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Man accused of tax dishonesty fails to get old appeal reopened


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In R (Akram) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1072, the Court of Appeal has confirmed the high bar for reopening old judgments. The appellant tried to reopen an old judicial review in which he had challenged the refusal of an indefinite leave to remain application made on the grounds that he had previously submitted dishonest tax returns.

The Court of Appeal decided last year in Balajigari [2019] EWCA Civ 673 that the Home Office had been routinely failing to comply with procedural fairness requirements when refusing applications on those grounds. The problem for Mr Akram was that, even before the decision in Balajigari, the Court of Appeal had decided that he had had sufficient opportunity to respond to the Home Office’s concerns about his tax returns. In dismissing the attempt to re-open the appeal, Lord Justice Hickinbottom said:

… the Applicant not only had an opportunity to put forward his case on dishonesty prior to the administrative review decision, he availed himself of that opportunity; and the decision-maker duly took into account all of the material submitted. It is clear that the Applicant has suffered no possible injustice by virtue of the fact that the Secretary of state did not adopt a “minded to refuse” procedure before making the initial decision of 28 April 2016.

This, combined with the fact that Mr Akram still has an outstanding indefinite leave to remain application, meant that the high hurdle for reopening an appeal had not been reached.

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Alex Schymyck

Alex Schymyck

Alex is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers