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R. (on the application of L) v Secretary of State for the Home Department

DATE: 24 Jan 2003

ZL, a Roma from the Czech Republic, applied for permission to appeal against a decision ([2002] EWHC 2660) refusing her leave to seek judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to reject her asylum claim as manifestly unfounded. That decision would have justified ZL’s removal from the United Kingdom under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 s.115(6) and meant that she would have had to pursue her claim from outside the jurisdiction. ZL’s husband who had applied for asylum prior to ZL under previous asylum procedures was able to remain in the UK whilst he appealed the decision. On their arrival into the UK, ZL and her son had claimed asylum and had been moved to Oakington reception centre where they were interviewed and where their claims were subsequently rejected. ZL contended that (1) the claim was processed, rejected and certified before the 2002 Act had been promulgated; (2) the decision had been taken in the absence of procedural safeguards and the procedures adopted at Oakington were unfair, and (3) the decision to certify was unfounded.

Held, refusing the application, that (1) despite a delay between Royal Assent and publication of the 2002 Act, the court was able to review ZL’s evidence which removed the unfairness which would have resulted from the use of s.115 before the Act was promulgated; (2) although there was no prescribed procedure for processing s.115 asylum claims, Oakington only processed such claims on a fast track basis. The procedures provided an adequate opportunity to present an arguable case dependent on individual experiences. The procedures enabled representations to be made and were not inherently unfair, and (3) the decision to certify had been sound. The treatment which ZL had received in the Czech Republic had not breached the Human Rights Act 1998 Sch.1 Part I Art.3 and sufficient protection had been provided by the Czech authorities. Further, ZL’s removal from the jurisdiction would not have amounted to a breach of Art.8. Accordingly, the Secretary of State could rule against ZL’s claim and could issue a certificate requiring ZL to pursue an appeal from outside the UK.

Samantha Broadfoot represented the Secretary of State.