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Mrs Justice Steyn quashes the Home Secretary’s decision to refuse entry to the 4 children of an Afghan Judge

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The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (“ARAP”) was launched in April 2021 for Afghan Locally Employed Staff (“LES”) and other personnel who had worked with the UK in Afghanistan. It followed on from two previous schemes, the “ex-gratia scheme” and the “intimidation policy”. The intimidation policy was introduced in 2010 to support Afghan staff locally employed by the UK whose safety was threatened in Afghanistan due to their work for the UK. The intimidation policy ran until 31 March 2021, when it was replaced by ARAP.

The first claimant was a former Judge in Afghanistan and his work involved a close partnership with the British Embassy in Kabul.  Many of the criminals he convicted, including dangerous drug producers and dealers, had been released by the Taliban following the August 2021 takeover. The British Embassy paid part of his salary and provided him and his family with assistance with personal protection due to the risks associated with his work. Despite accepting the First Claimant as an ARAP principal (which eventually led to his relocation to the UK in August 2022) the Home Secretary rejected the application by the Judge’s 4 unmarried children for them to be granted leave outside the rules (LOTR) as additional family members of an ARAP principal so as to enable them to be relocated to the UK despite overwhelmingly strong evidence of threats to the safety of the children directly linked to their father’s work.

In quashing the refusal to grant LOTR to the 4 claimant children, Steyn J. castigated the Home Secretary’s decision as “fundamentally flawed” on the basis that the risk in relation to all of them had not been rationally assessed.  She also criticised the Home Secretary for taking “thoroughly bad credibility points”.

Tim Owen KC and Emma Daykin (instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn) acted for claimants.

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