New judgment: Zoumbas v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 74
27 Wednesday Nov 2013
On appeal from:  CSIH 87.
Mr Zoumbas challenged the dismissal of his asylum claim, for the manner in which the Secretary of State dealt with the best interests of his children. In interpreting ZH (Tanzania) on the consideration of the best interests of a child, the Court held that no factor should be given greater weight than the interests of a child. This did not mean it had to be considered first, with other possible countervailing issues considered thereafter. What was important was that the best interests of the children are at the forefront of the decision-maker’s mind. That conclusions on best interests were set out briefly in the Secretary of State’s decision letter did not mean they were not considered carefully, and she did not need to record and deal with every piece of evidence in her letter. On an irrationality point, it was legitimate for the decision-maker to ask herself first whether it would have been proportionate to remove the parents if they had no children, then in considering the best interests of the children in the proportionality exercise, ask whether their well-being altered that provisional balance.