R v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Another, ex parte Canbolat

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date30 April 1997
Date30 April 1997

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Evans and Lord Justice Schiemann

Secretary of State for the Home Department and Another, Ex parte Canbolat

Immigration - asylum seekers - Home Secretary entitled to find France safe

Home Secretary entitled to conclude France is a safe third country

In deciding whether a third country was safe for the purposes of section 2 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, the Home Secretary had to satisfy himself that there was no real risk that that country would send an asylum seeker to another country otherwise than in accordance with its international obligations.

Despite the concerns of special adjudicators as to whether asylum seekers in France received a proper opportunity to have their claims determined in accordance with French law, the Home Secretary was entitled to conclude that France was a country to which he could authorise an asylum seeker's removal under the 1996 Act.

The Court of Appeal so held in a reserved judgment dismissing an appeal by Gulay Canbolat against the decision of the Queen's Bench Divisional Court (Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Moses) on February 14 (The Times February 24) to dismiss his application for judicial review of the decisions of:

(i) The Home Secretary issuing a certificate under section 2 of the 1996 Act authorising her removal from the United Kingdom to France as a third safe country for investigation of her claim for asylum under the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) (Cmd 9171) and (1967) (Cmnd 3906) and

(ii) The immigration officer refusing her leave to enter and removing her from the United Kingdom to France.

The applicant, a Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin, arrived from Paris at Waterloo International Station on August 31, 1996 claiming political asylum. On September 1, the Home Secretary issued a certificate under section 2 of the 1996 Act authorising her removal to France.

Section 2(1)(a) of the 1996 Act enabled the Home Secretary to direct the removal of an asylum applicant if he had certified that, in his opinion, the conditions in section 2(2) were fulfilled.

Section 2 provides: "(2) The conditions are - (a) that the person is not a national or citizen of the country…to which he is to be sent; (b) that his life and liberty would not be threatened in that country…(for a Convention reason); and (c) that the government of that country…would not send him to another country…otherwise than in accordance with the Convention.

"(3) This subsection applies to any country…which is or forms part of a member state (of the European Union)…"

Section 3 provides: "(2) A person who has been, or is to be, sent to a country…to which section 2(3) above applies shall not be entitled to bring or pursue an appeal under this section so long as he is in the United Kingdom."

Mr Manjit Gill and Mr Asoka Dias for the applicant; Mr David Pannick, QC and Mr Mark Shaw for the Home Secretary.

THE MASTER OF THE ROLLS, giving the judgment of the court, said that the restriction on the right to appeal against the issue of a certificate under section 2(1) of the 1996 Act contained in section 3(2) could be one of substance.

If in fact the country to which a...

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