Michael was instructed to represent the Appellant before the First-tier Tribunal in an appeal on the basis of Paragraph 276ADE(1)(iii) of the Immigration Rules, that being that the client had lived in the U.K. continuously for over 20 years (discounting any period of imprisonment).
The case was, at its core, straightforward and focused on the evidence of the Appellant’s continuous residence. The Home Office’s refusal letter did not accept the length of the Appellant’s claimed residence. However, the case was also very unusual because the Home Office had disclosed all of its internal notes regarding its dealings with the Appellant over the years. In those notes the Home Office had repeatedly accepted that the Appellant had resided in the U.K. for as long as she had claimed and, in 2014, even went so far as to explicitly state in its records that the Appellant had resided in the U.K. for over 20 years. Therefore, the Home Office had privately accepted the Appellant’s claim but were publicly denying it.
In its determination the First-tier Tribunal said the following:
“Mr. Trevelyan submitted that in public the respondent’s position has been that the Appellant had failed to establish that she had been residing in the United Kingdom continuously for a period of 20 years. On the other hand, in private, Mr. Trevelyan submitted that the respondent’s position has been [the opposite]…”
“The respondent acknowledged and accepted [privately] as long ago as 2014 that the Appellant had been in the United Kingdom for over 20 years…The respondent’s position in the latest decision is seriously misleading…This matter should never have come to an appeal stage.“
The Judge was clearly extremely unimpressed with the Home Office’s conduct in this case. The matter should never have been defended and the Appellant should have been granted leave to remain. It remains to be seen what, if any, changes will be implemented to stop this problem from being repeated in other cases but it was only through Michael’s instructing Solicitors obtaining the Home Office records that the issue came to light at all; one wonders how frequently this disconnect between the public and private stance of the Home Office occurs in immigration cases where there is an increasing focus on refusing applications rather than considering them on their merits.