R (Farrakhan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLord Phillips MR
Judgment Date30 April 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] EWCA Civ 606
Docket NumberCase No: C/2001/2808
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date30 April 2002

[2002] EWCA Civ 606




The Hon. Mr. Justice Turner


Lord Phillips Mr

Lord Justice Potter and

Lady Justice Arden

Case No: C/2001/2808

The Queen on the Application of Louis Farrakhan
Secretary of State for the Home Department

Monica Carss-Frisk, QC and Steven Kovats (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor for the Appellant)

Nicholas Blake, QC, Matthew Ryder and Raza Husain (instructed by Christian Fisher for the Respondent)

Lord Phillips MR

This is the judgment of the Court



Louis Farrakhan is a United States citizen who is based in Chicago. He is an African-American. He is the spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam, a religious, social and political movement whose aims include 'the regeneration of black self-esteem, dignity and self discipline'. A branch of the Nation of Islam has been established in the United Kingdom. Mr Farrakhan has long been anxious to come to address his followers in this country and they have been keen to receive a visit from him. Thus far, he has never been permitted to enter the country. This appeal concerns the most recent decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department refusing him admission.


That decision was contained in a letter dated 20 November 2000. The reasons given for excluding Mr Farrakhan included the following:

"[He] has given close attention to the current tensions in the Middle East and to the potential impact on community relations in the United Kingdom. He has concluded that a visit to the United Kingdom by [Mr Farrakhan], or the lifting of his exclusion generally, would at the present time pose an unwelcome and significant threat to community relations and in particular to relations between the Muslim and Jewish communities here and a potential threat to public order for that reason. Further, the Home Secretary remains concerned that the profile of [Mr Farrakhan's] visit would create a risk of public disorder at those meetings."


Mr Farrakhan applied to Turner J. for an order quashing the decision of the Secretary of State. His application succeeded. In a judgment dated 1 October 2001 Turner J. held that the Secretary of State was required to demonstrate objective justification for excluding Mr Farrakhan from this country and that this he had failed to do.


The Secretary of State applied to Sedley L.J. for permission to appeal to this Court. Sedley L.J. granted his application, but in his reasons indicated that he did not consider that the appeal had a realistic prospect of success. The reason that he gave permission to appeal was because the issues raised by this case would be relevant on the next occasion that Mr Farrakhan applied to enter this country. As to these, Sedley L.J. commented:

"There is no issue about the primacy of the Home Secretary's judgment; nor about the need for it to be within the law. The main issues in my view are:

• To what extent Art.16 limits the applicability of Art. 10 to the Home Secretary's exercise of his power to exclude a foreign national from the UK on public good grounds.

• To what extent the licence for local intolerance given by the Otto Preminger decision ought to affect judicial review of executive decisions in this country.

Whatever the answers, the Home Secretary will still have to face up to the exiguousness of the grounds for his decision."

The nature of the challenge


Mr Blake, QC, on behalf of Mr Farrakhan, described the challenge made to the decision of the Secretary of State as a 'reasons challenge'. The Secretary of State had explained the policy that he had applied when considering whether Mr Farrakhan should be admitted to this country. He had failed, however, to give the reasons why the application of that policy had led to the exclusion of Mr Farrakhan. The consequence of the quashing of his decision was not that he was obliged to admit Mr Farrakhan, but that, if he decided to continue to exclude him, he would have to provide adequate reasons for so doing.


It is correct that the judgment of Turner J. is redolent with statements that the Secretary of State had given inadequate reasons for his decision. But the basis upon which his decision was quashed is encapsulated in the following sentence from paragraph 48 of the judgment:

"The inference which a court is bound to draw in the absence of a sufficiency of justification (reasons) is that there are none which will support the conclusion reached, or decision made, as being properly within the 'discretionary area of judgment'."


