United Kingdom: Court of Appeal order re-hearing of deportation order to Nigeria

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

On 4 December 2019, the Court of Appeal (the Court) published its judgment on the appeal of a deportation order to Nigeria in the case of Akinyemi v the Secretary of State [2019] EWCA Civ 2098.

The applicant was born in the UK in 1983 to Nigerian parents who arrived in the UK as students. His father was granted indefinite leave to remain in 1897 before obtaining citizenship in 2004. The applicant did not automatically acquire British nationality due to legislative changes prior to his birth and did not take steps to acquire it. He was convicted of a multiple criminal offences in his teens which included death by dangerous driving, possession of drugs with the intention to supply, and possession of a knife. The deportation order was issued as a result of the applicant’s convictions. The applicant suffers from depression, which he claims has been improved by living with his partner of two years, and has previously been identified as at risk of suicide.

The Upper Tribunal (UT) dismissed the initial appeal of the deportation order on the grounds that as a ‘foreign criminal’, there must be a consideration of the public interest in his deportation. This public interest would be outweighed by very compelling circumstances. The applicant argued that the public interest test was flawed as he had lived his entire life in the UK, and therefore should have resulted in a reduced weight afforded to the public interest in deportation. Indeed, he added further, that his deportation would not amount to a return to a home state but an exile from his home.

The Court noted, inter alia, that the UT was wrong to direct itself that little weight should be attached to the fact that the appellant had lived in the UK all of his life. Indeed, the public interest test must be flexible and must take into account the circumstances of the individuals’ case. In this case, the fact that the applicant was born and lived in the UK was clearly a relevant factor affecting the weight of the balancing test against the risk of re-offending and the prospect of rehabilitation. The Court therefore concluded that the UT’s approach to this test was flawed and the case must be reheard.

Moreover, the Court also considered the applicant’s complaint regarding the UT’s failure to address the whether there would be very significant obstacles to integration. The Court concluded that the issue of integration will be considered in the re-hearing, but must adopt a broad evaluative judgment.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. 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 pusexblished but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.




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