UK: R (on the application of SS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“self-serving” statements) [2017] UKUT 00164 (IAC)

Monday, March 13, 2017

On 13 March 2017, the UKUT has judged in case R (on the application of SS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“self-serving” statements) that a Tamil applicant who came from a former LTTE stronghold would be at real risk on return to Sri Lanka, thereby taking into account, inter alia, letters from the applicant’s father. The applicant’s asylum claim was refused by the respondent in 2009, and the court concluded in appeal that the applicant was at real risk of persecution in his home area but that he would be able to relocate to Colombo, without undue difficulty. In 2015, the respondent rejected the applicant’s further submissions in the decision under challenge.

The Upper Tribunal states that the basic failing of the decision is that it does not recognise and address the significance of the positive credibility findings made by Immigration Judge. Moreover, new materials required to be looked at in the important context of positive credibility findings by a judge. Findings should be rooted in the current country guidance (in a post-war landscape) as set out in GJ and Others [2013] UKUT 00319, and therefore the focus is on the perception taken by the Sri Lankan authorities of a returning Tamil.

The Upper Tribunal Judge further finds that the treatment of the lawyer’s letter, the letter from the Sri Lankan Intelligence Department requiring the family of the applicant to surrender the applicant and the letter from the applicant’s father, in the impugned decision is legally inadequate. The decision criticised the letter from the applicant’s father as being “self-serving”. However, the expression “self-serving” is, to a large extent, a protean one and provides no reason for that designation.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Country of origin information
Credibility assessment
Persecution (acts of)
Persecution Grounds/Reasons
Real risk