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Home Office wins Appeal against ruling on four Syrian refugees

The Home Office has won its appeal against a landmark ruling allowing four Syrian refugees living in the main camp in Calais to come to the UK.

An immigration judge ruled earlier this year that the three teenagers, and a 26-year-old man, should be immediately brought to Britain and reunited with their families.
 Lawyers for the refugees had argued that the group faced intolerable conditions in the camp and their right to a family life under article 8 of the 1998 Human Rights Act would be upheld by allowing them to come to the UK.
 The four Syrians were brought to Britain and the decision was hailed by campaigners as a landmark ruling that could pave the way for many other unaccompanied minors to come to the UK from refugee camps in Europe.
 But three court of appeal judges decided in favour of the Home Office on Tuesday.
Under a law called the Dublin Regulation, asylum claims must be made in the first country the person reaches, but a child refugee can have their claim transferred to another country if they have relatives lawfully living there.
 Lawyers for the four in this case had argued that the regulation was not working as not a single child had been brought to the UK from the Calais camp under the rule before the case had been brought.
They also argued that it would take up to a year for them to be brought to Britain under the regulation because of bureaucratic failings in France.
Handing down their judgment, court of appeal judges Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Lord Justice Longmore and Lord Justice Beatson ruled in favour of the Home Office appeal. However, as the four have already been brought to the UK they will not face deportation. 
 The judges said they “allowed” the Home Office’s appeal in the case. The ruling stated that bypassing the Dublin III Regulation “can only be justified in an especially compelling case”.
 It continued: “In the light of the psychiatric evidence before the upper tribunal about the first four respondents and the evidence of the French lawyers and NGOs adduced by the respondents suggesting that there would be a delay of just under one year in the French system and that there was no possibility of expedition, the result the tribunal reached may have been justifiable.
 “I am, however, not entirely persuaded that, had the tribunal applied the correct test, it must inevitably have reached the same conclusion. In those circumstances, the appropriate course would normally have been to remit the matter to the tribunal for reconsideration.
 “However ... I have concluded that it would be inappropriate to take that course. I would therefore simply allow the appeal and make no further order.”

George Gabriel, a campaigner with Citizens UK, which helped to bring the the case on behalf of the Syrians, warned that the ruling will make reuniting refugee children with their families in Britain harder.

 He said: “When we brought this case, it was an enormous kick up the arse for the government, and the system is now working better because 50 children have been brought to Britain since the case.

“But it means that charities like ours will have to continue identifying children one by one, taking them through a lengthy bureaucratic process as they have to wait to be reunited with their loved ones.

 “Today is a great day for bureaucrats because it means that the letter of the process will have to be followed despite the clearly unacceptable wait this leaves refugee children facing. We fear this means many will take the situation into their own hands, choosing between people traffickers on the one hand and train tracks on the other.”


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