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08 december 2015

Britse zaak over Dublin claimant op Malta die geestesziek is

Zowel voor de Staatssecretaris als voor asieladvocaten interessant. In Engeland moet een rechter eerst kijken of er juridisch fouten zijn gemaakt zodat een zaak opnieuw moet. Dus daar gaat hoger beroep wat anders dan bij ons. Deze rechter kijkt of er aanknopingspunten zijn voor een hoger beroep:

  1. I have considered the Upper Tribunal's decision with some care. It seems to me that they did reflect the contents of the evidence that was placed before them, including the important CPT reports from the Council of Europe and made appropriate findings upon them.

  2. Mr Gilbert has pointed out to me that in one respect, in paragraph 40 of the decision, the Upper Tribunal seems to have suggested that the CPT made no specific recommendations in relation to the material conditions in the Mount Carmel Irregular Immigrants Ward. That appears at first sight to be correct, but there is no basis, as I see the matter, for suggesting that the Tribunal did not look carefully at the CPT reports and the other evidence and evaluate them appropriately.

  3. It is unlikely, in my judgment, in the extreme that the Court of Appeal if rerunning that exercise would reach a different conclusion. It is not suggested that there is material new evidence that changes the position, even if cases are proceeding to the Strasbourg court in relation to claims that concern Malta.

  4. In those circumstances, therefore, the application for permission to appeal under the first head boils down to an attempt to re-argue the facts rather than raising any true point of law. In those circumstances, I would be inclined to reject the application for permission to appeal under that head.

  5. I do not think that there is any basis for an appeal against the Upper Tribunal's treatment of Professor Katona's evidence, which it broadly anyway accepted. The point on whether or not the Appellant will be able to communicate with the Maltese health authorities as a result of the traumatic stress that he may face on being returned to Malta is, as far as I can see, far more nuanced that Mr Gilbert submitted. The reality is that he may face difficulties, but those are not difficulties that are likely to breach his Article 3 or indeed Article 18 rights. I do not think that by itself it is a point of law that can vitiate the Upper Tribunal's decision.

  6. As regards the second ground of appeal, namely that the Upper Tribunal ought to have considered the position that would pertain if the Applicant were not imprisoned but were instead allowed to live in a reception centre and might thereby become destitute, this is obviously a possibility, but it does not seem to me to be a possibility that was entirely ignored by the Upper Tribunal. They considered all the evidence as it affected the treatment of migrants in Malta and the risks of an infringement of the Appellant's Article 3 rights.

  7. There is no real basis for saying that as a matter of law the Upper Tribunal went wrong in failing to reach the view that if released in Malta the Appellant would suffer an infringement of his Article 3 rights.

  8. As for the third head, which gave me as much trouble as any of the other two heads of appeal, this related, as I say, to Article 18. Mr Gilbert quite rightly draws attention to the fact that the recognition rate for asylum claims in Malta is very low and that the Tribunal did not deal expressly with his submission to that effect.

  9. I do not think that the Tribunal failed properly on any analysis to deal with Article 18 and the challenges that were made in respect of it as they were placed before it. It is clear from paragraph 49 of the Tribunal's decision that it was well aware of the contention that there were various shortcomings in the Maltese process and procedures for the consideration and determination of asylum claims. So whilst they did not make specific reference to the low recognition rate, the Tribunal quite plainly in rejecting the suggestion that the Appellant was subject to a risk of Article 18 violation was aware of those contentions.

  10. In those circumstances, it seems to me that the Appellant has failed to make out a good basis for the grant of permission to appeal in this case.

  11. I have also considered whether permission should be granted on the basis that other cases relating to Malta are proceeding through the system. I have been told about one particular case called I think YH (Libya), case number C4/2015/3182, where the High Court Judge decided against the Secretary of State in relation to a claim for unlawful detention, but in favour of the Secretary of State as to her certification in respect of Malta. That case is the subject of a pending application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, but permission has not been granted. It does not seem to me, therefore, to offer any reason why this case should be granted permission on the back of it.

  12. I also take the view that if in a lead case the Upper Tribunal considers all the facts with the benefit of expert assistance of counsel and reaches a considered determination, it is not for this court, unless a serious point of law is raised, to second guess that expert determination. The reason for having an Upper Tribunal composed of experts is precisely to avoid such second guessing and re-arguing of factual circumstances, however distressing and important they may be.

  13. I should not conclude this judgment without expressing a certain amount of sympathy for the plight in which the Appellant finds himself. It is obviously an unfortunate situation for any person with mental health problems and suicidal ideations to be faced with forced deportation to another country, even one within the EU and particularly to a country in which he feels he has been previously badly treated, but that is not the matter which I have to decide. I have only to decide whether there is a real point of law raised by his proposed appeal. I should say that I do not believe I would be doing him any favours by granting a stay and putting off the day on which further consideration of this matter was made. I am quite clear, having looked at the papers that have been placed before me, a comprehensive set of papers, that any appeal in this case would be doomed to fail. All, therefore, that I would be doing by staying the removal decision would be putting off the evil day when eventually the Appellant will have to be returned to Malta.

  14. In those circumstances, I will dismiss the application for a stay of the Secretary of State's removal decision and I will refuse permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. I would, had all other matters been equal and had I been inclined to grant permission, have extended time for the filing of the appellant's notice.

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