UK Court of Appeal: cessation decision is independent of an assessment of a risk of violation of Article 3 ECHR

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On 2 May 2018, the England and Wales Court of Appeal ruled in case MA (Somalia) v. SSHD, which concerned the test to be applied by the recognising State when adopting a cessation decision under the Qualification Directive.

The Court of Appeal found that “a cessation decision is the mirror image of a decision determining refugee status”, which means that the grounds for cessation do not go beyond verifying whether the grounds for recognition of refugee status continue to exist. Thus, the relevant question is whether there has been a significant and non-temporary change in circumstances so that the circumstances which caused the person to be a refugee have ceased to apply and there is no other basis on which he would be held to be a refugee.

Moreover, it considered that it follows from an analysis of the CJEU’s decision in Abdulla that the recognising State does not in addition have to be satisfied that the country of origin has a system of government or an effective legal system for protecting basic human rights, though the absence of such systems may lead to the conclusion that a significant and non-temporary change in circumstances has not occurred. An assessment of a risk of violation of Article 3 ECHR upon return is necessary, but it is independent from the cessation decision.

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Cessation of protection
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment