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Appellants can be expected to prove negative nationality says Tribunal


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  1. Article 4(1) of the Qualification Directive does not impose a shared duty of cooperation on the Member State to substantiate an applicant’s nationality.
  1. Article 4(2) refers to documentation (including documentation regarding nationality(ies)) “at the applicant’s disposal” – which must include documentation which is not in the applicant’s present possession but is within his or her  power to obtain.
  1. The terms of Article 4(3) are consistent with the position that an applicant who denies he is a national of a country where he could obtain protection can be expected to take reasonable steps to establish that he is not such a national.

The Appellant failed to prove that she was Eritrean because

…she had failed to give correct answers to questions about Eritrea regarding opening hours of shops, school uniforms, traditional sports, winter months in Assab, the name of the ancient city near Assab, the ancient islands in the Bay of Assab, the second port in Eritrea, the name of the section of Assab by the shoreline and the part of the section of Assab in the centre.

That does not sound like a very good set of test questions to me. The Appellant had then failed to prove she was not Ethiopian. Appeal dismissed.

Source: MW (Nationality; Art 4 QD; duty to substantiate) [2016] UKUT 453 (IAC) (3 October 2016)

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.