
(a) the facility for challenge has to be effective;
(b) an effective facility for challenge will not automatically require
suspension of the removal order; and
(c) whether its suspension is required in order to make the facility
effective will depend on the circumstances.
51. In R (Gudanaviciene) v Director of Legal Aid Casework [2014] EWCA Civ
1622, [2015] 1 WLR 2247, the Court of Appeal, by a judgment delivered by Lord
Dyson MR, also, albeit by a different route, reached the conclusion that article 8
required that an appeal against a deportation order by reference to it should be
effective. The court
(a) cited at para 65 the decision of the ECtHR in W v United Kingdom
(1987) 10 EHRR 29, para 64, to the effect that article 8 required that parents
who had sought contact with a child in care should have been involved in the
decision-making process to a degree sufficient to provide the requisite
protection of their interests;
(b) held at para 69 that the same requirement applied to article 8 claims
by immigrants; and
(c) concluded at para 70 that it amounted to a requirement that their access
to the tribunal should be effective.
J: BACKGROUND TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES
52. The relevant circumstances must be considered against four features of the
background.
53. The first is that the proposed deportations would be events of profound
significance for the future lives of Mr Kiarie, his parents and siblings; and of Mr
Byndloss and, to the extent that he has or might otherwise develop a genuine
relationship with them, also of his children. In the absence of exceptional
Page 19
circumstances the Home Secretary would not even consider whether to readmit
either of the appellants to the UK within ten years of the date of the deportation
orders: para 391(a) of the Immigration Rules, HC 395 (as amended).
54. The second is that, in the absence of certificates that they are clearly
unfounded, the proposed appeals of these appellants must be taken to be arguable:
see para 35 above.
55. The third is that, particularly in the light of this court’s decision in the Ali
case, every foreign criminal who appeals against a deportation order by reference to
his human rights must negotiate a formidable hurdle before his appeal will succeed:
see para 33 above. He needs to be in a position to assemble and present powerful
evidence. I must not be taken to be prescriptive in suggesting that the very
compelling reasons which the tribunal must find before it allows an appeal are likely
to relate in particular to some or all of the following matters:
(a) the depth of the appellant’s integration in UK society in terms of
family, employment and otherwise;
(b) the quality of his relationship with any child, partner or other family
member in the UK;
(c) the extent to which any relationship with family members might
reasonably be sustained even after deportation, whether by their joining him
abroad or otherwise;
(d) the impact of his deportation on the need to safeguard and promote the
welfare of any child in the UK;
(e) the likely strength of the obstacles to his integration in the society of
the country of his nationality; and, surely in every case,
(f) any significant risk of his re-offending in the UK, judged, no doubt
with difficulty, in the light of his criminal record set against the credibility of
his probable assertions of remorse and reform.
56. The fourth is that the authority responsible for having directed the dramatic
alteration in the circumstances of the appellant even in advance of his appeal is the
respondent to the appeal herself. In R (Detention Action) v First-tier Tribunal
Page 20
(Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2015] EWCA Civ 840, [2015] 1 WLR 5341,
the Court of Appeal upheld the quashing of “Fast Track Rules” which, in particular,
required asylum seekers, if detained by the Home Secretary at specified locations,
to present any appeal against the refusal of asylum within seven days of the refusal.
Having referred in para 27 of his judgment to “the principle that only the highest
standards of fairness will suffice in the context of asylum appeals”, Lord Dyson
explained at para 38 that the timetable for the conduct of the appeals was so tight
that a significant number of appellants would be denied a fair opportunity to present
them. He explained at paras 46 to 48 that in those circumstances the court had no
need to address a further argument that it had been in breach of natural justice for
the Home Secretary, as the respondent to any appeal, to have been able, by detaining
the asylum seeker at a specified location, to cause him to be placed into the fast
track. Lord Dyson suggested, however, that, had the rules for the fast track been fair,
it would have been irrelevant that it was the Home Secretary who had caused them
to be engaged. I respectfully agree. But the role of the respondent to the proposed
appeals in seeking to achieve the removal of the appellants in advance of their
determination, taken in conjunction with the first three of the background features
set out above, requires this court to survey punctiliously, and above all realistically,
whether, if brought from abroad, their appeals would remain effective. For that is
what their human rights require.
K: WEAKENING THE ARGUMENTS ON THE APPEAL
57. On an appeal against a deportation order the overarching issue for the tribunal
will be whether the deportation would be lawful. But, if the certificate under section
94B is lawful, the appellant will already have been deported. In determining the
overarching issue the tribunal will be likely to address in particular the depth of his
integration in UK society and the quality of his relationships with any child, partner
or other family member: see para 55 (a) and (b) above. But, were the certificate
under section 94B lawful, his integration in UK society would already have been cut
away; and his relationships with them ruptured.
58. Statistics now produced by the Home Secretary, which the appellants
consider to be surprisingly optimistic, suggest that an appeal brought from abroad is
likely to be determined within about five months of the filing of the notice. So, by
the time of the hearing, an appellant, if deported pursuant to a certificate, will
probably have been absent from the UK for a minimum of five months. No doubt
the tribunal will be alert to remind itself of its duty to set aside the deportation order
and thus to enable an appellant to re-enter the UK if his human rights were so to
require. But, by reason of his deportation pursuant to a certificate, his human rights
are less likely so to require! It is one thing further to weaken an appeal which can
already be seen to be clearly unfounded. It is quite another significantly to weaken
an arguable appeal: such is a step which calls for considerable justification. The
Home Secretary argues that, by definition, the foreign criminal will have been in
Page 21
prison, perhaps also later in immigration detention, in the UK and so he will already
have suffered both a loosening of his integration, if any, in UK society and,
irrespective of any prison visits, an interruption of his relationship with family
members. I agree; but in my view the effect of his immediate removal from the UK
on these two likely aspects of his case would probably be significantly more
damaging than that of his prior incarceration here.
