Our Vietnamese client ‘LH’ challenged by way of judicial review the lawfulness of a Secretary of State decision that he was not a victim of trafficking. LH had previously received a negative conclusive grounds decision and the decision under challenge had been made by the Secretary of State further to new evidence being submitted for consideration.
The claim for judicial review was issued on the grounds that the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse to recognise LH as a victim of trafficking was unlawful and that there had been a failure to apply anxious scrutiny in considering LH’s credibility and the new evidence in support of his trafficking claim.
Permission to apply for judicial review was granted on all grounds. In granting permission, Alison Foster QC, sitting as a High Court Judge, held that it was arguable that the Secretary of State had failed to adequately consider the effect of the new expert material, in particular a psychiatric report. However, the Respondent maintained that the Secretary of State’s decision that LH was not a victim of trafficking was lawful and rational.
The matter proceeded to a substantive hearing which was heard at the Administrative Court before Peter Marquand, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, on 30 October 2019.
LH succeeded in his claim for judicial review. In a judgment handed down on 13 December 2019, it was held as follows:
‘There is no analysis in the letter, other than a wholesale rejection of the Claimant’s case based on a blanket rejection of the Claimant’s credibility… This betrays a failure to consider Dr Bose’s evidence and how it may impact on the decision on the Claimant’s credibility when applying the Credibility Guidance’.
‘Failing to do such analysis is irrational, does not follow the Defendant’s own policy and does not meet the requirement of rigorous or anxious scrutiny’ [para 41].
The Secretary of State’s decision that LH was not a victim of trafficking was quashed.
Instructing lawyer for LH was public law consultant solicitor Ann Evans, instructing counsel Christopher McWatters of Garden Court Chambers.