As a direct access immigration barrister based in London applying for an injunction on the telephone on the night of a charter flight is big ask and the application of a few days ago was no different. The Secretary of State had set a charter flight to Afghanistan notwithstanding that the Afghan government and the Ambassador to the UK have asked that removals not take place given the current problems.
I was instructed late on the date of the flight. The client is from Nangahar Province, a plainly unsafe part of Afghanistan. I submitted the relevant papers and was waiting for a call. The Court must have been very very busy as I received a refusal giving reasons at 2154 with the flight due to leave at 2240 or thereabouts. I contacted the Court as I wished to make a few further submissions, I also managed to gain some excellent help from Toufique Hussain from Duncan Lewis and the equally excellent Sonali Naik of Garden Court.
The Judge immediately called me back and I made brief, but hopefully succinct, submissions. The Judge asked me to submit further grounds with 20 minutes to go to the flight leaving. I did so, even though it was a bit of a rush, and it was with some relief when I received a further Order ordering that the Secretary of State use her best endeavours to prevent his removal about 5 minutes before departure.
I understand that there were a number of other Orders staying removal both in the Admin Court and also from Aikens LJ in the Court of Appeal.
What I take from this is that i was impressed that the Judge revisited the earlier refusal and reversed it and also that it is never too late to properly pursue an arguable case. What is interesting is that the situation in Afghanistan is clearly deteriorating in circumstances where the Afghan government are asking other countries not to return migrants.
Paul Turner is a highly regarded direct access immigration barrister practising from Mansfield Chambers, the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, 5 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1LG and a door tenant at 39 Park Square Leeds LS1 2NU and is licensed by the Bar Council to provide advice and representation directly to the public.