59. For present purposes, however, I put these substantial concerns aside. In my
view what is crucial to the disposal of these appeals is the effect of a certificate under
section 94B in obstructing an appellant’s ability to present his appeal.
L: OBSTRUCTING PRESENTATION OF THE APPEAL
60. The first question is whether an appellant is likely to be legally represented
before the tribunal at the hearing of an appeal brought from abroad. Legal aid is not
generally available to an appellant who contends that his right to remain in the UK
arises out of article 8: para 30, Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and
Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. So, in order to obtain legal aid, he must secure
an “exceptional case determination” under section 10 of that Act. Although an
appeal brought from abroad is in principle as eligible for such a determination as an
appeal brought from within the UK, the determination cannot be made unless either
the absence of legal aid would breach his rights under article 8 or it might breach
them and provision of it is appropriate in all the circumstances: section 10(3). It
suffices to say for present purposes that it is far from clear that an appellant relying
on article 8 would be granted legal aid. One can say only that, were he required to
bring his appeal from abroad, he might conceivably be represented on legal aid; that
alternatively he might conceivably have the funds to secure private legal
representation; that alternatively he might conceivably be able to secure
representation from one of the specialist bodies who are committed to providing free
legal assistance to immigrants (such as Bail for Immigration Detainees: see para 70
below); but that possibly, or, as many might consider, probably, he would need to
represent himself in the appeal. Even if an appellant abroad secured legal
representation from one source or another, he and his lawyer would face formidable
difficulties in giving and receiving instructions both prior to the hearing and in
particular (as I will explain) during the hearing. The issue for this court is not
whether article 8 requires a lawyer to be made available to represent an appellant
who has been removed abroad in advance of his appeal but whether, irrespective of
whether a lawyer would be available to represent him, article 8 requires that he be
not removed abroad in advance of it.
61. The next question is whether, if he is to stand any worthwhile chance of
winning his appeal, an appellant needs to give oral evidence to the tribunal and to
respond to whatever is there said on behalf of the Home Secretary and by the tribunal
Page 22
itself. By definition, he has a bad criminal record. One of his contentions will surely
have to be that he is a reformed character. To that contention the tribunal will bring
a healthy scepticism to bear. He needs to surmount it. I have grave doubts as to
whether he can ordinarily do so without giving oral evidence to the tribunal. In a
witness statement he may or may not be able to express to best advantage his
resolution to forsake his criminal past. In any event, however, I cannot imagine that,
on its own, the statement will generally cut much ice with the tribunal. Apart from
the assistance that it might gain from expert evidence on that point (see para 74
below), the tribunal will want to hear how he explains himself orally and, in
particular, will want to assess whether he can survive cross-examination in relation
to it. Another strand of his case is likely to be the quality of his relationship with
others living in the UK, in particular with any child, partner or other family member.
The Home Secretary contends that, at least in this respect, it is the evidence of the
adult family members which will most assist the tribunal. But I am unpersuaded that
the tribunal will usually be able properly to conduct the assessment without oral
evidence from the appellant whose relationships are under scrutiny; and the evidence
of the adult family members may either leave gaps which he would need to fill or
betray perceived errors which he would seek to correct.
62. When the power to certify under section 94B was inserted into the 2002 Act,
an analogous power was inserted into the Immigration (European Economic Area)
Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1003) (“the 2006 Regulations”), now recently replaced.
Regulation 24AA(2) enabled the Home Secretary to add to an order that an EEA
national be deported from the UK a certificate that his removal pending any appeal
on his part would not be unlawful under section 6 of the 1998 Act. But regulation
24AA(4) enabled him to apply “to the appropriate court or tribunal (whether by
means of judicial review or otherwise) for an interim order to suspend enforcement
of the removal decision”. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v
Gheorghiu [2016] UKUT 24 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal (Blake J and UTJ Goldstein)
observed at para 22 that, on an application for an order to suspend enforcement, the
court or tribunal would take due account of four factors. The fourth was
“that in cases where the central issue is whether the offender
has sufficiently been rehabilitated to diminish the risk to the
public from his behaviour, the experience of immigration
judges has been that hearing and seeing the offender give live
evidence and the enhanced ability to assess the sincerity of that
evidence is an important part of the fact-finding process …”
It is also worthwhile to note that, even if an EEA national was removed from the
UK in advance of his appeal, he had, save in exceptional circumstances, a right under
regulation 29AA of the 2006 Regulations (reflective of article 31(4) of Directive
2004/58/EC) to require the Home Secretary to enable him to return temporarily to
the UK in order to give evidence in person to the tribunal.
Page 23
63. The Home Secretary submits to this court that the fairness of the hearing of
an appeal against deportation brought by a foreign criminal is highly unlikely to turn
on the ability of the appellant to give oral evidence; and that therefore the
determination of the issues raised in such an appeal is likely to require his live
evidence only exceptionally. No doubt this submission reflects much of the thinking
which led the Home Secretary to propose the insertion of section 94B into the 2002
Act. I am, however, driven to conclude that the submission is unsound and that the
suggested unlikelihood runs in the opposite direction, namely that in many cases an
arguable appeal against deportation is unlikely to be effective unless there is a
facility for the appellant to give live evidence to the tribunal.
64. But in any event, suggests the Home Secretary, there is, in each of two
respects, a facility for an appellant in an appeal brought from abroad to give live
evidence.
