QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF MRS AMINA MOHAMED HAMFI||(CLAIMANT)|
|THE IMMIGRATION APPEAL TRIBUNAL||(DEFENDANT)|
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
THE DEFENDANT DID NOT APPEAR AND WAS NOT REPRESENTED.
MR ADAM ROBB (instructed by THE TREASURY SOLICITOR, LONDON) appeared on behalf of the INTERESTED PARTY
Crown Copyright ©
"Only pre-existing families are eligible for family reunion i.e. the spouse and minor children who formed part of the family unit prior to the time the sponsor fled to seek asylum.
We may exceptionally allow other members of the family (e.g. elderly parents) to come to the UK if there are compelling, compassionate circumstances."
"29. How old are you?
I am old enough.
30. Why does VAF [Visa Application Form] say you were born in 1944 which makes you 58?
Maybe the man invent from his head when he was writing.
31. Why on your previous application does it say you born 1944?
"I then interviewed the sponsor's brother Adnan ... I noted that in the sponsor's witness statement she stated he had the mind of a child, his mother also indicated that he had a mental problem and did not want him interviewed. I wished to speak to him myself and if he couldn't be interviewed I would stop. But what I found was a lucid, competent and above all, a truthful applicant. [Adnan] stated that he last saw the sponsor in 1991 in Djibouti. He stated that he last saw his siblings a month before his interview in Djibouti where he was living. [Adnan] stated that his father and mother supported him in Djibouti. When it was put to him that his father had died he replied, "yes, in 1994 in Djibouti". [Adnan] was clear in his statement when he said that his father supported him, he was probably briefed to say that he had died. I have my doubts after Wilson and Co.'s statement that he was alive and living in Somalia. [Adnan] stated that he had never lived in Dire Dawa [where the family were supposed to be living] He stated that the family lived in three rooms, they did not pay rent because it belonged to them."
"In view of the facts above, I was not satisfied that the appellants can and will be maintained and accommodated adequately without recourse to public funds in accommodation, which the sponsor owns or occupies exclusively."
"I was not satisfied that the appellants were living outside the United Kingdom in the most exceptional compassionate circumstances and mainly dependent financially on the sponsor settled in the United Kingdom. I was not satisfied that the appellants have no close relatives in their own country to which they could turn."
"Prior to the war I lived in Hargeisa with my family. I married in December 1990 and before that I lived with my parents. My father was a trader. He lived in the city. We are a City family living in one house. I am the eldest child.
6. It is remarkable and extreme good fortune that all my siblings have survived the war in Somalia -- although 4 are now missing in Ethiopia. Many cousins, aunts and uncles have been killed.
My family have been in Diredawa since 1990, they live in a shanty town outside the town."
"3. In May 1988 my home town of Hargeisa was destroyed by an aerial bombardment. My whole family were forced to flee to the Harshin refugee camp in Ethiopia. We reached Ethiopia in July 1988. We all lived together there until 1989. I then managed to flee to Djibouti and eventually arrived in the UK on 1st August 1990.
4. I married [my present husband] in 1990. We are currently separated. He is living in the UK."
"I have doubts about the interview apart from that because the questions and answers do not seem to follow. If someone says "I am old enough" and then it is put to her in a way that it appears that the date on the visa application form is wrong it is difficult to know how she should react to that. One wonders whether the Entry Clearance Officer is trying to elicit the truth or simply trip someone up."
"In oral evidence the sponsor said that she had been married for the first time in a forced marriage to a man from the armed services who took the family out of Somalia. They did not live together and she had no children by him. With the help of her father the couple were subsequently divorced."
Quite how that fitted in and what was the motive for the forced marriage is not entirely clear. Mr Toal informed me that it was his recollection that what had been said was that the marriage had been forced because the army officer in question had been able to get the family out of Somalia and into Ethiopia. That may be the case, but again it is somewhat curious that it has not been referred to in any of her statements and came to light for the first time, it seems, when she gave evidence before the adjudicator.
"Now whatever else may be said about the interviews and the evidence of the sponsor, there is no suggestion other than they did indeed form a single family unit. Furthermore that unit was separated only by the need of the sponsor to seek international protection and her need was recognised by the grant of refugee status in this country."
"18. He [counsel for the appellant, Mr Toal] pointed out that in his determination, the adjudicator had found that the Entry Clearance Officer had conducted her interviews in an unfair way. She had not invited the son to explain the inconsistencies in his answers, and did not ask the mother to comment on those answers. The Entry Clearance Officer's unfairness in the way in which she conducted the interviews undermined the weight to be attached to her conclusions. It is therefore open to the adjudicator to substitute his own fair findings of fact ...
19. He submitted that the adjudicator had had the benefit of hearing oral evidence from both the sponsor and the second witness [named]. He was persuaded by that evidence. That was a conclusion which was properly open to him."