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16 Sep 20 Back to Listing

Alan Payne QC and John Goss appear for Home Secretary in Court of Appeal in significant case relating to asylum seekers and parental abduction

On 10-11 August 2020, Alan Payne QC and John Goss appeared in the Court of Appeal (Moylan, Hickinbottom, Peter Jackson LJJ) for the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the important case of Re G. Judgment was handed down on 15 September 2020.

The case concerns the interaction between the Hague Convention 1980 (which deals with summary return of children abducted from their country of habitual residence) and international, EU and domestic law relating to asylum seekers and refugees. The appellant father was seeking the summary return under the Hague Convention of his child, whom the respondent mother had taken from their home country to the UK, where she had claimed asylum. The judge at first instance held that resolution of the asylum claim took priority and stayed the Hague Convention proceedings. The Secretary of State was invited to intervene in the Court of Appeal to deal with the significant issues of refugee law that arose, particularly the question of whether an asylum seeker or refugee (or someone who was a dependent on an asylum claim) could ever be returned under the Hague Convention, or whether that would violate international and EU prohibitions on refoulement of refugees.

The Court of Appeal decided that where a child has been granted refugee status, or has an asylum claim awaiting determination, that acts as a bar on the enforcement of any return order under the Hague Convention. They also decided that dependant status does not bar enforcement of a return order. Because the Court was asked to provide more general guidance, they considered the future impact of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, making this one of the first cases to consider how and to what extent rights derived from EU law will still be available in domestic law after the end of the Brexit transition period.

The judgment can be found here.

Alan and John are regularly instructed by Government departments and other public bodies in the Court of Appeal and High Court.