In this case, the London Reading College challenged the revocation of its Tier 4 Sponsor’s Licence by the UK Border Agency, the effect of which was that it was unable to continue sponsoring overseas students (who formed the overwhelming majority of the college’s clientele). This meant that the College had to cease teaching, refund its pupils, lay off staff and vacate its premises.
The College contended firstly that the revocation of its licence was in breach of natural justice (on the basis that it had not been given an opportunity to comment on the prospective reason for revocation prior to a final decision being taken), secondly that UKBA had acted irrationally bearing in mind the express provisions in its own policy for alternative less Draconian sanctions (such as downgrading to a ‘B rated’ sponsor), and thirdly that the revocation of the licence was in breach of Article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR (on the basis that the licence was a ‘possession’, the deprivation of which had to be in accordance with the law and proportionate). The relief sought by the College includes very substantial damages under section 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Court (Neil Garnham QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) allowed the claim and held that the revocation of the licence was in breach of natural justice and contrary to Article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR. The revocation was quashed and a further hearing on the assessment of damages under s.8 of the HRA 1998 is pending.
Charles Banner acted for the successful claimant, London Reading College Ltd, instructed by Hafiz & Haque Solicitors.