QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF SOGRA SHAMSI||(CLAIMANT)|
|SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MISS L GIOVANNETTI (instructed by Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"The Secretary of State may not provide or arrange for the provision of support to a person under a provision mentioned in subsection (2) if -
(a) the person makes a claim for asylum which is recorded by the Secretary of State, and
(b) the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the claim was made as soon as reasonably practicable after the person's arrival in the United Kingdom."
It was on those grounds that the claimant sought permission in the first instance, but that aspect of her claim was not permitted by Stanley Burnton J to proceed further.
"This section shall not prevent -
(a) the exercise of a power by the Secretary of State to the extent necessary for the purpose of avoiding a breach of a person's Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998)..."
What the claimant seeks to say is that on the authorities the Secretary of State should have reached the conclusion, or alternatively should now reach the conclusion, that there would be a breach of her Convention rights if the necessary support was not provided.
"2.7 What is your current address?
A: The Norfolk House Hotel ... "
That is where she was being accommodated. In answer to the question she also said, as recorded:
"Last night in the hotel, before that in son's house for 2 nights, before that in Iranian lady's house."
At 2.18 she said that she had no friends or relatives in the United Kingdom who could provide her with food and/or accommodation. She was asked:
"What about your son and the Iranian friend?"
"Iranian friend let me stay for a few days. Son has own difficulties and small room."
She revealed in paragraph 2.20 that she had come to the United Kingdom with some £500 to £600, but had only £30 left.
"Why did you leave your son's house?
A: I want to be on my own, he wants to be independent, I want to be independent too."
"Where is your son living?
A: 43 Wood Lane, London W12 70P.
Q: Is this a house?
A: One small flat rented from another Iranian.
Q: Where did you meet the Iranian women?
A: I met her on the street. I told her my situation.
Q. Where did your son go on the day you arrived?
A: He was with me, a few days later he found a house. He stayed a few days with this lady with me. Then he found a house for himself. He did not have enough money for me."
Those are the principal answers in the interview on the question of accommodation.
"I certify that the above details are fully understand and are correct."
Then there was the signature of the screening officer.
"The Secretary of State notes that you arrived in UK with your son who has a British Passport. He considers that you have spent a night with him in [sic] since you arrived here and he believes that it is not infeasible [sic] for you to live with him for the time being. The fact that you both want independent lives is a frivolous request for someone who is claiming Asylum.
He also finds it incredible that you met an Iranian
woman on the street on the day of your arrival that allowed you to stay at her house for a few night [sic]. He also notes that when you asked if your son stayed here you said "no". Then when asked where he stayed before he found a house, you stated he stayed with you and this lady. The Secretary of State does not believe that this account is true.
In all the circumstances the Secretary of State is not satisfied that you made your asylum claim as soon as reasonably practicable after your arrival in the United Kingdom.
The Secretary of State is not satisfied that there are any circumstances in your case that would exempt you from section 55. You may not, therefore, be provided with support..."
"The burden of satisfying the Secretary of State that such support is necessary is on the applicant. Under Article 3 the applicant must satisfy the Secretary of State that such support is necessary to avoid his or her being subjected to 'inhuman or degrading treatment'. The threshold is a high one."
And more recently, the case which is now in the Court of Appeal, the case of S, D and T  EWHC Admin 1941, a judgment handed down by Maurice Kay J on 31st July, where at paragraph 33 he said:
"33. I have dealt with the three cases under Article 3 by reference to their individual facts and the law as I understand it to be. However, it has been emphasized by both counsel that these are test cases and, in the circumstances, it is appropriate that I should say a little more. It is not inevitable that anyone refused asylum support will be able to rely on Article 3. For one thing, they may have access to private or charitable funds or support such that Article 3 will simply not arise. Some are more resilient or resourceful than others. However, when a person without such access is refused asylum support and must wait for a protracted but indefinite period of time for the determination of his asylum application it will often happen that, denied access to employment and other benefits, he will soon be reduced to a state of destitution (not in the section 95 sense). Without accommodation, food or the means to obtain them, he will have little alternative but to beg or resort to crime. Many, like the claimants in the present case, will have little choice but to beg and sleep rough. In those circumstances and with uncertainty as to the duration of their predicament, the humiliation and diminution of their human dignity with the consequences referred to in Pretty will often follow within a short period of time. If their asylum applications were determined expeditiously, the problem might be easy to contain. However, many are not dealt with expeditiously. By their asylum applications they are brought into a relationship with our public authorities. Our public authorities are obliged to respect their human rights. No one should be surprised if, within a short period of time, the demands of Article 3 require the relief of damage to human dignity which is caused by (to repeat the words of Lord Justice Simon Brown) "a life so destitute that ... no civilised nation can tolerate it". I do not suppose that any reasonable person, including the Secretary of State, views the alternative with equanimity."