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Special Immigration Appeals Commission must respect Secretary of State’s assessment of the interests of national security, holds Court of Appeal

Published:

Re: Secretary of State for the Home Department v P3 [2021] EWCA Civ 1642

In an appeal by the Secretary of State from a decision of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), the Court of Appeal held that when considering the Secretary of State’s assessment of the interests of national security in an immigration appeal containing a human rights claim, the SIAC had to respect the Secretary of State’s assessment and could not substitute its own evaluation of the interests of national security.

SIAC allowed P3’s appeal pursuant to section 2(1)(a) of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 against the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse his application for entry clearance. The main issue on this appeal was whether SIAC adopted the correct approach to its role as a specialist appellate tribunal. The second issue was whether SIAC’s approach to the application for entry was wrong in law.

It was held that SIAC erred in law in substituting its assessment of the interests of national security for that of the Secretary of State. It was also held that SIAC erred in law on the question of jurisdiction and, if it arose, on the question whether P3’s right to an effective appeal would be stifled. The Court of Appeal held the decision of SIAC should be quashed, the appeal allowed, and matters remitted. At the remitted hearing it considered SIAC should apply the approach described in R. (on the application of Begum) v Special Immigration Appeals Commission [2021] UKSC 7 to the Secretary of State’s assessment.

James Stansfeld was involved in this case.