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Duncan Lewis Facilitates Successful Relocation of Afghan Interpreter to the UK (7 February 2024)

Date: 07/02/2024
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis Facilitates Successful Relocation of Afghan Interpreter to the UK

Duncan Lewis successful in relocating Afghan interpreter to the UK under the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Policy (02 February 2024).

 

The legal efforts of Duncan Lewis solicitor Jamie Bell and caseworker Mia Forton were crucial in achieving a significant victory for an Afghan interpreter in securing his relocation to the UK under the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Policy [‘ARAP’]., Their client risked his life working alongside British forces in Helmand Province.

 

After enduring a two and a half year wait for relocation under the Policy, the interpreter, his wife and three young children arrived in the UK on 02 February 2024.

 

The ARAP scheme, launched prior to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, is for ‘for Afghan citizens who worked for or with the UK Government in Afghanistan in exposed or meaningful roles’. If found the applicant, his partner and dependent children eligible under the scheme. Any additional eligible family members are also eligible to be relocated to the UK and granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

 

Duncan Lewis challenged the extreme delay to the interpreter’s application, evidencing the significant detriment the family have suffered.

 

The interpreter made two ARAP applications. In 2021, the first was refused due to the prevailing policy at the time. The second made in August 2021 was originally refused in March 2022 as the MOD applied their policy incorrectly and inconsistently. His appeal against this refusal had been pending since May 2022 before the instruction of Duncan Lewis Solicitors

 

Due to escalating threats from the Taliban, the family fled to Pakistan in late 2022. They lived in uncertainty as they were not able to secure long-term residence in the country. After extended pre-action correspondence challenging the delay [in which the interpreter referenced the ongoing risks of deportation], the interpreter was deported to Afghanistan by the Pakistan authorities in December 2023.

 

Urgent judicial review proceedings were initiated by Duncan Lewis Solicitors, led by solicitor Jamie Bell, with Sarah Pinder at Goldsmiths Chambers acting as counsel. Following their urgent application and the swift intervention of the courts, the Ministry of Defence finally admitted the decision to refuse was unlawful and agreed to relocate the family to the UK. The interpreter subsequently made his own arrangements to return to Pakistan to re-join his family.

 

Despite his eligibility under the scheme, it took a further 60 days for the family to be relocated in the UK. Along the way, the family faced the cancellation of their proposed flight date to the UK. The family continued to live in fear that they would be deported again back to Afghanistan whilst they waited for their visas to be confirmed

 

Duncan Lewis Solicitors agreed full costs in relation to the challenge.

 

This case follows the previous commitment and persistence of Jamie Bell and Mia Lucy Forton in representing Afghan claimants such as Duncan Lewis Helps Wrongfully Deported Afghan Interpreter Secure Positive Decision on Application to Enter the UK (12 December 2023).

 

Jamie Bell said: “Amidst legal challenges and policy reversals, efforts to relocate Afghans who supported the British mission continue, but delays and erroneous decisions persist, endangering those who served alongside British forces.  Again, this case sheds light on the laws within the UK’s resettlement scheme, leaving thousands in limbo and dubbed as a “shameful saga of failure” by shadow armed forces minister Luke Pollard”. We are grateful for the intervention of the courts and the support of many who have helped our client to secure safety in the UK.

 

TEAM

 

Jamie Bell is an experienced solicitor at Duncan Lewis in the public law team with significant expertise in a wide variety of complex and high profile cases and a leader in the field in representing Afghan nationals in the asylum appeal and judicial review claim with great success. He is willing to act under extreme time pressures to ensure that justice is achieved for his clients.

 

Mia Forton is a caseworker under the supervisor of Jamie Bell. She takes instructions on a wide array of public law challenges, and asylum appeals with a growing expertise in representing Afghan nationals. She has experience working sensitively with vulnerable clients whilst gathering evidence at short notice for achieve the best results for her clients.

 

Jamie Bell can be contacted at jamieb@duncanlewis.com or via telephone at 02031141184.  Mia Forton can be contacted at miaf@duncanlewis.com or via telephone at 02031141219.

 

Duncan Lewis Solicitors, an award-winning law firm, is renowned for its exceptional legal services and commitment to justice. The company employs a team of highly skilled solicitors offering top-tier representation in 25 fields of law, and ranked as top tier by the Chambers and the Legal 500 legal guides, and as one of the top 250 law firms in the country by the Times. Duncan Lewis was crowned Law Firm of the Year at the Modern Law Awards 2023, further establishing its credentials as one of the leading law firms in the UK.

 

 

 

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