Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners recommended Public Law Director James Packer was interviewed on LBC's Nick Ferrari show discussing the matter of a nine-year-old Sheffield schoolgirl facing deportation to Nigeria this month despite fears that she may be forced to submit to female genital mutilation (FGM).
Nine-year- old Eghosa Uwagboe was born in Britain in 2006 and has never travelled abroad, but her parents were living in the UK illegally and the Home Office has rejected the family’s claims for asylum.
If deported to Nigeria Eghosa faces risks of being forced to submit to Female Genital Mutilation.
Duncan Lewis Public Law Director James Packer was interviewed on LBC’s Nick Ferrari Show discussing the matter.
“This is a very sad case (...) I am afraid stories of this sort are all too common in our asylum system.
You have highlighted of course the real difficulties that everyone will understand that Eghosa would face being asked to leave the country and go live somewhere she has never seen aged nine and there used to be policies to prevent the removal of children who have lived in the United Kingdom for more than seven years. But they have been swept away in recent years and Eghosa would have had to have made a claim for asylum.
Now, in Asylum matters, and I should say here straight away that I don’t think there is any question that the Home Office would have thought that Eghosa was at risk of FGM and yet nonetheless decided that didn’t amount to a claim for asylum. I think here that the question is whether or not Eghosa has been able to show that she is at a real risk of FGM if she is removed to Nigeria.
In cases of these sorts, in theory they’re to be decided on the balance of probability with the benefit of doubt going to the side of the applicants, but I’m afraid that I, along with the vast majority of Immigration Lawyers would say that in practice the burden is reversed and indeed there was a recent report into the asylum process by the Government itself, and that has confirmed that there is indeed a culture of disbelief among those in the Home Office in deciding cases of this nature.
Those sorts of difficulties are are exacerbated of course because of the recent revelations that the Home Office are recruiting Gap Year Students to undertake the decisions in these cases.”
The full interview can be accessed for LBC Podcast subscribers by clicking here.