65. The first suggested respect was the subject of a curious submission on the
part of the Home Secretary to the Court of Appeal. It was that from abroad the
appellant could apply for, or that the tribunal could on its own initiative issue, a
summons requiring his attendance as a witness at the hearing pursuant to rule 15(1)
of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Rules 2014 (SI 2014/2604) (“the 2014 Rules”). The curiosity of the submission is
that such a summons is not enforceable in respect of a person outside the UK.
Nevertheless the Court of Appeal held that the issue of a summons would be a
legitimate way of putting pressure on the Home Secretary to allow the appellant to
return to the UK to give oral evidence. Before this court the Home Secretary does
not continue to contend for the suitability of a summons under rule 15(1). She
nevertheless suggests that the tribunal could, by direction, stress the desirability of
the appellant’s attendance before it and that, were she thereupon to fail to facilitate
his attendance, the appellant could seek judicial review of the certificate under
section 94B and, if successful, a consequential order for his return at least pending
the appeal. But whether the tribunal could, or if so would, give such a direction in
the teeth of a subsisting certificate is doubtful; and in any event it seems entirely
impractical for an appellant abroad to apply first for the unenforceable direction and
then for judicial review of any failure to comply with it.
66. The second suggested respect has been the subject of lengthy and lively
argument. The suggestion is that the appellant can seek to persuade the tribunal to
permit him to give live evidence from abroad by video link or, in particular
nowadays, by Skype.
67. There is no doubt that, in the context of many appeals against immigration
decisions, live evidence on screen is not as satisfactory as live evidence given in
person from the witness box. The recent decision of the Upper Tribunal (McCloskey
Page 24
P and UTJ Rintoul) in R (Mohibullah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department
[2016] UKUT 561 (IAC) concerned a claim for judicial review of the Home
Secretary’s decision to curtail a student’s leave to remain in the UK on the grounds
that he had obtained it by deception. The Upper Tribunal quashed the decision but,
in a footnote, suggested that the facility for a statutory appeal would have been
preferable to the mechanism of judicial review and that it would be preferable for
any statutory appeal to be able to be brought from within the UK. It said:
“(90) Experience has demonstrated that in such cases detailed
scrutiny of the demeanour and general presentation of parties
and witnesses is a highly important factor. So too is close
quarters assessment of how the proceedings are being
conducted – for example, unscheduled requests for the
production of further documents, the response thereto, the
conduct of all present in the courtroom, the taking of further
instructions in the heat of battle and related matters. These
examples could be multiplied. I have found the mechanism of
evidence by video link to be quite unsatisfactory in other
contexts, both civil and criminal. It is not clear whether the
aforementioned essential judicial exercises could be conducted
satisfactorily in an out of country appeal. Furthermore, there
would be a loss of judicial control and supervision of events in
the distant, remote location, with associated potential for
misuse of the judicial process.”
Although the Home Secretary stresses that the Upper Tribunal was addressing the
determination of issues relating to deception, its reservations about the giving of
evidence by electronic link seem equally apt to appeals under article 8 against
deportation orders. Indeed one might add that the ability of a witness on screen to
navigate his way around bundles is also often problematic, as is his ability to address
cross-examination delivered to him remotely, perhaps by someone whom he cannot
properly see. But, although the giving of evidence on screen is not optimum, it might
well be enough to render the appeal effective for the purposes of article 8, provided
only that the appellant’s opportunity to give evidence in that way was realistically
available to him.
68. Inquiry into the realistic availability of giving evidence on screen to the
tribunal gets off to a questionable start: for in her report entitled “2016 UK Judicial
Attitude Survey”, Professor Thomas, UCL Judicial Institute, records that 98% of the
judges of the First-tier Tribunal throughout the UK responded to her survey and that,
of them, 66% rated as poor the standard of IT equipment used in the tribunal.
Page 25
69. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Nare [2011] UKUT 443
(IAC) the Upper Tribunal (Mr CMG Ockelton VP, UTJ Grubb and IJ Holmes), in
the course of considering an allegation that a judge of the First-tier Tribunal had too
readily allowed a witness to give evidence by telephone, gave guidance as to how
the tribunal should approach any application for a direction that evidence be given
by electronic link. At that time the rules specifically provided for such a direction to
be given; now, by rules 1(4) and 14(1)(e) of the 2014 Rules, provision for it is
encompassed in the definition of a “hearing”, together with the power to direct “the
manner in which any evidence or submissions are to be provided [including] orally
at a hearing”. The Upper Tribunal prefaced its guidance by observing at para 17 that
departure from the usual model of oral evidence given directly in the courtroom was
likely to reduce the quality of evidence and the ability both of the parties to test it
and of the judge to assess it. Its guidance, given in para 21, included:
(a) that the application should be made and determined well before the
substantive hearing;
(b) that the application should not only explain the reason for evidence to
be given on screen and indicate the arrangements provisionally made at the
distant site but also include an undertaking to be responsible for any expenses
incurred;
(c) that, were the evidence to be given from abroad, the applicant should
be able to inform the tribunal that the foreign state raised no objection to the
giving of evidence to a UK tribunal from within its jurisdiction;
(d) that the applicant should satisfy the tribunal that events at the distant
site were, so far as practicable, within its observation and control, that the
evidence would be given there in formal surroundings and be subject to
control by appropriate officials and that nothing could happen off camera
which might cast doubt on the integrity of the evidence; and
(e) that a British Embassy or High Commission might be able to provide
suitable facilities.
