As a law firm dealing with plenty of immigration cases, we have seen many sides to the Home Office. As reasonable and experienced legal professionals, we understand that some matters are complex and hurdles can become apparent at any time in the course of a case. However, there are times when Home Office mistakes can cause serious delays and consequences for applicants and it is in these times where simple forgiveness is not enough and proceedings must be looked into.
This blog will focus on human rights claims made by two men who faced deportation and the Home Office slip-up that added an extra layer of problems to an already complex case.
The case in question: Yilmaz & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department
This case revolves around two Turkish nationals, Mr Yilmaz and Mr Arman, who were deported from the UK in 2017 after facing criminal convictions. They had both made human rights claims to remain in the UK, but due to their claims being certified, they could only make appeals from outside of the UK.
After waiting 5 years since being deported and lodging their claims from Turkey, the claimants still had not had their appeals heard. This is a significant delay which does not paint the UK legal system in a good light.
It was not until 2020 that the two claimants reached out to the possibility of returning to the UK to make in-country appeals, as they were of the opinion that a fair hearing would not take place in their country. However, they were told that using video-links could have been used to launch their appeals, meaning that ultimately their appeals were dismissed.
Holding information back?
The real issue here is one that the Home Office would have preferred not be publicised. The Home Office had actually been notified that video-links, like the ones suggested by the judge in response to the claimant’s appeals, would not be possible for the foreseeable future. During the pandemic video-links of this kind were very common, however in more recent months this has not been the case in many countries and in different scenarios.
When this information reared its head, the Secretary of State had no excuse to hide behind. Mr Yilmaz was permitted to return to the UK in September 2021. Mr Arman had lost contact with his family by this point and so has not yet arranged his return.
The main issues on show here
The resounding issue in this case is that the Turkish government does not allow its citizens to give evidence to a foreign Court in Turkey. This is quite common and occurs in many countries. It is an issue of sovereignty. By subjecting its citizens to be examined by a foreign Court, the relevant government may be interpreted as having bowed to that foreign country.
However, from legal point of view, if the relevant key witnesses are unable to give evidence at the hearing, there is a risk that a fair trial may not be achieved. If that is the case, the relevant persons cannot be reasonably expected to appeal outside the UK. Their appeals will have to be dealt with before they are removed, which is the reason why the appellants argue that the Home Office’s decision to request them to appeal outside is unlawful and that they should be allowed to be back to the UK to conduct their appeals.
We always look into issues of fairness and what is legally and morally sound. We do not want to simply point fingers at the Home Office and say ‘we caught you’, but we do want to highlight the fact that mistakes of this kind can have serious consequences.
A big lesson to be learned here, not only for the Home Office but also for anyone in the legal profession, is to always make sure that your information is up to date, particularly before advising anyone or suggesting anything. It is very easy to fall behind the times if you do no keep your ear to the ground.
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