R v SSHD ex p ZO and Others [2009]

On a second appeal to the Court of Appeal the Administrative Court's narrow construction of Directive 2003/9/EC finally was overturned with the Court of Appeal agreeing a broader interpretation that this 'Reception directive' concerning the basic rights to be accorded to asylum seekers while their claims are being considered, also applied to those making subsequent applications for asylum, their initial claims having already been rejected. The case has particular significance as, through acknowledged administrative failings prior to March 2007, the Home Office accumulated a backlog of 450,000 such cases. Article 11 of the Directive should allow many, some of whom have been waiting for 5 or more years, the dignity to get a job and support themselves, rather than rely on the charity of friends or subsistence payments from the Home Office itself.  The SSHD has been reluctant to accept this Judgement leading to a further 100 cases being lodged in the Administrative Court raising the same point.  The SSHD sought a stay of all of these cases pending an appeal to the Supreme Court in ZO, despite having granted the three Claimants in that case permission to work and not having sought a stay from the Court of Appeal.  I acted last week on the test case on this narrow issue, PS (CO/4334/09), in which the Administrative Court rejected the SSHD's application and made a mandatory order for the Claimant to be granted permission to work.

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