70. Bail for Immigration Detainees (“BID”), a charity which provides a small
minority of those facing deportation with free legal advice and even representation
and which intervenes in the appeals before the court, provides a helpful example of
how the tribunal seeks to implement the guidance given in the Nare case. In 2016
BID represented a Nigerian citizen in his appeal against a deportation order by
reference to his rights under article 8. His claim had been certified under section
Page 26
94B so he had been removed to Nigeria in advance of the appeal. On his application,
through BID, to give evidence on the appeal from Nigeria by Skype, the tribunal
sought to implement the guidance summarised at para 69(d) above by the following
direction:
“The tribunal must be advised in advance of the hearing of the
arrangements made to enable the appellant to give evidence in
a secure location, attended by a local agent or representative
instructed by the appellant’s solicitors and whose identity has
at the time of such advice been provided to the tribunal.”
71. In the same order the tribunal also sought to implement the guidance
summarised at para 69(b) above by the following direction:
“All necessary equipment and Skype link must be provided and
paid for by the appellant but must include:
(i) Projection equipment
(ii) Audio equipment
(iii) Wi-fi link
to enable all present to see and hear the appellant give
evidence.”
As is apparent from this direction, the tribunal requires an applicant to pay for
provision of the necessary equipment not only at the distant end but also at the
hearing centre itself. When, in a letter written in response to the direction, BID
requested the tribunal to buy, install and maintain its own equipment for the purpose
of hearing evidence from abroad, one of its judges replied:
“Unfortunately, the Tribunal has no funds to provide
equipment or technical ability, hence the onus in that regard
we have to place upon appellants and their representatives.”
In the event the appellant represented by BID was furnished by a friend with the
equipment necessary for his use in Nigeria in giving evidence by Skype; and, since
the friend was a lawyer, he was able and willing also to exercise free of charge the
degree of control required by the tribunal. But the appellant could not afford to
purchase the equipment for use at the hearing centre; and so it was BID which
Page 27
bought a laptop computer (£240), a projector (£252) and a 3G mobile telephone
contract (£33.97 per month), for use there at the hearing of his appeal.
72. The researches of the solicitors for Mr Kiarie indicate that it would cost the
equivalent of £240 per hour to rent a video conference room for his use in Nairobi
and that therefore a rental for say seven hours, so as to enable counsel to conduct a
pre-hearing conference with him as well as to cover the probable length of the
hearing, would cost £1,680. The researches of the solicitors for Mr Byndloss indicate
that the hourly cost of renting a video conference room for his use in Kingston would
be marginally less but they estimate that it would be necessary to rent it for 11 hours
in order to cover the probably lengthier hearing of his appeal.
73. It is already clear however that the cost of hiring the necessary equipment for
use at the distant end of any evidence given by video link or Skype is only part of
the cost which an appellant must bear. He must also bear the cost of providing the
equipment for use at the hearing centre and he may well have to pay for the
attendance beside him of someone able and willing to exercise the degree of control
required by the tribunal. Apart, however, from having to meet the overall costs of
giving evidence in that way, an appellant has to confront formidable technical and
logistical difficulties. Powerful evidence is given by the appellants’ solicitors and
other legal specialists in the field to the effect that:
(a) it can be a slow and tortuous process to obtain the consent of the
foreign state for evidence to be given from within its jurisdiction;
(b) it can be difficult to achieve compatibility between the system adopted
at the distant end and the system installed at the hearing centre, with the result
that a bridging service sometimes needs to be engaged and funded;
(c) it can be difficult to alight upon a time for the link to begin and end
which is both acceptable to the tribunal and practicable at the distant end in
the light of the time difference; and
(d) if, as is not uncommon, the link fails during the hearing and cannot
then and there be restored, the tribunal can prove reluctant to grant an
adjournment to another date.
74. Apart from the difficulty surrounding his giving live evidence to the tribunal,
an appellant deported in advance of the appeal will probably face insurmountable
difficulties in obtaining the supporting professional evidence which, so this court is
told, can prove crucial in achieving its success. In support of his claim to present no
Page 28
significant risk of re-offending, an appellant is likely to wish to submit evidence
from his probation officer; but, upon his deportation, his probation officer will have
closed his file and will apparently regard himself as no longer obliged to write a
report about him. An appellant may also wish to submit evidence from a consultant
forensic psychiatrist about that level of risk. But the evidence in these proceedings
of Dr Basu MRC Psych, Clinical Director at Broadmoor Hospital, is that he has
never sought to assess the risk posed by a person visible to him only on screen and
that any such assessment would have to be treated with considerable caution. In
support of an appellant’s likely claim to have a close and active relationship with a
child, partner or other family member in the UK, an appellant will not uncommonly
adduce, as in these preliminary proceedings Mr Byndloss has already sought to do,
a report by an independent social worker who, so he hopes, will speak of the quality,
and in particular for the family the importance, of the relationship. But a report
compiled in the absence of the social worker’s direct observation of the appellant
and the family together is likely to be of negligible value.
75. It was more than 30 years ago that, in the appellate committee which
preceded the creation of this court, concern was first expressed about the value of
an appeal which was required to be brought from abroad. In R (Khawaja) v Secretary
of State for the Home Department [1984] AC 74 Lord Fraser of Tullybelton
observed at pp 97-98:
“… in spite of [a] decision … that the illegal immigrant be
removed from this country, it will still be open to him to appeal
under section 16 of [the 1971 Act] to an adjudicator against the
decision to remove him. The fact that he is not entitled to appeal
so long as he is in this country – section 16(2) – puts him at a
serious disadvantage, but I do not think it is proper to regard
the right of appeal as worthless. At least the possibility remains
that there may be cases, rare perhaps, where an appeal to the
adjudicator might still succeed.”
76. Today, however, this court is invested with responsibility for deciding
whether two foreign criminals who, by reference to article 8, each have arguable
appeals against the deportation orders made against them and who have rights
thereunder for their appeals to be effective, would suffer a breach of those rights if
they were to be deported in advance of the hearing of the appeals. I conclude that,
for their appeals to be effective, they would need at least to be afforded the
opportunity to give live evidence. They would almost certainly not be able to do so
in person. The question is: as a second best, would they be able to do so on screen?
