AAR (OLF – MB Confirmed) Ethiopia (CG): UTIAC 29 Dec 2021

General application of country guidance

Country guidance: OLF members and sympathisers (supporters)
(1) MB (OLF and MTA – risk) Ethiopia CG [2007] UKAIT 00030 still accurately reflects the situation facing members and supporters of the OLF if returned to Ethiopia. However, in material respects, it is appropriate to clarify the existing guidance.
(2) OLF members and supporters and those specifically perceived by the authorities to be such members or supporters will in general be at real risk if they have been previously arrested or detained on suspicion of OLF involvement.
(3) Those who have a significant history, known to the authorities, of OLF membership or support, or are perceived by the authorities to have such significant history will in general be at real risk of persecution by the authorities.
(4) ‘Significant’ should not be read as denoting a very high level of involvement or support. Rather, it relates to suspicion being established that a person is perceived by the authorities as possessing an anti-government agenda. This is a fact sensitive assessment.
(5) Whether persons are to be excluded from recognition as refugees or from the grant of humanitarian protection by reason of armed activities may need to be addressed in particular cases.
1. General application of country guidance
(1) The treatment of country guidance as a presumption of fact means that it will be for the parties seeking to persuade the Tribunal to depart from it to adduce the evidence justifying that departure.
(2) An assessment as to whether to depart from a CG decision is to be undertaken as to: (i) whether material circumstances have changed; and (ii) whether such changes are well established evidentially and durable.
(3) The law, and the principle, are not affected by the age of the CG decision. It may be that as time goes on, evidence will become available that makes it more likely that departure from the decision will be justified. But the process remains the same, and unless in the individual case the departure is shown to be justified, the guidance contained in the CG decision must, as a matter of law, be adopted.
(4) If the parties fail to abide by their general duty in respect of identifying extant country guidance, it remains for the Tribunal to consider such guidance and to follow it.
(5) Any failure by the Tribunal to apply a CG decision unless there is good reason, explicitly stated, for not doing so might constitute an error of law in that a material consideration has been ignored or legally inadequate reasons for the decision have been given.
(6) A party that before the First-tier Tribunal has failed to address extant country guidance or has failed to demonstrate proper grounds for departure from it is unlikely to have a good ground of appeal against a decision founded on the guidance.


Mr C M G Ockelton, Vice President

Upper Tribunal Judge Bruce

Upper Tribunal Judge O’Callaghan


[2022] UKUT 1 (IAC)




England and Wales


Updated: 02 February 2022; Ref: scu.671710