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Ominous news for appellants seeking to rely upon witness evidence by video from abroad

It is not surprising that a tribunal that is concerned with immigration matters should receive applications that witnesses should be permitted to give evidence from abroad by video. Appellants already faced procedural obstacles to the admission of that evidence, which requires the consent of the foreign government.

Refusals to grant such permission from oppressive regimes always seemed likely. But I confess that I had never imagined that developed, democratic countries would take such a stance. Sadly, it seems that was overly optimistic and the German government, at least, will not consent, as the following extract from Andrew Evans v R&V Allgemeine Verisherung AG [2022] EWHC 2436 (QB) makes clear:

“[5]…    On the morning of the second day it became apparent that the witnesses were not present and as such a formal application was made by counsel for the defendant to hear their evidence by video. It became clear as set out in my earlier judgment on this matter that the foreign office had indicated that they had a diplomatic objection to that; the German government had stated that they would not allow German nationals to give evidence by video in courts of foreign jurisdictions. As such the foreign office says (in an email that was read to me by counsel) that they too objected. Nevertheless, an application was made for me to ignore the diplomatic objection and hear such evidence. I refused that application.”

Quite why Germany should take that position, which seems likely to disadvantage its own nationals in immigration appeals in the United Kingdom, is unclear.

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James Packer

‘Exceptionally diligent’ and ‘Exceptional’ is what Legal 500 2013 says about James Packer. James has been recognised as a Leading Lawyer in his Field within the Chambers UK 2014 edition and has been highly recommended for his expertise by Legal 500 2013 for both his Public Law and Immigration work.