The evidence of the Home Secretary is that in such appeals applications to give
evidence from abroad are very rare. Why? Is it because an appellant has no interest
in giving oral evidence in support of his appeal? I think not. It is because the
financial and logistical barriers to his giving evidence on screen are almost
Page 29
insurmountable. In this case the Court of Appeal has indorsed a practice in which,
so it seems, the Home Secretary has, not always but routinely, exercised her power
under section 94B to certify claims of foreign criminals under article 8. But she has
done so in the absence of a Convention-compliant system for the conduct of an
appeal from abroad and, in particular, in the absence of any provision by the
Ministry of Justice of such facilities at the hearing centre, and of some means by
which an appellant could have access to such facilities abroad, as would together
enable him to give live evidence to the tribunal and otherwise to participate in the
hearing.
77. Between 28 July 2014 and 31 December 2016 the Home Secretary issued
1,175 certificates pursuant to section 94B in relation to foreign criminals, all,
therefore, with arguable appeals. Of those 1,175 persons, the vast majority were no
doubt duly deported in advance of their appeals. But by 31 December 2016 only 72
of them had filed notice of appeal with the tribunal from abroad. It may well be that
on 13 February 2017 a few of those appeals remained undetermined. The fact
remains, however, that, as of that date, not one of the 72 appeals had succeeded.
78. It remains only to re-cast the reasoning expressed in this judgment within its
proper context of a claim that deportation pursuant to the two certificates under
section 94B would breach the procedural requirements of article 8. The appellants
undoubtedly establish that the certificates represent a potential interference with
their rights under article 8. Deportation pursuant to them would interfere with their
rights to respect for their private or family lives established in the UK and, in
particular, with the aspect of their rights which requires that their challenge to a
threatened breach of them should be effective. The burden then falls on the Home
Secretary to establish that the interference is justified and, in particular, that it is
proportionate: specifically, that deportation in advance of an appeal has a
sufficiently important objective; that it is rationally connected to that objective; that
nothing less intrusive than deportation at that stage could accomplish it; and that
such deportation strikes a fair balance between the rights of the appellants and the
interests of the community: see R (Aguilar Quila) v Secretary of State for the Home
Department [2011] UKSC 45, [2012] 1 AC 621, para 45. The alleged objectives
behind the power to certify a claim under section 94B have been set out in section F
above. I will not prolong this judgment by addressing whether the power is rationally
connected to them and as to whether nothing less intrusive could accomplish them.
I therefore turn straight to address the fair balance required by article 8 and I
conclude for the reasons given above that, while the appellants have in fact
established that the requisite balance is unfair, the proper analysis is that the Home
Secretary has failed to establish that it is fair.
Page 30
M: CONCLUSION
79. So I would allow the appeals and quash the certificates.
LORD CARNWATH:
80. I agree with Lord Wilson that these two appeals should be allowed, but my
emphasis is rather different.
81. The starting point is section 94B(2) of the 2002 Act, under which it is a
precondition of certification that the Secretary of State “considers that” removal of
P to the relevant country in advance of the hearing of the appeal “would not be
unlawful under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 …” Given the important
consequences of certification, I would read the section 6 precondition as implying a
requirement for the Secretary of State to satisfy herself, on adequate information,
that there will be no breach of section 6. In this case the alleged breaches relate to
the appellants’ respective rights under article 8 of the Convention.
82. If the section 6 precondition is satisfied, then (under subs (3)) the Secretary
of State may certify, on grounds which “include (in particular) that P would not,
before the appeals process is exhausted, face a real risk of serious irreversible harm
if removed to the (relevant) country …” The drafting is awkward. Although the
power is discretionary, and the grounds are stated to “include” absence of risk of
irreversible harm, there is no indication what other grounds there might be for
exercise of the power, or indeed for declining to exercise it. Indeed, absence of such
risk might be more readily understood as a pre-condition to certification (under subs
(2)) rather than as a positive ground for exercising the power. It is not clear why in
this respect a distinction is drawn between the pre-condition and the grounds.
83. In any event, the policy of the Secretary of State at the relevant time, as stated
in the then current guidance (dated 29 May 2015), and as confirmed by the evidence
of Mr Kenneth Welsh (the Departmental witness), was that the power to certify
should normally be exercised whenever the statutory criteria were satisfied:
“The Government’s policy is that the deportation process
should be as efficient and effective as possible. Case owners
should therefore seek to apply section 94B certification in all
applicable cases where doing so would not result in serious
irreversible harm.” (Guidance para 3.2)
Page 31
Mr Welsh tells us that “applicable cases” were intended to be confined to those
which would satisfy the precondition of compliance with section 6 of the Human
Rights Act 1998, although he accepts that the “clarity” of the guidance “could be
improved”.
84. It is unfortunate that, whether because of the awkward drafting of the section
or lack of clarity in the guidance, the existence of the section 6 precondition was
wholly overlooked at the time of the original decisions in both cases (made in
October 2014). There was no express consideration whether removal pending any
appeal would be consistent with the appellants’ rights under article 8. Nor had the
appellants been given any notice of, or chance to comment on, the proposed
certification. For those reasons, as the Court of Appeal correctly held, the decisions
were legally flawed. They accordingly fell to be quashed, unless (in the case of Mr
Byndloss) the error was remedied in the “supplementary” letter of 3 September
2015; or (in Mr Kiarie’s case, where there was no such supplementary letter) it was
clear that the errors were immaterial, in the sense that proper consideration would
have yielded the same result. The Court of Appeal so concluded in each case.
85. In considering the reasoning of Richards LJ, it is necessary to distinguish as
he did (para 39) between the substantive and the procedural aspects of rights
afforded by article 8; or as Lord Wilson puts it (para 39) between harm to the
prospective appellant himself, and harm to the prospects of his appeal. As to the
former I see no reason to disagree with Richards LJ’s conclusion that the appellants’
substantive rights would not be disproportionately infringed by temporary removal
pending a decision on their appeals, and that the Secretary of State was entitled so
to find. On that aspect, I do not understand Lord Wilson ultimately to take a different
view. His conclusions (para 78) focus on the procedural requirements of article 8.
86. In fairness to Richards LJ, however, (and in respectful disagreement with
Lord Wilson at para 35) I should add that, in the context of substantive rights, I
would not criticise him for according weight to the public interest attached by
Parliament to the removal of a foreign criminal, even in the interim period pending
an appeal. Lord Wilson observes that the limited risk of reoffending in the period
before appeal is not outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that any appeal is
effective. However, that was not the issue. No-one disputed that the appeal
mechanism needed to be effective. On the other hand, the objectives of the new
provision, indicated by the Ministerial statements quoted by Lord Wilson (para 31),
were directed, not specifically to the risk of offending in the interim period, but
rather to speeding up the process of deportation both as an end in itself, and for the
purpose of reducing what was seen as abuse by building up further claims to a settled
life. The emphasis given by Richards LJ to the public interest in deportation can be
seen as a natural extension of this court’s reasoning in Ali v Secretary of State for
the Home Department [2016] UKSC 60, [2016] 1 WLR 4799 (see para 38)
recognising the “great weight” attached to the public interest in the deportation of
Page 32
foreign offenders. That is now given statutory form in section 117C of the 2002 Act,
introduced at the same time as section 94B by the Immigration Act 2014.
87. I turn to the more difficult issue concerning the procedural aspects of article
8: whether (as Richards LJ put it – para 40) the Secretary of State took “the necessary
steps to satisfy herself that the procedural guarantees of article 8 would be met by
an out-of-country appeal before certifying under section 94B”. He was right in my
view to emphasise the duty of the Secretary of State in this respect. Under section
94B the responsibility for certification entrusted by Parliament to the Secretary of
State carries with it the responsibility to satisfy herself (if necessary with the cooperation of the Secretary of State for Justice, as the minister responsible for
supporting the tribunal system) that the procedural mechanisms to ensure an
effective appeal will (not may) be in place.
88. Lord Wilson (para 50) has summarised the relevant Strasbourg jurisprudence.
He refers in particular to the Grand Chamber decision in De Souza Ribeiro v France
(2014) 59 EHRR 454, as establishing that, while suspension of removal is not a
necessary requirement, the opportunity to challenge the removal decision must be
“effective”, that is, at para 83 –
“… the effective possibility of challenging the deportation or
refusal-of-residence order and of having the relevant issues
examined with sufficient procedural safeguards and
thoroughness by an appropriate domestic forum offering
adequate guarantees of independence and impartiality.”
I note that the Chamber in IR v United Kingdom [2014] ECHR 340; [2014] 58 EHRR
SE14 cited De Souza as illustrating the proposition that an “effective remedy” in this
context “is to be read as meaning ‘a remedy that is as effective as can be’ having
regard to the restricted scope for recourse inherent in the particular context” (para
62). I agree with Richards LJ (para 64) that it is not enough that the out-of-country
appeal may be less advantageous in some respects than an in-country appeal; article
8 does not require access to the best possible procedure, but access to one which
meets, as he puts it, “the essential requirements of effectiveness and fairness”.
89. The “relevant issues” for this purpose will depend on the circumstances of
each case. They will have to be considered within the framework explained by Lord
Reed in Ali (paras 26, 38) (based on the so-called Boultif v Switzerland (2001) 33
EHRR 50 criteria, as developed in later Strasbourg cases), and having regard to the
need to show a “very compelling” case to outweigh the presumption in favour of
deportation. It is not in dispute that judged by those criteria each of the appellants
has at least an arguable case: for Mr Kiarie based on his relative youth, his
Page 33
dependence on his family in this country, and his lack of any significant connection
with Kenya; for Mr Byndloss based principally on his ties with his various children
and the need to safeguard their interests. I agree with Lord Wilson (para 7) that the
issues in such cases, depending as they do primarily on evidence of the life, conduct
and relationships of the appellants in this country, are quite different in kind from
other more established forms of out-of-country appeal.
90. As already noted, the need to consider this issue was overlooked at the time
of the original decisions. By the time the appeals came before the Court of Appeal
(23 September 2015) the issue had been given some consideration, albeit only very
recently. The material available to the Secretary of State, and her consideration of
this issue, are apparent from the witness statement of Mr Welsh (sworn on 14
September 2015), and in the case of Mr Byndloss, the supplementary letter sent
(under Mr Welsh’s signature) a few days before. It is convenient to start with the
latter.
91. The letter, extending to 21 pages, contained a very detailed consideration of
Mr Byndloss’ substantive case under article 8, but the procedural arguments were
dealt with relatively shortly. The writer noted Mr Byndloss’ stated wish to
participate in the hearing: by giving evidence of his remorse for his crimes and his
reasons for committing them, and to show that he was a good father and was trying
to maintain contact with his children; by listening to the Home Office’s evidence
and submissions; and by assisting his representatives with preparation for the
hearing and reading. The response was that he would be able to submit a written
statement of his own evidence, supported by evidence from the mothers of the
children; and that he would be able to read the Home Office’s statements and give
instructions to his legal advisers by email. Further:
“It is open to you to apply to the Tribunal to give evidence by
video link if you and your legal representatives consider that
this is essential to the fair determination of the appeal.
