W (Algeria) and Another v Secretary of State for The Home Department: SC 7 Mar 2012

Each of the three appellants, suspected of terrorist activity, objected to their proposed return to Algeria on deportation, saying that it was accepted that torture was routinely used against people in their position, and without redress. Re-assurances had been given by the Algerian government, but they would not allow any independent scrutiny. A witness came forward to offer evidence of the falsity of the re-assurance but demanded permanent anonymity.
Held: Though the request certainly created many difficulties, the order should in this case be made, and the appeals allowed.
Lord Brown said: ‘none of these considerations to my mind outweighs the imperative need to maximise SIAC’s chances of arriving at the correct decision on the article 3 issue before them and their need, therefore, to obtain all such evidence as may contribute to this task.
I would rule, therefore, that it is open to SIAC to make such absolute and irreversible ex parte orders as are here contended for and that on occasion it may be appropriate to do so. This is, I conclude, the least worst option open to us – the lesser of two evils as I put it at the outset. But at the same time I should make plain that I am far from enthusiastic about such orders and would certainly not expect a rash of them. Rather it would seem to me that the power to make them should be most sparingly used. There is, of course, the risk that the very availability of such orders may be exploited by the unscrupulous in the hope that SIAC may thereby be induced to receive untruthful evidence which, had it in the ordinary way been subject to full investigation, would have been exposed as such.’

Lord Phillips, President, Lord Brown, Lord Kerr, Lord Dyson, Lord Wilson
[2012] UKSC 8, UKSC 2010/0238, [2012] 2 WLR 610, [2012] 2 All ER 699, [2012] WLR(D) 69, [2012] HRLR 15, [2012] 2 AC 115
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC, WLRD
Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997
England and Wales
CitedG v Secretary of State for the Home Department SIAC 8-Feb-2007
Algeria is a country where torture is systematically practised by the DRS (Information and Security Department). No DRS officer has ever been prosecuted for it; and : ‘in the absence of [certain assurances from the Algerian Government] there would . .
Appeal fromW (Algeria) and Others v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 29-Jul-2010
A potential witness offered evidence but only if his identity and evidence could be kept permanently secret. He feared torture and retribution from the authorities in Algeria.
Held: Such a promise could not be made. It would leave the . .

Cited by:
CitedVB and Others v Westminster Magistrates SC 5-Nov-2014
Extraditions to follow normal open justice rules
Application was made by Rwanda for the extradition of four individuals to face crimes said to have been committed during their civil war. Witnesses were prepared to give evidence but only in private and not being seen by the representatives of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Human Rights, Litigation Practice

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.451828