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

Legal test when arguing suicide risk to challenge removal


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New from the Upper Tribunal: MY (Suicide risk after Paposhvili) Occupied Palestinian Authority [2021] UKUT 232 (IAC). The case is about migrants who seek to rely on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights to resist removal from the UK on the basis that they are very seriously ill and their condition would deteriorate in the country of return.

This often arises in the context of physical illness, but it extends to mental illness as well. In this case, the appellant was “at high risk of suicide”.

The judgment explains the legal test in such (thankfully rare) cases. The official headnote reads:

Where an individual asserts that he would be at real risk of (i) a significant, meaning substantial, reduction in his life expectancy arising from a completed act of suicide and/or (ii) a serious, rapid and irreversible decline in his state of mental health resulting in intense suffering falling short of suicide, following return to the Receiving State and meets the threshold for establishing Article 3 harm identified at [29] – [31] of the Supreme Court’s judgment in AM (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 17[2020] Imm AR 1167, when undertaking an assessment the six principles identified at [26] – [31] of J v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2005] EWCA Civ 629[2005] Imm AR 409 (as reformulated in Y (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 362) apply.

We don’t think this adds a huge amount to the existing law in this area, but certainly worth a read if handling such a case now or in future.

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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.