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Useful case (Pope is Catholic) [2014] UKUT 00000


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The immigration tribunal reporting committee has been selecting some rather odd cases for reporting. It is a good job there aren’t any difficult legal issues in immigration and asylum law still out there on which judges, lawyers and litigants need guidance and that the tribunal is able to turn its collective mind to matters such as Budhathoki (reasons for decisions) [2014] UKUT 00341 (IAC):

It is generally unnecessary and unhelpful for First-tier Tribunal judgments to rehearse every detail or issue raised in a case. This leads to judgments becoming overly long and confused and is not a proportionate approach to deciding cases. It is, however, necessary for judges to identify and resolve key conflicts in the evidence and explain in clear and brief terms their reasons, so that the parties can understand why they have won or lost.

And this from the same tribunal that brings us the gargantuan country guidance cases, perhaps the longest, most unwieldy and most overturned series of cases in the history of law.

In the same vein, although perhaps of slightly more utility is Greenwood (Automatic Deportation: Order of Events) [2014] UKUT 00342 (IAC):

1. Do the crime
2. Do the time
3. Get put on the airline

Or more prosaically:

(1) The appealable decision that s 32(5) of the UK Borders Act 2007 applies is not invalid by reason of being dated after the deportation order to which it relates.
(2) In an appeal against automatic deportation there is no appeal against a decision to deport or against the order to deport, but only against the decision that s 32(5) applies.
(3) If the First-tier Tribunal gives directions under s 86 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 they should be clear, so that the person affected knows whether to challenge them and everybody can tell whether they have been complied with.
(4) It does not appear that the First-tier Tribunal has power to ‘remit’ to the Secretary of State.

It is a bit depressing to see cases selected for reporting as a substitute for judicial training or slightly less public guidance on basic issues. It isn’t that there are no interesting or big legal issues out there, more that the modern Upper Tribunal (or perhaps more accurately the reporting committee) either or both lacks the ambition to tackle them or is settling instead for using case reports as a means of judicial control, to instruct rather than inform.

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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.