R v. Immigration Appeal Tribunal, Ex parte Singh


Queen's Bench Division

[1994] Imm AR 513

Hearing Date: 16 June 1994

16 June 1994

Index Terms:

Political asylum -- appeal dismissed by special adjudicator -- refusal of leave to appeal to the Tribunal -- applicant not found to be credible by adjudicator -- medical report in evidence relating to alleged ill-treatment of applicant in India -- whether adjudicator dealt adequately with that evidence -- whether adjudicator had power to adjourn case and give directions for further medical investigations. Immigration Act 1971 ss 19(3), 20(2).


The applicant for leave to move for judicial review was a citizen of India whose application for asylum had been refused by the Secretary of State. An appeal had been dismissed by a special adjudicator. The Tribunal had refused him leave to appeal. The adjudicator had not found the applicant credible as a witness before him. There was a medical report before him which indicated that injuries to the applicant were consistent with his having been tortured in India: it did not however establish that the injuries were the result of torture. The adjudicator did not accept the applicant's account of his being tortured. Before the court it was argued that the adjudicator had given insufficient reasons for rejecting the applicant's account. Moreover counsel argued that if dissatisfied with the report the adjudicator should have exercised his power to adjourn the case and give directions that there should be further medical investigations. Held 1. The adjudicator had dealt adequately with the evidence. He had, on the totality of the evidence, rejected the applicant's account of past events and there was no reason why he should have spent any time detailing his findings on the medical report. 2. The adjudicator had no power to give directions that further medical investigations be carried out. His powers to give directions only arose if and when he allowed an appeal.


S Vokes for the applicant; R Tam for the respondent PANEL: Auld J

Judgment One:

AULD J: The applicant is a Sikh who comes from India. On his own evidence, whilst in India, he had been a member of the "Tiger Force", which was a terrorist body concerned with fighting for an independent Khalistan. He had made arms and ammunition for that force and, on his own account, had fired on members of the Indian police force. Nevertheless, he was able to leave India, using his own passport with his photograph in it. He travelled first to Moscow where he lived for eight months, without making any application for asylum. He then travelled to the United Kingdom, via Czechoslovakia and Holland. Again, he made no application for asylum in either country. He entered this country illegally on 13 August 1993. He made no application for asylum on entry. It was only on 24 August 1993, after he had been arrested and was interviewed by the immigration authorities, that he first applied for asylum. The Secretary of State refused his application, giving reasons in a letter of 20 October 1993. The appellant appealed against the Secretary of State's decision to an adjudicator who dismissed his appeal. The Immigration Appeal Tribunal subsequently refused him leave to appeal against that dismissal. The applicant seeks to challenge that refusal on two main grounds. He says, first, that the adjudicator failed to have proper regard to the evidence of a surgeon in this country about traces of injuries found on his body. He says, secondly, that the adjudicator had a power under section 19(3) of the Immigration Act 1971, which he should have exercised before determining the appeal, to give directions for the making of further enquiries into the matter. As to the first proposed ground, the adjudicator set out in his determination a number of matters culminating in his conclusion that he did not accept the evidence of the applicant that he was truly a refugee from India. Even if he was, his acknowledged criminal activities in that country deprived him of the rights normally attaching to that status. The adjudicator observed that he left India without experiencing any difficulties. He made no application for asylum in countries though which he passed before arriving in the United Kingdom. He noted that, although the applicant claimed to have been baptized a militant Sikh, he had apparently, and unusually, been prepared to discard his turban and beard because of domestic difficulties in washing his hair and keeping it tidy whilst still in the hospital. As to the report of the doctor in this country about the scars and injuries, he said that he had read it. He rightly commented that much of the report was information which had been supplied by the applicant to the doctor about his alleged experiences in India. He said that he had considered the passage in the report which dealt with the applicant's injuries. He then concluded in this way: "On the totality of the evidence and on the appropriate lower standard of proof I was not satisfied that the Appellant had been tortured as he claimed in India and that he was in fear of his life if he was to return to the country." Mr Vokes criticises that conclusion because he says the adjudicator dismissed, without reasons, the evidence of the doctor that there were signs on the applicant's body of injuries. It is quite clear, as I have already indicated, that the adjudicator had regard to the whole of the evidence when he expressed his conclusion in that way. He clearly disbelieved the applicant's history of the reasons why he had left India and why he had belatedly sought asylum in this country. The only value to the applicant's claim that he had been ill-treated in India, causing him to leave, was that the marks on his body were consistent with such an account. They were not, however, probative in themselves as to how it was he came to be injured in the way indicated by the marks, or where or in what circumstances he had come to be injured. The adjudicator rejected his account on the totality of the evidence, and there is no reason why he should have spent any time detailing his findings in relation to the medical evidence. As to the suggestion that the adjudicator wrongly took the view that he had no power to give directions under section 19(3), the point does not begin to be arguable. Section 19(3) starts with these words: "Where an appeal is allowed, the adjudicator shall give such directions for giving effect to the determination as the adjudicator thinks requisite, and may also make recommendations with respect to any other action which the adjudicator considers should be taken in the case under this Act." It is clearly a provision for giving effect to a determination made by an adjudicator when he allows an appeal. It is not a provision which enables him to adjourn a hearing and give directions for further investigations by some other body than the Secretary of State, so as to enable him to resume the appeal hearing and give a final determination later. That is apparent not only from the wording of the subsection that I have read, but in the provisions of section 20(2), which make it plain that any directions which may be given under section 19(3) follow and conclude a determination on appeal by an adjudicator. The adjudicator was quite right to take the view that he did. He had no power, unless he were to allow the appeal, to consider giving directions under that subsection. In any event, the directions that he was invited to give were not of the nature for which that subsection provides. Accordingly, my view is there is no arguable case under either proposed ground. The application is refused.


Application dismissed


Jasvir Jutla & Co, Leicester; Treasury Solicitor

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