Court of Appeal’s judgment on interpretation of Article 1C(5) of the Refugee Convention and Rule 339A(v)

Court of Appeal’s judgment on interpretation of Article 1C(5) of the Refugee Convention and Rule 339A(v)


CategoryNews Author Zane Malik Date

The Court of Appeal (McCombe LJ, Leggatt LJ and Baker LJ) handed down its judgment in Secretary of State for the Home Department v KN (DRC) [2019] EWCA Civ 1665 this morning.

The primary issue before the Court of Appeal was about proper interpretation of Article 1C(5) of the Refugee Convention and Paragraph 339A(v) of the Immigration Rules. These provisions permit revocation of a person’s refugee status if “he can no longer, because the circumstances in connection with which he has been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist, continue to refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of nationality”.

KN’s father came to the United Kingdom in 1989 and claimed asylum. In his claim, the father stated that he had actively supported the fight for democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo in opposition to the regime of President Mobutu and, as a result, had been arrested and tortured, before escaping and fleeing the country. The father was granted the status of refugee. KN, then aged nine, joined the father in 1991 as a child and was also recognised as a refugee. Between 2001 to 2012, KN was convicted on seven occasions of a variety of criminal offences and received a number of custodial sentences, culminating with a conviction of an offence of conspiracy to rob, for which he was sentenced to 4 years and six months imprisonment. The Home Secretary, consequently, sought to deport KN from the United Kingdom and decided to revoke his refugee status under Article 1C(5) of the Refugee Convention and Paragraph 339A(v) of the Immigration Rules on the basis that circumstances in Democratic Republic of Congo have changed.

The Upper Tribunal allowed KN’s appeal. It found that KN had not been recognised as a refugee in his own right but “because his parents were recognised as refugees” and that, as a result, any political changes in the Democratic Republic of Congo had no bearing on the circumstances in connection with which he had been recognised as a refugee.

The Court of Appeal, allowing the Home Secretary’s appeal and setting aside the Upper Tribunal’s decision, held that the Upper Tribunal “interpreted of Article 1C(5) and paragraph 339A(v) too narrowly” and that “those provisions in the Refugee Convention and Immigration Rules do not authorise the revocation of a refugee’s status merely if the grounds on which the respondent was granted that status have changed but, rather, … involves a wider examination” [33]. The Court of Appeal, on the facts, found that the father’s persecution was “manifestly part of the circumstances in connection with which [KN] himself was recognised as a refugee”. The Court of Appeal also held that its earlier decision in Mosira “does not apply to all dependents of refugees, but rather is confined to cases where the basis for granting the refugee status to the parent and/or the child was not covered by the Refugee Convention” [35].

Zane Malik appeared for the Home Secretary.

The Court of Appeal’s full judgment is available here.


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