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Court of Appeal pronounces on abolished “no ties” private life rule


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It is of academic interest given that the Immigration Rules were changed on 27 July 2014, but for what it is worth the Court of Appeal has considered the old “no ties” version of paragraph 276ADE on private life in the UK. This used to provide that a person would be permitted to stay if he or she:

(vi) is aged 18 years or above, has lived continuously in the UK for less than 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment) but has no ties (including social, cultural or family) with the country to which he would have to go if required to leave the UK.

The case is R (on the application of Akpan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1266 (10 December 2015) and Sales LJ approves the UT case of Ogundimu (Article 8 – New Rules) Nigeria [2013] UKUT 60 (IAC), already approved in YM (Uganda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 1292, but on the facts goes on to dismiss the appeal.

Ms Akpan entered the UK as a child aged 14 in 2003 and had remained since then, a period of 12 years. Her ties to the UK were undoubtedly strong and she graduated from King’s College with a degree in nursing but in the Court’s view she had not adequately proven the negative, i.e. that she had no ties to Nigeria. It seems that it was thought she might have some sort of undefined “cultural” ties there because she had lived there for the first 14 years of her life and that she still had family there, even though there had been no contact for 12 years.

Some may wonder about the wisdom of requiring any person to prove a negative and on failing to grant status to a young lady with a degree in nursing resident in the UK since the age of 14.

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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.