STERLING LAW 01.07.2021


Our immigration team has achieved a successful decision in the asylum appeal of a Nepalese national and her spouse. According to the Immigration & Asylum Upper Tribunal, they should both be allowed to remain in the UK under the protection of Refugee law.

The appellant fell in love and married in the UK against the wishes of her family in Nepal, causing her to fear severe consequences upon return, including honour violence and persecution on the basis that she is a woman who married outside her caste and nationality. She and her husband were in the UK as students, living here lawfully and never intending to overstay. Their dream was to build their careers and raise a family in a safe place.

The couple applied to remain together in the UK, unfortunately being unaware that their representative at the time was fraudulent and used many clever tactics to make them believe they had an application pending with the Home Office. However, their application had never been submitted and they were victims of a scam. They were shocked to discover this only upon being arrested by Immigration Enforcement.

The appellant claimed asylum whilst in immigration detention. This was when they sought the assistance of Sterling Law to help them with their asylum matter.

Unfortunately, the asylum claim was initially refused by the Home Office. The appellant appealed to the First-tier Tribunal, but this was also unsuccessful, as the judge did not believe the appellant was credible. The First-tier judge dismissed the appeal, despite expert evidence on Nepal which was in the appellant’s favour.

Sterling Law applied for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal and were able to secure a re-hearing in the Upper Tribunal based upon the arguments that:

  • The First-tier judge had not adequately considered the expert report
  • The First-tier judge had not assessed the appellant’s credibility properly, particularly by taking into account irrelevant issues and failing to give proper reasons for their findings

For the Upper Tribunal re-hearing, Sterling Law instructed two country experts on Nepal to provide their opinions on the plausibility of the appellant’s asylum claim and to analyse the documentary evidence.

The large amount of expert evidence was extremely convincing to the Upper Tribunal judge. The judge admitted a difficulty in understanding the appellant’s actions, but the expert reports assisted in looking at the issues from a different cultural perspective. Considering the opinion of two experts on Nepalese culture, the judge was able to find the appellant a credible witness who should be believed.

Although the Home Office argued that the case does not come under the Refugee Convention, we were able to convince the judge that the appellant’s status as a woman who is married outside her caste and nationality, and requires protection on this basis, does bring her within the scope of international protection as a Refugee. We were therefore able to achieve a successful decision under the Refugee Convention.

The judge allowed the appeal on asylum grounds, so that the appellant should now be granted Refugee Status.

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