Court of Appeal dismisses EU victim of trafficking’s appeal in connection with the decision her asylum claim was inadmissible


Re: ZV (Lithuania) v Secretary of State For The Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 1196

The appellant, a Lithuanian national who is an established victim of trafficking, applied for permission to appeal the decision of Garnham J in Birmingham on 2 and 3 July 2018 regarding her challenge to the inadmissibility decision regarding her application for asylum as an EU national (Ground 1). She also applied for permission that provision of appropriate support had been both unlawfully delayed and inadequate whilst she was detained (Ground 4).

The appellant was trafficked to this country in late 2009 by a man with referred to as DE.  Over the next six or so years she was under his close control and was forced to act as a prostitute.  She was frequently beaten by him and instigated and encouraged her addiction to heroin.  At his instigation she also regularly engaged in shoplifting: she was convicted on nine occasions and had short terms of imprisonment.  In April 2017, the appellant was convicted of possession of cannabis and a previous two-month sentence of imprisonment was activated and consequently, on 20 June 2017 she was served with notice of deportation on the basis that she was a persistent offender. In response to that notice, she claimed asylum and her claim was declared inadmissible.

Held: appeal on Ground 1 was dismissed. Permission to appeal on Ground 4 was granted, but appeal on this ground was also dismissed.

On Ground 1, the primary question for the court in interpreting para 326 E-F of the Immigration Rules and the Spanish Protocol was whether there were compelling reasons to believe that there was a clear risk that Lithuania  would be unable or unwilling to afford the appellant the level of protection required by the Refugee Convention (applying the Horvath standard) if she were to be deported. The court found no compelling reasons existed.

On Ground 4, the Court of Appeal’s starting-point for was that Garnham J’s decision on the adequacy of the medical and/or psychological support afforded to the Appellant was a decision of fact, with which the court should interfere if only satisfied that it was wrong.  This court considered that Garnham J was entitled to find that there was no breach in this case of the duty to give adequate medical and/or psychological support to the Appellant.

Ms Samantha Knights QC and Ms Zoe McCallum were involved in this case.