Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Abdi, Same v Same, ex parte Gawe: QBD 24 Feb 1994

The Secretary of State must state all the facts on which his opinion had based when ordering the deportation of an Asylum-seeker as to the safety of the destination country. ‘In a situation in which it is to be expected that most or all of the information about the asylum practices of third countries is in the hands of the Secretary of State, it would make a mockery of the special adjudicator’s independent duty of rigorous scrutiny if the Secretary of State, having balanced the pros and cons and come to his own conclusion about the safety of a Third Country, could rely upon the face of the certificate which he accordingly grants as sufficient to sustain the certificate on appeal, so long as the asylum-seeker is unable to produce enough of his or her own evidence to controvert it. ‘ and ‘Correspondingly, given the Secretary of State’s monitoring role and his opportunities to gather information through other organs of government, in particular the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it is incumbent, in my view, on the Home Office representative before a special adjudicator to disclose not only what facts are relied on in support of the certificate (and they may in many cases be simply that nothing at all is known to the detriment of the Third Country), but to disclose any factual material pointing in the opposite direction. The fact that the Secretary of State will himself have considered such material and rejected it in issuing his certificate cannot be relevant: if it were, the special adjudicator would become the handmaiden of the Secretary of State, incapable of exercising independent judgment except where an applicant was independently able to cast doubt upon the basis of the certificate. ‘ The court referred to the case of two refugees who had come to the United Kingdom from Colombia via Spain, and who were returned to Spain as a safe third country. According to a report of Amnesty International the two refugees were returned from Spain to Colombia without any substantive consideration of their claim for asylum. Sedley J. commented: ‘The asylum-seekers evidently did not know of the two cases: the Home Office, which I infer did know, did not consider itself under any obligation to draw them to the attention of the adjudicator; and if the adjudicator knew of them, he took them in each case to be off limits because they had not been canvassed in evidence. If this was the situation, I cannot believe that any reasonable observer would think that it had much to do with the standards of scrutiny and fairness which Lord Bridge was describing in Re Musisi, or indeed represented anything but legalistic technicalities. ‘ Beither applicant had had a fair hearing, and that the decisions of the two adjudicators fell to be quashed for breach of natural justice. ‘In each case the asylum-seeker was entitled to disclosure by the Secretary of State and the adjudicator was entitled to his assistance. The Secretary of State was in a position to afford these, but they were not afforded. ‘ The certificates of the Secretary of State should also be quashed, on the ground that his decision was logically untenable, and therefore irrational in law.


Sedley J


Times 10-Mar-1994


Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Musisi HL 1987
Mr Musisi sought entry to the United Kingdom as a visitor from Kenya. When that application looked as though it might fail, he claimed political asylum as a refugee from Uganda. His application for asylum was refused on the basis that he had come . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Abdi and Another CA 21-Apr-1994
The Home Secretary has no duty to show the factual evidence he had relied upon as to the safety of a deportee’s destination country.
The Home Secretary need not state all information on which his certificate was based. The court recognised the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 26 May 2022; Ref: scu.87826