Immigration/Public Law - Court of Appeal (Civil Division) – Acted for SG Appellant – Considering authoritativeness of Country Guidance Determinations - Whether the grant by the Court of Appeal of permission to appeal a Country Guidance determination justifies a stay in the cases of those seeking to challenge removal directions.
Held: The system of Country Guidance determinations enables appropriate resources, in terms of the representations of the parties to the Country Guidance appeal, expert and factual evidence and the personnel and time of the Tribunal, to be applied to the determination of conditions in, and therefore the risks of return for persons such as the appellants in the Country Guidance appeal to, the country in question. The procedure is aimed at arriving at a reliable (in the sense of accurate) determination.
It is for these reasons, as well as the desirability of consistency, that decision makers and tribunal judges are required to take Country Guidance determinations into account, and to follow them unless very strong grounds supported by cogent evidence, are adduced justifying their not doing so.
67. In my judgment a Country Guidance determination of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) remains authoritative unless and until it is set aside on appeal or replaced by a subsequent Country Guidance determination.
68. The filing of an application for permission to appeal a Country Guidance determination of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) cannot, of itself, justify the Court granting an injunction staying the removal of anyone whose removal is justified by that determination. However, if the judge considers that the evidence relied upon by the claimant may satisfy the test to which I refer below, it may be appropriate to grant a stay pending the decision of the Court of Appeal on the application for permission to appeal. In such a case, it may well be appropriate for the judge to suggest that the Court of Appeal expedite its consideration of the application for permission to appeal.
69. Whether the grant by the Court of Appeal of permission to appeal a Country Guidance determination justifies a stay in the cases of those seeking to challenge removal directions where the decision to remove them relies or is justified by that determination must depend on the facts and the evidence relied upon by the claimant. The facts will include the content of the determination and the reasons given for the grant of permission to appeal.
70. If the evidence relied upon was considered by the Tribunal, it is unlikely that a stay will be appropriate unless the reasons given for the grant of permission to appeal cast substantial doubt on the reliability of the findings of the Tribunal.
71. In relation to evidence other than that considered by the Tribunal, and in particular evidence of subsequent events, I would endorse the test formulated by Irwin J. The Court should not stay removal pending the decision of the Court of Appeal unless the claimant has adduced a clear and coherent body of evidence that the findings of the Tribunal were in error.