Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Error not to adjourn


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In the recent case of AK (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWCA Civ 941 the Court of Appeal held that an immigration judge had committed an error of law in failing to adjourn a hearing when the appellant had been ditched by his legal representative the day before the hearing.
The law centre in 1983
Harehills and Chapeltown Law Centre in 1983

There was a bit of history to the case, in that a previous adjournment had been granted and one of his previous representatives, Freemans, had dumped the appellant because they took the view that there was insufficient merit in the case to justify public funding. The Immigration Advisory Service declined to take the case on but referred the client to Harehills and Chapeltown law centre, who for reasons unexplained abandoned the client the day before the hearing.

The case should make immigration judges think twice about going ahead where it appears an appellant has been badly let down by a representative. However, the case most certainly is not authority for failure to adjourn always amounting to an error of law. It is a lesson in the importance of showing that an error is material, because what swung the case was that the new representatives, Wilson and Co, had managed to find evidence that might lead to the appeal being allowed, but which the appellant had not had an opportunity to present to the tribunal.

By the by, it sounds like an interesting substantive case. It concerns whether the gender reassigned (I think that means those who have a sex change in old speak, which is presumably now politically incorrect in some way) might amount to a particular social group in Iran.

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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.


2 Responses

  1. I liked Sedley LJ’s comment

    “This is, after all, not civil litigation in which one party may have to be stopped from stealing a march on the other by procrastination. It is, or ought to be, a collaborative endeavour to get at the truth by the best available means.”

    Something to be kept in mind by all parties at the AIT.

    What the case is about itself is confusing, they refer to the appellant as a pre-operative transsexual rather than living as a man, but then go on to use male pro-nouns. From all the diverity training we get put through I would have thought “she” would have been more appropriate, I’d be surprised if they are still living as their original gender after almost 3 years in the UK….but if the appellant is living as a man, then whats all the fuss about, they clearly aren’t that committed?

    1. I dont think the Home Office should attempt to make fun of this type of story, especially given the nationalities of the people concerned, given that their countries’ of origin have been sigular victims of this country’s foreign policy.

      Tears for onion farmers following arrests

      14 September 2009

      Six onion farmers from Iraq and Palestine have been arrested by the UK Border Agency after they were caught working illegally in Upper Stoke, Kent.

      Officers leading the pre-planned operation, codenamed Kometa, swooped on two cars transporting workers to an onion farm at 0700 on Wednesday 9 September 2009 and interviewed the seven male occupants.

      Six were identified and arrested by the local immigration crime team as failed asylum seekers who had no right to work.