On appeal from: [2014] EWCA Civ 50.

The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the appellant’s appeal, in a case concerning the statutory rights to appeal immigration decisions under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

The appellant was a Ugandan citizen who had been granted limited leave to remain in the UK as a student. The appellant made an application for recognition as a refugee, arguing that his brother’s political activities created a real risk of persecution. However, the appellant had less than a year remaining on his permission at this point. The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, s 83 permitted individuals to appeal against rejected asylum applications where the individual had “been granted leave to remain or enter the [UK] for a period exceeding one year (or for periods exceeding one year in aggregate)”.

Lord Hughes gave the only judgment, with which the other Justices agreed.

The Supreme Court identified four possible reading of s 83, however some were more natural than others. It formed the view that the section focused on the time when the asylum claim has been rejected, as the appeal was against this rejection. The correct approach was to whether the condition regarding leave to remain in subsection 1(b) was met on the date of the rejection. Its purpose had been to provide a vehicle of appeal to those who would not have otherwise had one, because they had a longer period of leave to remain.

The Supreme Court thus held that the correct interpretation of s 83 was that grants of leave to remain had to total more than 12 months counting from the date of refusal of the application.

For judgment, please download: [2016] UKSC 33
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court website (12 May 2016 morning session)