We do not believe that, under established principles of judicial review, the absence of reasons gives rise to the inference that none exists. Turner J. did not, however, rest on the inference to which he referred. He held, in paragraphs 41 and 42, that it was appropriate to carry out a rigorous review of the 'reasons provided and of the underlying circumstances' in order to decide whether the Secretary of State had reached a conclusion which was not open to a reasonable decision maker. In considering whether there was a basis for the supposition that a likelihood or risk that disorder would occur if Mr Farrakhan were to be admitted to this country, it was necessary to look at the history and at the nature of Mr Farrakhan's teachings.


Turner J. performed that exercise and concluded that it had not been shown that there was more than a 'nominal risk' that community relations would be harmed if Mr Farrakhan visited this country. It was on that basis that he ordered that the Secretary of State's decision should be quashed.


Turner J's decision was pronounced on 31 July 2001, but his reasoned judgment was handed down on 1 October. The events of September 11 had intervened. We suspect that it was with those events particularly in mind that Turner J., on October 1, emphasised that his judgment had regard to the state of affairs pertaining on 31 July and that nothing in his judgment could prejudge what decision might have been taken if other domestic political or international circumstances had prevailed.


Before us Mr Blake emphasised the point, which was plainly correct, that if we were to uphold Turner J's judgment, the Secretary of State would have to consider afresh, in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time, any renewed application by Mr Farrakhan, to enter this country. The only practical significance of this judgment lies in any guidance that it may afford to the Secretary of State should he have to undertake that task.

The legislative framework


The position of persons seeking to enter this country from abroad is governed by a complex patchwork of statutory rules and regulations. Section 1 of the Immigration Act 1971 empowers the Secretary of State to lay down rules for regulating the entry into the United Kingdom of persons not having a right of abode here, including visitors. Section 3 of that Act provides that a person who is not a British citizen shall not enter the United Kingdom unless given leave to do so in accordance with the provisions of, or made under, the Act.


Lengthy Immigration Rules (HC395) have been made pursuant to ss. 1, 3(2) of the 1971 Act. Rule 41 lays down requirements for leave to enter as a visitor with which Mr Farrakhan would have complied. Rule 320(6) provides, however, that grounds for refusing leave to enter include:

"Where the Secretary of State has personally directed that the exclusion of a person from the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good."


Section 59 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 makes provision for an appeal to an adjudicator against the refusal of leave to enter the United Kingdom. Section 60(9) of that Act provides, however, that:

"Section 59 does not entitle a person to appeal against a refusal of leave to enter, or against a refusal of an entry clearance, if—

(a) the Secretary of State certifies that directions have been given by the Secretary of State (and not by a person acting under his authority) for the appellant not to be given entry to the United Kingdom on the ground that his exclusion is conducive to the public good;


(b) the leave to enter, or entry clearance, was refused in compliance with any such directions."

The history of the exclusion of Mr Farrakhan


Mr Farrakhan is a charismatic and a controversial figure. On various occasions, none of which was later than 1998, his public pronouncements in the United States embraced accusations, in extreme language, that those who had been guilty of exploiting the black people included wealthy Jews. More recently he has emphasised the need for black people to establish self-esteem, dignity and self-discipline.


On 16 January 1986, the then Home Secretary, Mr Douglas Hurd, gave his personal direction that Mr Farrakhan should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the ground that his presence would not be conducive to the public good. He expressed the belief that Mr Farrakhan's public statements in the United States gave reasonable cause to believe that, if he came to the United Kingdom, he would be likely to cause racial disharmony and possibly commit the offence of inciting racial hatred.


No attempt to challenge Mr Farrakhan's exclusion appears to have been made until 1997. In September of that year the late Mr Bernie Grant MP invited Mr Jack Straw, who was then Home Secretary, to reconsider Mr Farrakhan's continued exclusion. Mr Straw replied on the 30 October 1997 as follows:

"As in all cases where individuals have been excluded from the United Kingdom the need for Mr Farrakhan's continued...

