Secretary of State for the Home Department v AH (Sudan) and others: HL 14 Nov 2007

The three respondents had fled persecution in Darfur. They sought asylum which was refused, and they now appealed. It was argued that whilst they had a well founded fear of persecution in Dhafur, that would not apply if they returned to Khartoum. The AIT had found that it would not be unreasonable for them to return to Khartoum. The Court of appeal reversed this finding. The House was asked to restore it.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The tribunal had not made an error of law, and therefore the Court of Appeal had not been able to substitute its own understanding of the facts. Although the test of reasonableness for an internal relocation alternative is a stringent one – whether it would be ‘unduly harsh’ to expect the claimant to return – it is not to be equated with a real risk that the claimant would be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment so serious as to meet the high threshold set by article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Baroness Hale discussed expert tribunals: ‘This is an expert tribunal charged with administering a complex area of law in challenging circumstances. To paraphrase a view I have expressed about such expert tribunals in another context, the ordinary courts should approach appeals from them with an appropriate degree of caution; it is probable that in understanding and applying the law in their specialised field the tribunal will have got it right: see Cooke v Secretary of State for Social Security [2001] EWCA Civ 734, [2002] 3 All ER 279, para 16. They and they alone are the judges of the facts. It is not enough that their decision on those facts may seem harsh to people who have not heard and read the evidence and arguments which they have heard and read. Their decisions should be respected unless it is quite clear that they have misdirected themselves in law. Appellate courts should not rush to find such misdirections simply because they might have reached a different conclusion on the facts or expressed themselves differently. I cannot believe that this eminent Tribunal had indeed confused the three tests or neglected to apply the correct relocation test.’

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
[2007] UKHL 49, [2007] 3 WLR 832, Times 15-Nov-2007, [2008] 1 AC 678
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
England and Wales
Appeal fromAH (Sudan) and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 4-Apr-2007
. .
At IATAH (Scope of S103A Reconsideration) Sudan IAT 19-Apr-2006
Mr Ockelton: ‘If (despite some material error of law) an issue or matter has been properly and satisfactorily dealt with in the first decision, there is no reason why further time should be spend on it in the reconsideration. Although the Tribunal . .
CitedJanuzi v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others HL 15-Feb-2006
The claimants sought to challenge the refusals of asylum in each case based upon the possibility of internal relocation. They said that such internal relocation would place them in areas where they could not be expected to live without undue . .
CitedNalliah Karanakaran v Secretary of State For The Home Department CA 25-Jan-2000
Where the applicant for asylum could show that members of his family had been killed or persecuted by the authorities, the level of proof required that he would be under threat was not the normal civil standard of proof, but that of a reasonable . .
CitedAE and FE v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 16-Jul-2003
The appellants challenged orders denying them asylum status. The result would be to require them to return home but subject to relocation within a different geographical area.
Held: For the purposes of considering refugee status, the . .
CitedCooke v Secretary of State for Social Security CA 25-Apr-2001
Although production of a new medical report, or of a new medical opinion, could evidence a relevant change of circumstances, to support the claim that the threshold had been reached so as to allow a review of a decision to grant benefits, it did not . .

Cited by:
CitedHM Revenue and Customs v Weight Watchers (UK) Ltd ChD 21-Jan-2008
The court was asked whether the weight-watchers program which included attendance at a course and a supply of supporting materials was one single standard-rated supply or separate supplies of zero-rated printed materials and standard-rated support . .
CitedAS and DD (Libya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Another CA 9-Apr-2008
The claimants were subject to intended deportation to Libya. The said that if returned they would be likely to be tortured, and that accordingly the return would infringe their rights. The Home Secretary said that a memorandum of understanding . .
CitedH v East Sussex County Council and Others CA 31-Mar-2009
The claimant had a statement of special educational needs, which she sought to have altered to specify a different school. She appealed from a refusal to amend the statement, saying that the Tribunal had not given sufficient weight to educational . .
CitedSugar v The British Broadcasting Commission and Another (No 2) CA 23-Jun-2010
The respondent had had prepared a report as to the balance of its reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier proceedings had established that the purposes of the holding of the reporting included jurnalism. The claimant now appealed . .
CitedCart v The Upper Tribunal SC 21-Jun-2011
Limitations to Judicial Reviw of Upper Tribunal
Three claimants sought to challenge decisions of various Upper Tribunals by way of judicial review. In each case the request for judicial review had been first refused on the basis that having been explicitly designated as higher courts, the proper . .
CitedG v Scottish Ministers and Another SC 18-Dec-2013
The 2003 Act had been intended to make provision for those who had been in long term mental health carse, but would not need such continued are but were not either ready to survive without continuing support in the community. The claimant had been . .
CitedSuffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes Ltd and Another SC 10-May-2017
The Court was asked as to the proper interpretation of paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework: ‘Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant policies for . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.261308