Sunday, 11 January 2009

Update - Zimbabwe

Well, this is the first blog of 2009. What the year will hold for us all, we do not yet know. I start the year optimistically and hope that my high spirits will continue throughout the year. Obviously, I have a number of resolutions, but we will see how long I last with those.

My attempt at blogging has had a slow start. I am conscious that I do not blog regularly. My main problem is that everything I would like to blog about is controversial. The current hot topic is the Middle East, but that is for another day.

I thought I would briefly update interested parties on how the courts are treating the Zimbabwe situation after the recent caselaw. My last entry referred to the case of RN. It has been adopted by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal as a Country Guidance case. It now has the citation RN (Returnees) Zimbabwe CG [2008] UKAIT 00083.

The Home Office (I should say the UK Border Agency) quite correctly decided not to appeal the decision. This in itself is a good result and the Agency ought to be congratulated on taking such a common sense approach to the issue. One day after the decision, I had an Zimbabwean appeal which the IJ allowed on the basis of RN in that the Appellant could not demonstrate loyalty to the current regime. In this regard, the AIT are also taking a very sensible approach to Zimbabwean cases listed to be heard there. Again, they ought to be given credit for this.

UKBA is now conducting a review of all Zimbabwean cases waiting to be heard in the courts. My experience is that many Zimbabweans are now being recognised as refugees on the back of the case of RN and I have had some notable results. The approach being taken on Zimbabweans by both UKBA and the AIT is one which ought to have been taken quite some time ago. However, better late than never and credit ought to be given where credit is due. Let us all hope that this kind of thinking can be applied across the board.

To finish off, I noted in my last posting that an Immigration Judge (IJ) had refused one of my Zimbabwean appeals on the basis that Mugabe was no longer in control. On appeal, a Senior IJ (SIJ) found this approach to be "perverse". We are now waiting for the case to be re-listed.

Let us enter 2009 full of fighting spirit and optimism. Perhaps I should do blogging "requests". If anyone has ideas for topics or anything that they would like to hear my views on, then please let me know. Otherwise, you will be stuck with international politics and legal affairs.

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