Khera v Secretary of State for The Home Department; Khawaja v Secretary of State for The Home Department: HL 10 Feb 1983

The appellant Khera’s father had obtained leave to settle in the UK. The appellant obtained leave to join him, but did not disclose that he had married. After his entry his wife in turn sought to join him. The appellant was detained as an illegal immigrant.
Held: The term ‘illegal immigrant’ included anyone entering unlawfully. This could include those obtaining leave to enter by deception as well as those entering clandestinely. There is no duty of absolute candour upon someone applying for entry, but silence as to certain important facts might amount to fraud: ‘it would be wrong to construe the Immigration Act 1971 as if it imposed on persons applying for leave to enter a duty of candour approximating to uberrima fides. But, of course, deception may arise from silence as to a material fact in some circumstances; for example, the silence of the appellant Khawaja about the fact of his marriage to Mrs Butt and the fact that she had accompanied him on the flight to Manchester were, in my view, capable of constituting deception, even if he had not told any direct lies to the immigration officer.’
Habeas Corpus is available to all, not just British Nationals. When reviewing the decision of the immigration officer the court should go beyond asking only whether there was evidence on which the officer could have reached his decision, and look also at the sufficiency of that evidence. On a judicial review it was for the administrative authority to prove the facts upon which the decision it had reached had been made. The house was free to not follow its earlier decisions. The decision in Zamir was too narrow.
Lord Scarman said: ‘My Lords, I would adopt as appropriate to cases of restraint put by the executive upon the liberty of the individual the civil standard flexibly applied in the way set forth in the cases cited: and I would direct particular attention to the words of Morris LJ already quoted. It is not necessary to import into the civil proceedings of judicial review the formula devised by judges for the guidance of juries in criminal cases. Liberty is at stake: that is, as the court recognised in Bater v Bater [1951] P 35 and in Hornal v Neuberger Products Ltd [1957] 1 QB 247, a grave matter. The reviewing court will therefore require to be satisfied that the facts which are required for the justification of the restraint put upon liberty do exist. The flexibility of the civil standard of proof suffices to ensure that the court will require the high degree of probability which is appropriate to what is at stake. The nature and gravity of an issue necessarily determines the manner of attaining reasonable satisfaction of the truth of the issue’: Dixon J in Wright v Wright (1948) 77 CLR 191, 210. I would, therefore, adopt the civil standard flexibly applied in the way described in the case law to which I have referred. And I completely agree with the observation made by my noble and learned friend, Lord Bridge of Harwich, that the difficulties of proof in many immigration cases afford no valid ground for lowering the standard of proof required.
Accordingly, it is enough to say that, where the burden lies on the executive to justify the exercise of a power of detention, the facts relied on as justification must be proved to the satisfaction of the court. A preponderance of probability suffices: but the degree of probability must be such that the court is satisfied. The strictness of the criminal formula is unnecessary to enable justice to be done: and its lack of flexibility in a jurisdiction where the technicalities of the law of evidence must not be allowed to become the master of the court could be a positive disadvantage inhibiting the efficacy of the developing safeguard of judicial review in the field of public law.’
Lord Bridge said: ‘the civil standard of proof by a preponderance of probability will suffice, always provided that, in view of the gravity of the charge of fraud which has to be made out and of the consequences which will follow if it is, the court should not be satisfied with anything less than probability of a high degree.’
Lord Wilberforce said: ‘These remedies of judicial review and habeas corpus are, of course, historically quite distinct and procedurally are governed by different statutory rules, but I do not think that in the present context it is necessary to give them distinct consideration. In practice, many applicants seek both remedies. The court considers both any detention which may be in force and the order for removal: the one is normally ancillary to the other. I do not think that it would be appropriate unless unavoidable to make a distinction between the two remedies and I propose to deal with both under a common principle.’
Lord Fraser of Tullybelton observed: ‘in spite of [a] decision . . that the illegal immigrant be removed from this country, it will still be open to him to appeal under section 16 of [the 1971 Act] to an adjudicator against the decision to remove him. The fact that he is not entitled to appeal so long as he is in this country – section 16(2) – puts him at a serious disadvantage, but I do not think it is proper to regard the right of appeal as worthless. At least the possibility remains that there may be cases, rare perhaps, where an appeal to the adjudicator might still succeed.’

Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Wilberforce, Lord Scarman, Lord Bridge of Harwich and Lord Templeman
[1983] 2 WLR 321, [1984] 1 AC 74, [1982] UKHL 5, [1983] UKHL 8, [1983] 1 All ER 765, [1982] Imm AR 139
lip, Bailii, Bailii
Immigration Act 1971 33(1)
England and Wales
Not followedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Ex parte Zamir HL 17-Jul-1980
A person who obtained leave to enter, but did so by fraud, was an illegal entrant, on the basis that the fraud had the effect of vitiating the leave to enter which had been granted: ‘it is clear on general principles of law that deception may arise . .
CitedBater v Bater CA 1951
The wife petitioned for divorce, alleging cruelty.
Held: It had not been a misdirection for the petitioner to have to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt: ‘A high standard of proof’ was required because of the importance of such a case to . .
CitedHornal v Neuberger Products Ltd CA 1956
Proof Standard for Misrepresentation
The court was asked what was the standard of proof required to establish the tort of misrepresentation, and it contrasted the different standards of proof applicable in civil and criminal cases.
Held: The standard was the balance of . .
CitedIn re Dellow’s Will Trusts; Lloyd’s Bank v Institute of Cancer Research ChD 1964
Husband and wife, having made mutual wills each leaving their estate to the other, had been found dead in their home from coal gas poisoning. The court asked what was required to displace the presumption that the husband, the older of the two, had . .
CitedWright v Wright 1948
The civil standard of proof is flexible and the court may properly require a higher degree of probability which is appropriate to what is at stake. ‘… the nature and gravity of an issue necessarily determines the manner of attaining reasonable . .
CitedSomerset’s Case, Somerset v Stewart 1772
Habeas Corpus Granted to Slave
Somerset, a slave purchased by the defendant in Virginia, had been brought to England, but then confined on board a ship. He brought a writ for habeas corpus.
Held: The plea in defence was insufficient. Lord Mansfield ordered an African slave . .
CitedPractice Statement (Judicial Precedent) HL 1966
The House gave guidance how it would treat an invitation to depart from a previous decision of the House. Such a course was possible, but the direction was not an ‘open sesame’ for a differently constituted committee to prefer their views to those . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina (on the application of Abassi and Another) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Another CA 6-Nov-2002
A British national had been captured in Afghanistan, and was being held without remedy by US forces. His family sought an order requiring the respondent to take greater steps to secure his release or provide other assistance.
Held: Such an . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Bugdaycay HL 19-Feb-1986
Three applicants had lied on entry to secure admission, stayed for a considerable time, and had been treated as illegal immigrants under section 33(1). The fourth’s claim that upon being returned he would been killed, had been rejected without . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Dolapo Omolara Martins Admn 29-Nov-1996
The Applicant sought judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision declaring her to be an illegal entrant. She challenged a finding that at the time of entry she had intended to marry.
Held: It was established that she had not told th . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Cengiz Doldur Admn 26-Jun-1997
The applicant sought judicial review of the immigration officer’s finding that he was an illegal immigrant within the section. He had failed to declare that after obtaining temporary permission to enter, he had got married. It was not suggested that . .
CitedSzoma v Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions HL 28-Jul-2005
The applicant had claimed asylum on entry and was temporarily admitted. Though his claim for asylum was later refused, those admitted in this way were granted indefinite leave to remain. He had claimed and received benefits at first, but then these . .
CitedRegina v Fraydon Navabi; Senait Tekie Embaye CACD 11-Nov-2005
The defendants had been convicted of not having an immigration document when presenting themselves for interview. They had handed their passports to the ‘agents’ who had assisted their entry.
Held: The jury should have been directed as to the . .
CitedAN, Regina (on the Application of) v Mental Health Review Tribunal (Northern Region) and others CA 21-Dec-2005
The appellant was detained under section 37 of the 1983 Act as a mental patient with a restriction under section 41. He sought his release.
Held: The standard of proof in such applications remained the balance of probabilities, but that . .
CitedSK, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 25-Jan-2008
The claimant was a Zimbabwean National who was to be removed from the country. He was unlawfully held in detention pending removal. He sought damages for false imprisonment. He had been held over a long period pending decisions in the courts on the . .
CitedIn re D; Doherty, Re (Northern Ireland); Life Sentence Review Commissioners v D HL 11-Jun-2008
The Sentence Review Commissioners had decided not to order the release of the prisoner, who was serving a life sentence. He had been released on licence from a life sentence and then committed further serious sexual offences against under-age girls . .
CitedIn re B (Children) (Care Proceedings: Standard of Proof) (CAFCASS intervening) HL 11-Jun-2008
Balance of probabilities remains standard of proof
There had been cross allegations of abuse within the family, and concerns by the authorities for the children. The judge had been unable to decide whether the child had been shown to be ‘likely to suffer significant harm’ as a consequence. Having . .
CitedA, Regina (on the Application of) v London Borough of Croydon SC 26-Nov-2009
The applicants sought asylum, and, saying that they were children under eighteen, sought also the assistance of the local authority. Social workers judged them to be over eighteen and assistance was declined.
Held: The claimants’ appeals . .
CitedSecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs v Rahmatullah SC 31-Oct-2012
The claimant complained that the UK Armed forces had taken part in his unlawful rendition from Iraq by the US government. He had been detaiined in Iraq and transferred to US Forces. The government became aware that he was to be removed to . .
CitedZN and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Bromley Youth Court Admn 9-Jul-2014
The applicants, both aged 16, sought permission to bring judicial review of a decision to commit thme for trial at the adult Crown Court on theft charges along with a co-defendant adult (though 18).
Held: Permission was granted.
Hayden J . .
CitedO, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 27-Apr-2016
The appellant failed asylum seeker had been detained for three years pending deportation. She suffered a mental illness, and during her detention the medical advice that her condition could be coped with in the detention centre changed, recommending . .
CitedKiarie and Byndloss, Regina (on The Applications of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 14-Jun-2017
The court considered a challenge to the rules governing ‘out of country’ appeals against immigration decisions. They had in each case convictions leading to prison terms for serious drugs related offences.
Held: The appeals were allowed, and . .
CitedB (Algeria) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 8-Feb-2018
Bail conditions only after detention
B had been held under immigration detention, but released by SIAC, purportedly in conditional bail, after they found there was no realistic prospect of his deportation because he had not disclosed his true identity. The court was asked ‘whether . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Judicial Review, Evidence

Leading Case

Updated: 05 December 2021; Ref: scu.178149