UK - Court of Appeal, AA (Iran), R (on the application of) v Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) & Anor, [2013] EWCA Civ 1523

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
26-11-2013
Citation:
[2013] EWCA Civ 1523
Court Name:
Court of Appeal
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
UK - Asylum Seekers (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2005 - Reg 6
UK - Borders
Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 - Section 55
UK - Children Act 1989 - Section 1
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Headnote: 

This case concerns the State’s obligation under Article 19(3) of the Reception Direction to trace the family members of unaccompanied child asylum applicants.  The Court considers the effect on their claims where there is a failure by the State to carry out that duty.

Facts: 

The applicant arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied minor and claimed asylum. He was refused asylum at first instance by the UK government, and subsequently on appeal at the Tribunal. Adverse credibility findings were made in both cases – it was not believed that he was at risk of persecution on grounds of imputed political opinion, and it was not believed that he had lost all contact with his family, nor that his father had been killed.

The applicant claimed that the UK’s failure to fulfil its duty to attempt to trace his family members in Iran was adverse to his claim because, had the UK government done so, it might have assisted him in establishing credibility. Had tracing been attempted it may have produced material which would have assisted his case (namely, that his family cannot be found).

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court relied on its earlier decision in the case of KA (Afghanistan), citing paragraph 25 of that case for the proposition that the relevance of the government’s failure to trace a child’s family members depends on the facts. In this case, the core of the applicant’s asylum claim was disbelieved by the Tribunal, which then went on to make a finding that the applicant’s assertion he had no contact with his family was also not credible. The Court held that this was a reasonable finding for the Tribunal to make as if there was no persecution it was more likely than not that the applicant did indeed have family contact. Although the government had admittedly failed in its duty to attempt to trace his family, on the facts of this case, the Court was of the view that it had no impact on the rejection of his claim.  

Outcome: 

Appeal dismissed.

Observations/Comments: 

See further KA Afghanistan, for an explanation of the same principles.

Case Law Cited: 

UK - Court of Appeal, SS (Nigeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2013] EWCA Civ 550

UK - High Court, R(Tinizaray) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2011] EWHC 1850

UK - Court of Appeal, EU (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2013] Imm AR 496 CA

UK - Court of Appeal, DS (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2011] INLR 389

United Kingdom - Court of Appeal, KA (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2013] 1 WLR 615