To continue reading

Request your trial
45 cases
  • Toronto Coalition to Stop the War et al. v. Canada (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) et al., (2010) 374 F.T.R. 177 (FC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Federal Court (Canada)
    • 27 September 2010
    ...dismissed (2010), 405 N.R. 390 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 81]. R. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department; Ex parte Farrakhan, [2002] EWCA Civ. 606; [2002] 4 All E.R. 289, refd to. [para. 82]. G.W. v. Immigration Officer, [2009] UKAIT 00050, refd to. [para. 82]. Kleindienst et al. v. M......
  • Toronto Coalition to Stop the War c. Canada (Sécurité publique et Protection civile),
    • Canada
    • Federal Court (Canada)
    • 27 September 2010
    ...refused, [2010] 1 S.C.R. xv; Farrakhan, R (on the application of) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2002] EWCA Civ 606, [2002] Q.B. 1391; GW (EEA reg 21: “fundamental interests”) Netherlands, [2009] UKAIT 00050; Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972); Allende......
  • W.W. and Another v The Minister for Justice and Another
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 2 June 2023
    ...under s.4(3)(j), Hogan J. referenced by way of example the decision of the English Court of Appeal in R. (Farrakhan) v. Home Secretary [2002] EWCA Civ 606, [2002] Q.B. 1391. There, public policy elided with personal conduct such to deny Mr. Farrakhan entry to the UK “by reason of the risk......
  • Jin Liang Li v Governor of Clover Hill Prison
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 28 November 2012
    ...FOR JUSTICE UNREP HOGAN 21.7.2011 2011/21/5319 2011 IEHC 328 IMMIGRATION ACT 2004 S4 R (FARRAKHAN) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPT 2002 QB 1391 2002 3 WLR 481 2002 4 AER 289 REFUGEE ACT 1996 S9(8)(B) BENNETTS v GOVERNOR OF CLOVERHILL PRISON UNREP BIRMINGHAM 20.6.2008 2008/3/541 2008 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Judicial Deference under the Human Rights Act
    • United Kingdom
    • The Modern Law Review No. 65-6, November 2002
    • 1 November 2002
    ...102–103 [85–92] per Woolf LCJ.26 n 18 above, 122 [36] per Lord Bingham.27 R (Farrakhan) vSecretary of State for the Home Department [2002] EWCA CIV 606, [2002] 3 WLR481, 503 [74] per Lord Phillips MR.28 R (Lichniak) vSecretary of State for Home Department [2002] QB 296, 309 [23] per Kennedy......
  • Balancing rights in a democracy: the problems with limitations and overrides of rights under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
    • Australia
    • Melbourne University Law Review Vol. 32 No. 2, August 2008
    • 1 August 2008
    ...of State for the Home Department [2001] 2 AC 532, 546-8 (Lord Steyn); R (Farrakhan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2002] QB 1391, 1416-17 (Lord Phillips); R v Shavler [2003] 1 AC 247, 281 (Lord Hope); International Transport Roth GmbH v Secretary of State for the Home Departm......
  • Offensive Tweeting: Criminal or Just Crass? 'Freedom Only to Speak Inoffensively is not Worth Having
    • United Kingdom
    • Southampton Student Law Review No. 4-1, January 2014
    • 1 January 2014
    ...v Director of Public Prosecutions [2000] H.R.L.R. 249. 20 16 Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Farrakhan [2002] 4 All E.R. 289. [13] (Laws L.J) 17Kentridge, S, “Freedom Of ௗSpeech: Is It The Primary Right?” (1996) 45 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 253......
  • Jackson v Attorney General: Moving Toward a Legal Constitution
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review No. X-2007, January 2007
    • 1 January 2007
    ...v Rehman [2003] 1 AC 153, at 187 and 195 (in relation to national security); R (Farrakhan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2002] QB 1391 (CA). at 1418 (in relation to public order and immigration methods). 5 [1983] 1 AC 768. 53 See in particular James Dignan, "Policy-Making, L......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT