Personal Immigration

Three new decisions from the Upper Tribunal

JO and Others (section 55 duty) Nigeria [2014] UKUT 517 (IAC)

(1) The duty imposed by section 55 of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 requires the decision-maker to be properly informed of the position of a child affected by the discharge of an immigration etc function. Thus equipped, the decision maker must conduct a careful examination of all relevant information and factors.

(2) Being adequately informed and conducting a scrupulous analysis are elementary prerequisites to the inter-related tasks of identifying the child's best interests and then balancing them with other material considerations.

(3) The question whether the duties imposed by section 55 have been duly performed in any given case will invariably be an intensely fact sensitive and contextual one. In the real world of litigation, the tools available to the court or tribunal considering this question will frequently be confined to the application or submission made to Secretary of State and the ultimate letter of decision.

Sultana and Others (rules: waiver/further enquiry; discretion) [2014] UKUT 540

(1) Paragraph [D] of Appendix FM-SE is an example, within the context of the requirement to supply specified evidence, of the increasing influence of discretionary powers of waiver and further enquiry in the Immigration Rules.

(2) Where applicants wish to invoke any discretion of this kind, they should do so when making the relevant application, highlighting the specific provision of the Rules invoked and the grounds upon which the exercise of discretion is requested.

(3) Where any request of this kind is made and refused, a brief explanation should be provided by the decision maker.

(4) A refusal to exercise a discretionary power as described in (1) above may render an immigration decision not in accordance with the law, under section 84(1)(e) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

(5) Powers of waiver are dispensing provisions, designed to ensure that applications suffering from certain minor defects or omissions can be readily remedied.

(6) The hierarchical distinction between the Immigration Rules and Immigration Directorate Instructions ("IDIs") must be observed at all times.

(7) A failure to recognise, or give effect to, an IDI may render an immigration decision not in accordance with the law.

Oludoyi & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Article 8 – MM (Lebanon) and Nagre) (IJR) [2014] UKUT 539 (IAC)

There is nothing in R (Nagre) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 720 (Admin), Gulshan (Article 8 – new Rules – correct approach) Pakistan [2013] UKUT 640 (IAC) or Shahzad (Art 8: legitimate aim) [2014] UKUT 85 (IAC) that suggests that a threshold test was being suggested as opposed to making it clear that there was a need to look at the evidence to see if there was anything which has not already been adequately considered in the context of the Immigration Rules and which could lead to a successful Article 8 claim. These authorities must not be read as seeking to qualify or fetter the assessment of Article 8. This is consistent with para 128 of R (MM & Others) v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 985, that there is no utility in imposing a further intermediate test as a preliminary to a consideration of an Article 8 claim beyond the relevant criterion-based Rule. As is held in R (Ganesabalan) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 2712 (Admin), there is no prior threshold which dictates whether the exercise of discretion should be considered; rather the nature of the assessment and the reasoning which are called for are informed by threshold considerations.

The above text is reproduced from the headnote of each determination.

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