Case summary: Humanitarian Protection of a Filipino National in the UK

Sterling & Law Associates LLP represented a Filipino National who feared of returning to the Philippines. The applicant was married in the Philippines and was able to divorce her husband under the UK jurisdiction. The applicant later married her partner in the UK.

Divorce is illegal in the Philippines and a divorce of a Filipino national in another country is not recognised in the Philippines and are still considered as married under Philippine Law. The only way a marriage is dissolved is through annulment, which requires evidence of psychological incapacity at the time of marriage as a ground for a successful nullity.

The applicant suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse from her first husband after they got married and received continuous death threats. The applicant’s first husband is ready to file bigamy against the applicant on her return to the country.

Bigamy is an offence where a person enters into another marriage whilst already married to another person. The divorce in the UK of the Filipino national is not recognised in the Philippines, and therefore the applicant faces charges and up to 6 – 12 years imprisonment.

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits torture and no one shall be subject to torture, of to inhuman or degrading treatment. The life of the applicant of being imprisoned on the basis of her second marriage will remain at risk. The problems of the prison condition in the Philippines continues to raise issues in relation to prohibiting torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The applicant was granted humanitarian protection as a person at risk of serious harm on return to her country.

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