Case Reports & Client Stories
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked with conflict since the 1990s, with over 3 million killed. Mrs T was a member of a dissident political organisation in DRC. In 2003, she was detained by DRC authorities and subject to horrific torture. In 2004, she fled to the UK and sought asylum. Asylum was refused as her account was considered inconsistent. JCWI obtained medical evidence to show PTSD and trauma had affected her memory, and she was granted asylum in 2008.
Throughout her asylum claims, Mrs T repeatedly and continually mentioned her family in DRC. She had lost contact with her children after being detained in 2003. In 2008, through the British Red Cross, she finally traced her children, who had found shelter in a church in DRC. Intent on reuniting with her children, her limited resources and the conflict in DRC meant she could only reunite with one of them, BT, in 2011. Four years later LM, BT’s twin brother, was refused refugee family reunion because the Home Office didn’t accept he was Mrs T’s son. Their relationship was proven by a DNA test. Meanwhile, Mrs T was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
The Home Office continued to argue that LM had an independent life in DRC and could maintain his relationship with his mum and sister through the internet and telephone. We argued that living on a church floor, desperate to be reunited with his family, was certainly not an independent life.
The Tribunal allowed the appeal, and directed that the Home Office grant entry clearance to LM. Finally, after 12 years, Mrs T is about to be reunited with her child.
Leave to remain means vulnerable client gets the vital support he needs to live with his mental health condition
JCWI faced a series of obstacles in fighting for the future of this client. By August 2016 we had exhausted all rights of appeal. Despite an initial refusal of legal aid, we lodged a Cart Judicial Review (a JR is the legal procedure to review a decision of a public body, such as the Home Office). This was successful, meaning that the appeal proceedings were revived and our client’s appeal was allowed. In March 2017 our client was granted limited leave to remain for 30 months with recourse to public funds.
Our client suffers from Bipolar Affective Disorder and lives in supported accommodation. Had JCWI not continued to fight, he would have been forced to return to Nigeria, where mental health support services are non-existent. He would have had to leave behind his support system, namely his wife and sister, in the UK. The likelihood of him relapsing upon return was high.
This had all been accepted at our client’s first appeal at the First Tier Tribunal (FtT), and yet it was still dismissed. This error was subsequently corrected by the Upper Tribunal, which found that the judge in the original appeal had in fact made an error of law: having accepted that our client was likely to suffer a mental health relapse if returned to Nigeria, the judge should have allowed the appeal.
Our client is a Ukrainian national from the Russian-separatist occupied part of Eastern Ukraine. It was while he and his wife were visiting his daughter – a British national – in the UK, that violence at home increased, making them fear for their safety there. In addition to this, both husband and wife have serious health conditions and fighting had seen their treatment interrupted.
As it was unsafe for them to return to the Ukraine they claimed asylum here. When their claim was dismissed as unfounded and they were denied the right to appeal in the UK, JCWI lodged a Judicial Review. The JR was successful, the Upper Tribunal found our client’s asylum claim was not bound to fail and so they were allowed to appeal from within the UK. This meant that they could remain in safety whilst appealing the decision, throughout this time they were supported by their British daughter, her husband and our client’s grandchildren.
Following a successful appeal before the FtT, in May 2017 our client and his wife were granted refugee status – allowing them to live safely in the UK, with their British family and with access to essential healthcare. The striking feature of this case is that the evidence which persuaded the FtT that our client should be recognised as a refugee was the same as the evidence before the Home Office when the claim was dismissed as bound to fail.
L, a Colombian national, came to the United Kingdom as an asylum seeker in 2002. Her asylum claim was unsuccessful. In 2004 L was granted a five-year Residence Card on the basis of her marriage to R, a Spanish national. In 2007 they had a child together, who is British. L wanted to apply for a Permanent Residence document, because she needed to visit her sick mother in Colombia regularly and always experienced problems when re-entering the UK.
L’s application for a Permanent Residence Card was refused in 2010 and again in 2014, as she could not show that R had been continuously employed for the requisite period. A family member of a European Union citizen has a right to Permanent Residence if the Sponsor (in this case L’s Spanish husband) has been continuously exercising his or her treaty rights for a five-year period. The challenge lay in the nature of R’s work as a chef. Although he had been employed for the last five years, it was with different employers, on short-term contracts. He had been paid in different ways, sometimes in cash. The Home Office routinely refuse such applications on the basis that there are “gaps” in the Sponsor’s continuous employment . In order to show continuous employment, it was necessary to puzzle together all R’s pay-slips, bank transfers and other documents, which proved that he had in fact been working almost continuously for the previous 5 years.
JCWI was able to prove to the Home Office that R had been in continuous employment for the past five years and L was finally successful in her application for a Permanent Residence card, after the third attempt.
Our client fled Libya as a child and was allowed to remain in the UK on a discretionary basis when he arrived here as an unaccompanied minor. Due to turn eighteen, he applied - in time - for further leave to remain.
He never received a Home Office letter inviting him for interview for this application and as a result the Home Office deemed his application withdrawn and served him with a removal notice.
This meant he lost his access to benefits and became homeless and destitute.
He then approached JCWI, whose actions prompted the Home Office to acknowledge that the application for further leave to remain had been wrongly treated as withdrawn. It was therefore accepted that he had made an in time application which was still outstanding.
Our client's benefits were therefore reinstated. Folllowing the submissions made by JCWI, the Home Secretary agreed to grant our client indefinite leave to remain outside of the rules.
This was granted in January 2017. 9 years after he applied for further leave to remain, and after periods of street homelessness caused by administrative delays and mishandling of his application, our client can finally build a secure life in Britain.
We act for a client who with his wife and two children was subject to a deportation order. They have a third child who is a British national and who suffers from a serious heart condition. The Home Office has now granted 30 months’ leave to remain for the wife and children after their appeals were allowed. However, in the same judgment, the Upper Tribunal ruled that the father of the family must be deported as he is classed as a serious criminal offender.
This ruling splits this family. JCWI has now lodged an appeal to the Court of Appeal and await a decision on permission. In our view this appeal raises the important principle as to how the appellate courts must consider the family life rights of serious criminal offenders and the best interests of children.