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

Home Office wins appeal against award of £125,000 damages


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The Court of Appeal has overturned the fruity findings of Anthony Thornton QC in the case of R (on the application of Patel) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 645. The case was widely reported at the time, including on this blog (Family visitor receives £125,000 damages for mistreatment by immigration officials. The findings of fact and the award of £125,000 in damages are overturned and a new trial ordered:

Despite the glaring shortcomings in the way in which the Secretary of State chose to advance her case, therefore, I do not think that the judge was entitled on the limited evidence before him to make findings of outright dishonesty, malicious behaviour and conspiracy on the part of the various individuals concerned.

The result on appeal is not a total surprise. In my write up at the time I said:

I confess to feeling a sense of unease as I read the judgment. It took me a while to work out why: it bears some similarities to asylum decisions where civil servants or judges ascribe motives to various actors and make simplistic assumptions about the motivation for behaviour. Generally with the Home Office, incompetence is to blame rather than conspiracy and for at least some of the actions by the immigration officials involved in this case, ignorance and incompetence are potentially plausible explanations for their actions.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

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.