United Kingdom: the High Court of Northern Ireland has quashed the decision of the UK Border Agency to remove a Darfuri family from the UK to Ireland

Friday, October 4, 2013

The High Court of Northern Ireland, in ALJ and A, B and C, Re Judicial Review [2013] NIQB 88 (14 August 2013), quashed the decision following consideration of the best interests of the child. Mr Justice Stephens did not base his decision on Ireland's reception conditions, rejecting 'all the applicants' grounds of challenge which rely on the contention that there is a systemic deficiency, known to the United Kingdom, in Ireland's asylum or reception procedures amounting to substantial grounds for believing that the asylum seeker would face a real risk of being subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 4 of the Charter) on return to Ireland' (para 110).

Instead, the judge relied on section 55 of the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Act 2009, which requires that 'any function of the Secretary of State in relation to immigration, asylum or nationality' is 'discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the United Kingdom'. The judge considered that the child's best interests required the family to remain in the UK for a number of reasons, set out in para 102 of the judgment, relating to job prospects, accommodation, family life, and a sense of belonging. In addition, the judge highlighted evidence of asylum seekers in Irish Direct Accommodation provision suffering from physical and mental health problems, and was critical of Ireland's opting out of the Reception Conditions Directive. Finally, the judge noted the automatic asylum for non-Arab Darfuris in Northern Ireland. The same simple clarity is not the case in the Irish Republic, where uncertainty as to refugee status would await the family.

Read the full judgment or case analysis by Human Rights in Ireland.

The Weekly Legal Update and EDAL would like to thank Nick Henderson, the Irish ELENA coordinator, for informing ECRE about this case.

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.



Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Best interest of the child
Health (right to)
Reception conditions