Alternatively, if the Tribunal considers that oral evidence from
you on this point is essential to the fair determination of the
appeal, it can order that you give evidence by video link.”
92. There appears to have been no equivalent letter in relation to Mr Kiarie’s
procedural rights. However, Mr Welsh’s witness statement was addressed to both
appeals. It was designed to provide evidence about the practice and procedure
followed by the Secretary of State and the tribunals when dealing with out-ofcountry appeals. In respect of the latter he drew on statements said to have been
obtained from resident judges of the FTT and UT “on an informal basis”, based on
“their vast experience” of out of country appeals. Before the Court of Appeal it was
accepted for the Secretary of State that such statements could not properly be relied
Page 34
on. But in any event both the statements, and Mr Welsh’s reliance on them, are open
to the criticism that they did not adequately address the distinctive features of an
article 8 appeal in a deportation case. On the other hand, Mr Welsh fairly noted the
“practical limitations” of use of video link particularly in the First-tier Tribunal,
including the lack of facilities in some centres and competing demands from other
priorities (such as bail hearings), the need for compatibility with overseas
equipment, the need for the appellant to bear the costs, and the need to co-ordinate
timings with appeal hearings. As Richards LJ explained (para 56), in addition to
evidence on this aspect for the appellants, the Court of Appeal received a joint note
agreed by counsel providing an outline of out-of-country appellate procedures,
including guidance from the Upper Tribunal on the use of video facilities.
93. At the heart of the Court of Appeal’s reasoning, in line with the submissions
of the Secretary of State, was the proposition that the tribunal, whose independence
and impartiality were not in doubt, could be relied on to provide the necessary
procedural safeguards to ensure a fair process. As Richards LJ said, at para 65:
“They will be alert to the fact that out of country appeals are
a new departure in deportation cases, and they will be aware
of the particular seriousness of deportation for an appellant
and his family. All this can be taken into account in the
conduct of an appeal. If particular procedures are needed in
order to enable an appellant to present his case properly or for
his credibility to be properly assessed, there is sufficient
flexibility within the system to ensure that those procedures
are put in place. That applies most obviously to the provision
of facilities for video conferencing or other forms of two-way
electronic communication or, if truly necessary, the issue of a
witness summons so as to put pressure on the Secretary of
State to allow the appellant’s attendance to give oral evidence
in person.”
94. He acknowledged the difficulties for any appellant, particularly when
unrepresented, in preparing evidence for an appeal and presenting it to the tribunal.
But he did not regard these as sufficient to amount to a denial of effective
participation in the decision-making process:
“In these days of electronic communications, an out of country
appellant does not face serious obstacles to the preparation or
submission of witness statements or the obtaining of relevant
documents for the purposes of an appeal. He can instruct a
lawyer in the UK if he has the funds to do so. If he does not have
the funds to instruct a lawyer but the case is so complex that an
Page 35
appeal cannot properly be presented without the assistance of a
lawyer, he will be entitled to legal aid under the exceptional
funding provisions considered in R (Gudanaviciene) v Director
of Legal Aid Casework …” (para 66)
95. In considering that reasoning, in my view, it is necessary to distinguish
between two separate elements: first, the ability of the appellant from abroad to
assemble evidence and prepare and present his case; secondly, his ability to give
oral evidence if required. In doing so we have the advantage of the new evidence (in
the form of a witness statement by Mr Makhlouf, Assistant Director of BID),
submitted by Mr Fordham without objection from the Secretary of State, as to the
practical problems for appellants of conducting effective appeals from abroad.
96. On the first element, as Lord Wilson explains (para 60), it is at best uncertain
what assistance will be available to an appellant without resources of his own when
conducting his appeal from abroad. Richards LJ, at para 66, referred to the potential
availability of exceptional legal aid funding under the provisions considered in R
(Gudanaviciene) v Director of Legal Aid Casework. However, Mr Makhlouf refers
to the difficulties in practice for those in the position of the appellants to obtain legal
aid under these provisions. Without such assistance, or assistance from a body such
as BID, it is difficult to see how an appellant from abroad can realistically prepare
and present an effective appeal. Even if such legal assistance were available (as it
appears to be in the present cases), there are likely to be major logistical problems
in ensuring that documents are made available and instructions obtained in the runup and during the course of the hearing.
97. With regard to the second element, there is a dispute between the parties as
to the likely importance of such direct oral evidence from the appellant in person.
Mr Drabble submits that in deportation appeals, as contrasted with entry clearance
appeals, such evidence is likely to be of central importance. He relies on comments
of the Upper Tribunal (Blake J and Judge Goldstein) in Secretary of State for the
Home Department v Gheorghiu [2016] UKUT 24 (IAC) para 22(iv):
“… in cases where the central issue is whether the offender has
sufficiently been rehabilitated to diminish the risk to the public
from his behaviour, the experience of immigration judges has
been that hearing and seeing the offender give live evidence
and the enhanced ability to assess the sincerity of that evidence
is an important part of the fact-finding process (see for example
the observations of this Tribunal as to the benefits of having
heard the offender in Masih (Pakistan) [2012] UKUT 46 (IAC)
at para 18; see also Lord Bingham in Huang [2007] 2 AC 167
at para 15).”
Page 36
98. By contrast Lord Keen for the Secretary of State, at para 90 of his case,
submits that the issues raised in a deportation appeal brought by a foreign criminal
are unlikely to require live evidence from the appellant:
“The nature and extent of the foreign criminal’s ties to the UK,
including his length of residence and relationship with family
members, is rarely in dispute. In those rare cases in which there
is a dispute concerning, for example, the extent of a foreign
criminal’s relationship with a partner and/or her children, it is
usually the evidence of the partner that is of most significance
in resolving that dispute. The critical and determinative
question is whether the interests of the foreign criminal and/or
any affected family members are sufficient to outweigh the
public interest in deportation. That resolves to a matter of
judgment for the Tribunal, and very rarely turns on issues of
disputed fact.”
99. He points out correctly that Gheorghiu was concerned with different
legislation (Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006, regulation 21(5)(c)) under which
the issue was whether the applicant represented a “present and sufficiently serious
threat” (judgment para 9), thus raising directly the issue of his propensity to
reoffend. There is no equivalent in the Ali criteria. Indeed, the Upper Tribunal in
Gheorghiu had expressly distinguished the decision of the Court of Appeal in the
present case.
100. Lord Wilson attaches weight in particular to the need, as he sees it, for the
appellant to demonstrate by direct evidence (subject to cross-examination) his
remorse and that he is a reformed character (paras 55(f), 61). For my part I have
considerable doubts whether an “effective” appeal is likely to turn on such
subjective issues. I see force in Lord Keen’s submission that in general application
of the Ali criteria is likely to turn on the evaluation of factual matters which are either
not in dispute, or capable of proof by evidence other than of the appellant in person.
101. It is true that one of the Boultif criteria concerns “the time elapsed since the
commission of the offences and the applicant’s conduct in during that period”. As
the Grand Chamber explained in Maslov v Austria [2008] ECHR 546, [2009] INLR
47, para 90, a significant period of good conduct since the offence “has a certain
impact on the assessment of the risk which that person poses to society”. However,
there is no suggestion in the court’s own consideration of that issue in Maslov (paras
91-95) that it was seen as depending on subjective evidence as to the state of mind
of the appellant, as opposed to objective evidence as to his actual conduct in the
relevant period. So far as I am aware, there is nothing in the Strasbourg case law to
Page 37
support a general view that oral evidence by the appellant is a necessary part of an
“effective” appeal in the sense explained in De Souza Ribeiro.
102. However, I would be cautious about reaching a firm view on that issue, given
my very limited practical experience of dealing with such issues at first hand, and I
do not think it is necessary to do so. The problem for the Secretary of State seems
to me more fundamental. As Lord Keen I think would accept, it would be wrong in
principle for the Secretary of State, as the opposing party to the appeal, to be allowed
to dictate the conduct of the appellant’s case or the evidence on which he chooses to
rely. There may, as Mr Welsh acknowledges, be cases where the appellant fairly
believes that direct oral evidence is necessary, and in any event he may reasonably
wish to participate actively in the appeal by hearing and responding to the evidence
as it emerges. Lord Keen relies on the appellant’s ability to apply to the tribunal to
give evidence by video link, and on the tribunal’s power, if it considers the request
well founded, to give effect to it by use of its “extensive case management powers”.
That response only works if the Secretary of State is able, at the time of certification,
to satisfy herself that the necessary facilities can and will be provided. She cannot
afford to wait until the case comes before the tribunal, since by then it may be too
late.
103. I see no reason in principle why use of modern video facilities should not
provide an effective means of providing oral evidence and participation from
abroad, so long as the necessary facilities and resources are available. (Things have
moved a long way since the comments of Lord Fraser in R (Khawaja) v Secretary
of State for the Home Department [1984] AC 74, to which Lord Wilson refers: para
75.) However, the evidence of Mr Welsh shows how far the material before the
Secretary of State at the time of the relevant decisions fell short of demonstrating
how that objective was to be achieved. The agreed note before the Court of Appeal
(para 56) did not take things much further. That put the burden on the applicant to
make all the necessary arrangements at his own cost, as was arguably appropriate
for a party seeking an indulgence to depart from the norm. It did not address the
problem of a party who, due to his forced removal the country, and with limited
resources, is unable to present his evidence or participate in the hearing in any other
way. The problems are underlined by the unchallenged evidence of BID described
by Lord Wilson (paras 70-73). There is no evidence that any serious consideration
had been given by the Secretary of State, at the time of certification or later, to how
those problems were to be overcome in practice. Without such consideration I do
not see how she could satisfy herself that the appeal would be “effective”.
Conclusion
104. It is unfortunate that these appeals have come to us by a less than ideal route.
They started with decisions by the Secretary of State on a flawed basis and without
Page 38
regard to what has become the critical issue. They proceeded to the Court of Appeal
without any detailed consideration of this issue by the Upper Tribunal. Finally, some
of the most compelling evidence (now available from BID) has come in very late in
the day, and without time for evaluation by the tribunal or the Court of Appeal. With
hindsight, it might have been better if the Court of Appeal, having decided to grant
permission, had remitted the substantive application to be dealt with by a specially
convened panel of the Upper Tribunal. That would have enabled it to look in detail
at what is required to ensure an effective appeal in cases such as this. We are
therefore lacking assistance from the body which is best equipped, and will
ultimately be responsible, for determining what a fair and effective procedure
requires. Neither the Court of Appeal, nor still less this court, has equivalent
expertise or experience. It may be that the best way to clarify these issues would be
some form of a test case before the Upper Tribunal, at which the practicalities can
be looked at in more detail, and guidance developed for the future.
105. For the moment, we have to deal with the appeals as best we can on the
available material. As I have said, having made the initial decisions on a flawed
basis it was for the Secretary of State to satisfy us that the error was immaterial. Her
problem is that there is no real evidence of consideration of the practical problems
involved in cases such as these in preparing and presenting a case from abroad. I am
far from saying that those problems cannot be overcome. However, the evidence
before us does not show that the Secretary of State had the material necessary to
satisfy herself, before certification, that the procedural rights of these appellants
under article 8 would be protected. On that limited basis I would allow the appeal.