Home Office Withdraws Human Rights Refusal Decision
Catherine Taroni and Bernie Wood, working together with Olivia Waddell, succeeded in securing a positive result for a client of Richmond Chambers.
Our client had entered the UK as a Visitor. During this visit, her UK-based family members had noticed a deterioration in her mental and physical health which made them concerned about her ability to return to her home country without family support. Before coming to us, our client had made an application for leave to remain on this basis, which had been refused.
We were instructed at the immigration appeal stage and were able to prepare an appeal skeleton argument and extensive bundle of evidence. Having reviewed these, the Home Office decided to withdraw its refusal decision without the case going to a hearing.
Background to the Case
The case concerned a client in her 60s, who had entered the UK as a Visitor. When entering the UK, she had intended to stay temporarily, and had booked a return flight. However, during this visit her family members in the UK observed that both her mobility and her mental health had worsened significantly.
Our client suffered from several health problems, which affected her mobility and her ability to walk and to care for herself. After experiencing a difficult change in her family circumstances which had resulted in her living alone, she had also begun to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. She also developed an increased emotional dependency on her family members in the UK, particularly those with whom she was living.
Our client had no family in her home country who were able to provide her with appropriate care. Three months after entering the UK as a Visitor, she made an application for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of her private life. This application was refused over a year later, and the Appellant appealed to the independent First-tier Tribunal on the basis of human rights (Article 8). She was subsequently diagnosed with both depression and anxiety, having been assessed by a psychiatrist.
Application Prepared by Previous Legal Representatives
The Appellant’s previous representatives had made submissions regarding her physical health and cited her concerns about the lack of care available to her in her home country. However, the Appellant’s mental health had not been professionally assessed. The nature of her emotional dependence on her family and the personal care that she required, which could only be provided by family members, was not fully evidenced.
How We Assisted Our Client
We reviewed the Home Office bundle, and prepared an appeal skeleton argument and extensive bundle of evidence in support of our client’s appeal.
We ensured that in the evidence for the appeal, it was clearly demonstrated that the Appellant’s relationship with her family members in the UK went above and beyond the usual emotional ties between adult relatives, given her particular vulnerabilities. We could rely on the impact her removal would have on her UK-based family members, as well as on our client herself. We were able to use comprehensive witness statements from our client as well as her family members to paint a detailed picture of her circumstances, the obstacles that she would face if she were required to return to her home country alone, and the consequences that this would have on our client and her family. We also made arguments regarding the best interests of our client’s British grandchild, with whom she has a close relationship.
While it is not possible to make an adult dependent relative visa application from within the UK, we made reference to the requirements of this visa in order to show that these requirements would be met by our client, and so it would be disproportionate to require her to depart from the UK.
We identified that our client’s mental health was a key issue in the case, as this affected her need for emotional support which could only be provided by her close family members. We assisted our client in obtaining evidence from an independent medical expert. We instructed an expert in the field, who was able to provide us with an independent assessment of our client’s mental health and her specific needs in light of this. The report contained a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, which explained our client’s decreased ability to care for herself and increased emotional dependency, which her family had described.
We also instructed another expert who was able to comment on our client’s physical health and mobility, and how it had declined. The report took into account previous expert evidence relating to our client’s health, as well as providing an up-to-date assessment of her conditions, needs, and the care and support she required.
Our client’s physical health was identified as a trigger for her mental health difficulties, and it was important to demonstrate how these elements were interlinked, and how this affected our client’s specific care needs. We were able to use corroborative evidence to support our assertions regarding our client’s health, dependency, and inability to care for herself alone in her home country without the particular support offered by her family.
The expert evidence therefore allowed us to fully develop our arguments regarding the increased emotional and physical dependence of our client on her family in the UK. These were set out in the appeal skeleton argument, and we were able to substantiate these arguments with detailed documentary evidence.
We prepared all the evidence with a view to representing our client effectively at an appeal hearing. Fortunately, the Home Office decided to withdraw their refusal after reviewing our evidence and arguments, meaning that our client was not required to undergo the process of an appeal hearing. The Home Office decided to grant our client 30 months of leave outside the Immigration Rules.
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