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ECO loses in Supreme Court


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The appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal judgment in DL (DRC) and ZN (Afghanistan) [2008] EWCA Civ 1420 succeeded yesterday, on the day it was heard. Judgment is to follow.

The case turns on the question of whether a recognised refugee who has now been granted British citizenship can benefit from the refugee family reunion rules, with their waiver of the normal maintenance and accommodation rules. Common sense, the natural and ordinary meaning of the words of the rules and the underlying humanitarian principle that motivates the refugee family reunion rules (reuniting families divided by repression) would all suggest ‘yes’. A particular division of the tribunal and then the Court of Appeal felt differently. It was notable that for many years all other immigration judges and senior immigration judges had not followed the restrictive approach latterly adopted. Some might feel that examples like this call into question the reported case committee and the case citation practice direction, which unfortunately have been transplanted wholesale into the new tribunal system.

Congratulations to the very recently relocated Edward Nicholson, junior counsel for ZN. Perhaps he’ll stop running the arguments every time we see each other and we can just complain about judges, like normal barristers.

Links to follow once the judgment is available. I’m particularly interested to see the exact terms of the judgment as a decision is pending for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal in MS Somalia [2009] UKAIT 00041 and it will undoubtedly have an impact.

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming judgment following KJ (Sri Lanka) [2009] EWCA Civ 292. The case was heard in the Supreme Court some weeks ago but the outcome was not announced and the judgment is still not out. It should be a very interesting read as it raises some meaty issues around the Refugee Convention exclusion clauses and criminal liability in international criminal law.

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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.