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AA (Zimbabwe) test case


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The test case of AA (Zimbabwe), mentioned in previous posts, is being dropped by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in favour of another case, called HS (Zimbabwe). This is apparently because the AIT did not want to have to deal with argument about what issues the Court of Appeal ordered should be re-argued.

The new test case has been listed for a one week hearing starting 23rd July 2007 and will deal with refugee status issues, Article 3 ECHR issues and will also consider risk of ill-treatment on return, humanitarian conditions in the country and what deterioration has occurred since last summer.

The HS case was actually one in which the Immigration Advisory Service were representing. The Refugee Legal Centre were the represetatives in the AA case. Given the at times unhealthy rivalry between the two organisations, both offshoots of the now defunct United Kingdom Immigrants’ Advice Service, this might have been significant, and I can’t help wondering whether this was deliberate on the part of the AIT. However,  given the excellent work done by RLC on the AA case, IAS has very sensibly transferred the case to RLC, so the legal team remains the same: the indomitable Sonal Ghelani and extremely able Mark Henderson of Doughty Street Chambers.

In the meantime, it is rumoured that the Administrative Division of the High Court is staying all Zimbabwean matters until the outcome of the new test case.

Will the new test case be the last word, though? There’s very little chance of either side accepting the result, so an appeal is almost inevitable. The Home Office simply cannot, for political reasons, accept a class action by which all Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK become entitled to status. And the legal team for the appellants will always be able to find holes in a supposedly comprehensive decision by the AIT. The only thing that can bring this neverending litigation to an end is the fall of Robert Mugabe.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


7 Responses

  1. May you please comment on Zimbabwean cases that were allowed by immigration judges before AA hearing in April 2006.Reconsideration was not granted on request by the Home Office,and since last year these cases are still awaiting hearing by the High Court,a year and some months now,as Home Office requested a second reconsideration.Cases that had reconsideration granted have been disposed off by the High Court, those that were allowed and Home Office did not get a reconsideration order are still pending.May you please explain these issues please.

  2. I can’t give legal advice, I’m afraid. The Home Office is capable of extraordinarily double standards in immigration, though. If they lose a case and appeal it, they say it is the old law that applies in the meantime. See the certificate of approval mess caused by the Baiai case. If they win and the other side appeals, they say the opposite.

    There was a good example over the original AA Court of Appeal victory. The Home Secretary said that it was ridiculous that the courts could decide so many cases in one go and that each case had to be looked at individually. Do they say the same when they win a big country guideline case? I think not.

    The problem with bringing challenges in these sorts of situations is that the challenge may get stayed by the courts while the main case is sorted out, so you don’t end up getting anywhere.

  3. Please can someone tell me how long can people suffer. When immigration hold decesion for more than 5 years. Is it possible for the home office to give individuals same time , if they lose cases in the courts?

    Since home office wishes not to give these people papers/status can they issue them united nation status so they can stay in other countries.

  4. I’ll be writing a post shortly on the 5 year wait that may immigrants are now facing before their cases are resolved because of the ‘Legacy’ exercise announced by John Reid last June.

  5. can you please explain to me the new asylum model being used by the home office?