Claims against the Defence Secretary by individuals alleging they were CHIS in Afghanistan dismissed


Re: K, A & B v Secretary of State for Defence & Ors [2019] EWHC 1757 (Admin)

These judicial review proceedings concern Afghan nationals who claimed that they worked for the defendants in Afghanistan as covert human intelligence sources and that due to this they were forced to move from where they lived to protect themselves. They claimed that the defendants ought to provide financial assistance to help protect them from the threats, deal with their consequences, and as compensation.

The defendants conducted an assessment of each of the claimants’ circumstances, particularly concerning the alleged risks to their security in Afghanistan, in order to determine whether any action should be taken with respect to them. The defendants rejected the claimants’ accounts and the claimants brought judicial review proceedings.

The court dismissed the claim. Having considered material in both open and closed court, the court concluded that the assessments made of each of the claimants were lawful, and that no further action was required by the defendants.

The court concluded that the defendants were reviewing afresh the implications of further information as it came in rather than unduly striving to maintain a decision. The court held that there was no culture of disbelief, but rather reasoned assessments. It also held that the assessments focused on important factors and not minor inconsistencies within the claimants’ testimonies, and that the areas where the claimants’ evidence had been rejected as untruthful or unreliable could not be explained away by any difficulties in giving evidence, tiredness, losing the thread or interpretation.

Tim Owen QC, Samantha Knights QC and Jonathan Glasson QC were involved in this case.