Yesterday, even for a busy London based direct access immigration barrister, was both particularly busy and particularly successful. Firstly I had the full and successful full judicial review hearing against the Secretary of State’s refusal to grant a spouse visa and then I was asked to deal with a last minute application to prevent removal. This really was a last minute application.
The Client was an active member of the Sri Lankan diaspora who had been tattooed following the genocidal actions in May 2009 against the Tamils. He had a tattoo of Eelam and also of a Tiger. He had attended numerous rallies and been active in the community. His fresh claim was made on this basis. It had been refused. Grounds had been prepared by the excellent and expert Shivani Jegarajah to argue that if returned to Sri Lanka he would be questioned in respect of his activities in the UK and that this would lead to the discovery of his tattoo and then ill treatment as the Upper Tribunal accepts in the Country Guidance case of GJ (Sri Lanka).
The Secretary of State had refused to treat the fresh representations as a fresh claim under paragraph 353 of the immigration rules on the basis that the tattoos did not mean that he had been a member of the LTTE in the UK. This was in my view a strange finding given that the refusal letter was dated 2014 and the LTTE were defeated in 2009. Permission was refused by UTJ Eshun and the application for the stay on the papers by UTJ Kebede.
The solicitors then renewed the application and Collins J kindly agreed to hear the oral renewed application given that the substantive application for JR was going to go short (the SSHD’s case being hopeless).
The application was ultimately successful. Collins J recognised the difficulty faced by decision makers when confronted with what could be called a Danian claim, (i.e. a claim made up in country after a previous unsuccessful claim – named after the old case of Thomas Danian) but that there was just sufficient material to justify not only granting the stay of the removal directions but also the grant of permission.
This really was a last minute application. The removal directions were set for 1415. The hearing started at 1145 and concluded at around 1245 less than a couple of hours before the scheduled flight. The removal directions were cancelled and I understand a request for temporary relief has been made.
The key factors in case which lead to the application succeeding included the proper and full preparation of the case. It is clear to me that when considering any last minute application it is key that the solicitors, clients or indeed other representatives make sure that any application is supported by as much information as possible and is made as early as possible.
It was a good result, by no means certain, however I would urge anyone facing removal or having a family member facing removal contact me or another qualified representative at the earliest available opportunity
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.