QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
(CROWN OFFICE LIST)
B e f o r e :
|- v -|
|SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT|
|EX PARTE MAPERE|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited
180 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HD
Telephone No: 0171-421 4040/0171-404 1400
Fax No: 0171-831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR P SALES (instructed by the Treasury Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.
Crown Copyright ©
"I told an entry clearance officer whom I met that I wanted to come to the United Kingdom to study in the country. I showed the officer all the documents relating to my admission and the sponsorship of the course. The official at the British High Commission informed me that entry clearance for the purposes of study in the United Kingdom could not be proposed until 15th January 2000.
My documents were examined, I believe thoroughly, by the entry clearance officer in Zimbabwe. The entry clearance officer assured me that I should have no problems obtaining entry into the United Kingdom on arrival in the United Kingdom, and that there was no need for me to wait until the British High Commission in Zimbabwe could deal with my entry clearance application."
"I met a woman at one of the counters at the public callers unit whom I thought to be the entry clearance officer. However, after reading the witness statement of Mr Brookes, I now realise I was wrong. I still insist that the lady advised that I would not have any problem gaining entry into the United Kingdom if I was sure that my papers are genuine. I also asked the lady what else I needed in addition to the documents I had provided. She replied that I needed money for living expenses. I asked her 'how much do I need?' She replied that I needed to have at least £300 with me when I arrived in the United Kingdom. I then took the application form for entry clearance, which I have duly completed, home with me because the lady said that the next visa processing section would be on 15th January 2000."
"I told him what the lady at the British High Commission said. He told me that that was the same way he came to the United Kingdom, so there should not be a problem. I then proceeded to prepare for my journey."
"In any event, an estoppel could not be raised to prevent a statutory body exercising its statutory discretion or performing its statutory duty, and therefore, even if the council's officers while acting in the apparent scope of their authority had purported to determine the plaintiff's planning applications in advance, that was not binding on the council because it alone had power under the 1971 Act to determine the applications. Furthermore, although a planning authority might be bound by the decisions of an officer if the power to decide the particular matter had been, or appeared to be, delegated to the officer, for an estoppel to arise in such circumstances there had to be some evidence, over and above the mere fact of the officer's position, on which the applicant was justified in thinking that the officer's statements would bind the council. Since there was nothing, apart from the position held by the planning officer, on which the plaintiffs could have assumed that the officer could bind the council, the council was not estopped by anything the planning officer had said from refusing the plaintiffs' applications for planning consent."
"Regulation 10 of HC 169 recognises that foreign nationals may well wish to ascertain in advance whether they are eligible for admission to the United Kingdom and the obvious place to go to, to ascertain that, in the case of a foreign national who is already in this country and is merely contemplating a short trip abroad to be followed by return to this country, is Lunar House. That would-be visitors should be able to know in advance whether they are likely to be admitted is conducive to the smooth operation of an immigration service, and for my part I would hold that the official at Lunar House had power to give some assurance to the appellant."