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Certification of Albanian asylum claims as clearly unfounded overturned by Court of Appeal


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Certification of Albanian asylum claims as clearly unfounded were in this case overturned by the Court of Appeal. Much turns on the individual circumstances of the case. An important point of law is on the threshold for certifying an asylum claim as “totally without merit” is as follows:

75. The correct test, however, is, as Ms Anderson observed, not whether there is any prospect of “anyone” believing an account to be true, but whether the First-tier Tribunal, properly directing itself as to the law and as to the facts on the evidence before it, would so conclude. The tribunal has to assess the evidence of a claimant in the round and against the body of relevant objective evidence.

In response to the concern at conflation between refusing an asylum claim and certifying it as “totally without merit”, Lord Justice Beatson restated the test:

100. The court will be concerned with the substantive integrity of the analysis displayed in the decision letter when giving the reasons for rejecting the application for asylum. If that is consistent with there being more than one view of the claim, or states only that the claim is “undermined” (as opposed to being one which no tribunal properly directing itself as to the law and as to the facts on the evidence before it could accept), or as simply being the Secretary of State’s view, a court exercising the intensive review that (see [48] and [62] above) is undertaken in certification cases may conclude that the Secretary of State’s own analysis has not shown that the claim is bound to fail in the tribunal.

Source: FR & Anor (Albania), R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 605 (23 June 2016)

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Paul Erdunast

Paul Erdunast is a barrister at Temple Garden Chambers in London (https://tgchambers.com/member-profile/paul-erdunast/). Prior to this he was Legal and Parliamentary Officer at ILPA, where he delivered immigration law training and spoke at conferences. In previous jobs he lectured on asylum law and provided EU migrants with immigration advice.