UK Court of Appeal: no entitlement to indefinite leave to remain for applicant who committed crimes against humanity

Thursday, March 1, 2018

On 1 March 2018, the England and Wales Court of Appeal ruled in case Babar v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department concerning a Pakistani national who unsuccessfully applied for asylum in the UK in 2001 and was granted exceptional leave to remain since there was a real risk that he would be detained and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment if returned. He was excluded from the scope of the 1951 Refugee Convention because there were serious reasons for believing that he had been a party to serious criminal wrongdoings, namely crimes against humanity. In 2012, the applicant applied for indefinite leave to remain based on his continued residence in the UK, his close family ties with his wife and his children, and his work record. The Secretary of State refused the application and simultaneously made a decision to remove the applicant to Pakistan, taking into account that he had been able to return to Pakistan before without the authorities showing any interest in him.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the Upper Tribunal had failed to give proper weight to the “very powerful” justification of denying settlement to those who have committed crimes against humanity. Being a safe haven for those who have committed such offences, the Court argued, would be a breach of the UK’s international obligations and would undermine its international standing. Only very compelling circumstances could outweigh the public interest in denying settlement to persons who have committed such crimes.

Therefore, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Secretary of State and declared that the applicant had no entitlement to an indefinite leave to remain. Since he has no leave to remain in the UK, the applicant can be returned if his argument that his removal would be in breach of Article 8 ECHR fails before the courts. As agreed between the parties, the applicant’s complaint under Article 8 ECHR was remitted from the First-tier Tribunal to the Upper Tribunal.


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Crime against humanity
Exclusion from protection
Family unity (right to)
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment