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FAMILY LAW UPDATE - Zoom Wednesday 17 June : Procedure Rules, ABE Interviews and Vulnerable Witnesses.

This Family Law Update will take place via a Zoom conference meeting at 4 pm on Wednesday 17 June, 2020. This is a change of date from the original planned for 3 June. Speakers from No.8 Chambers will be Davinder Dhaliwal and Naomi Hobbs.

Please click here to register for the meeting.

All registrants for the cancelleled 3 June meeting should receive an e-mail with the revised details for Wednesday 17 June.

Changes to the Immigration Rules for Representatives of Overseas Businesses ‘Sole Reps’

In this video Adam Pipe considers the changes to the Immigration Rules, introduced by Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules CP 232 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-of-changes-to-the-immigration-rules-cp-232-14-may-2020 from 4th June 2020, for Representative of Overseas Businesses ’Sole Reps’.

This route has been very popular since the closure of the Entrepreneur route and the difficulties with the Innovator and Start-up visas. The Home Office have introduced a number of amendments and clarifications tightening up this route with a focus on a subjective genuineness test. Applications made before 4th June 2020 will be under the old rules.

View the video here.

Law Update Seminar Video: COVID-19 Changes and Latest Case Law

This online seminar was hosted by The Bushra Ali Group with Adam Pipe & Emma Rutherford from No.8 Chambers. Emma looked at developments in policy and procedure as a result of COVID-19 and Adam gave a Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights update. This seminar was recorded on 7.5.20 (at 12pm and 4pm) and practitioners should always check for subsequent developments and changes.

Access the YouTube links here.

12 pm session

4 pm session

Some thoughts on the New Country Guidance case on Afghanistan.

The much-delayed Upper Tribunal Country Guidance case, AS (Safety of Kabul) Afghanistan CG [2020] UKIAT 00130 (IAC) has just been promulgated. It might be recalled that following AS (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2019] EWCA Civ 873 a statistical error was found in the original hearing (AS (Safety of Kabul) Afghanistan CG [2018] UKUT 118 (IAC)) so the case had to be reheard in part. Sensibly the Upper Tribunal took account of fresh developments in Afghanistan in relation to Kabul Province (not just Kabul) to deal with the risk of serious harm in Kabul (and so any Article 15 (c) of the Qualification Directive point) and the reasonableness of internal relocation to Kabul.

Now in outline the position the Tribunal adopted was to endorse the previous Country Guidance case AK (Article 15 (c) Afghanistan CG [2012] UKUT 00163 (IAC) [in which I and fellow Chambers member Emma Rutherford appeared for the Appellant], which as a result still remains Country Guidance. However, in my view the position is slightly more sympathetic in relation to relocation. Previously the Guidance had held that being an Internally Displaced Person in Kabul was in general neither unsafe nor unreasonable (save for alone women), although (see AK (supra) [243]) it would still be necessary to examine individual circumstances.

In the new Guidance, the head note (iii) in AS (supra) reads that in general it would not be unreasonable or unduly harsh for a single adult male in good health to relocate to Kabul even without specific connections or a support network, and even without a Tazkera. However and importantly, this is qualified by head note (iv) which states that a list of factors would need to considered as to whether a person fell into the general position as stated. The list is quite large, and includes age, support and connections with Kabul/Afghanistan, physical and mental health, language, education, and vocational skills.

Further points are then made in head note (v) as to matters to take into account, such as the familiarity with the social and cultural norms of the country, which may be affected by the age the person left the country, and the length of absence, and any support network/connection with Kabul.

Potentially then, given these factors to be taken into account, there is now a little more scope to argue against the reasonableness of internal relocation if a person can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in his home area of the country.

Stephen Vokes, Head of the Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights team, No.8 Chambers.