Permission granted in Afghan Judicial Review case


Sarah Pinder, together with her instructing solicitors – Jamie Bell and Isolde Hill of Duncan Lewis Solicitors – have secured permission to apply for judicial review seeking to challenge a 14-month delay in the consideration, by the Ministry of Defence, of the Claimant’s application for relocation to the UK under the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Programme (‘ARAP’). The claim has been issued against two defendants: the Secretaries for Defence and the Home Department.

The Claimant applied under Category 4 of ARAP on the basis of their leading role in assisting the UK, the US and the Afghan government to combat high-level corruption and, in particular, corruption which was fuelling insurgency and enabling the narcotics trade.

Two grounds are being pursued, both of which have attracted permission to apply:

  • Ground 1 alleges a breach of legitimate expectation and delay. In granting permission, Mrs Justice Hill noted, in particular, the context of a risk to the Claimant’s life and the submissions made concerning the underlying purpose of ARAP – to offer relocation to those who meet the eligibility criteria, and who supported the UK Government to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, also acknowledging the significant imminent risks to such persons.
  • Ground 2 alleges unfairness in the ARAP procedures and decision making. Submissions have been made comparing the Government’s processing of ARAP applications vs those under the Ukraine Schemes. Save for the setting of eligibility criteria and a ‘contact us’ online application form, there is no other published guidance or procedure on how applications should be processed and how the Defendants’ decision-making should be exercised.  Neither does the Government appear to hold or to publish the level of data relating to ARAP applications that is routinely published in the context of Ukraine Schemes and other asylum or immigration routes.

The High Court has also agreed to expedite the proceedings and the substantive hearing is due to take place early 2023.

Related barristers: Sarah Pinder

Related practice areas: Immigration and Public Law


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