This concerned a claim for judicial review against the Home Office regarding the decision to refuse AG’s further submissions and evidence as a fresh claim for asylum pursuant to Paragraph 353 of the Immigration Rules.

The client was a national of Iran and a Kurd. His initial claim for asylum was based on his fear of persecution at the hands of the state authorities as a result of his Kurdish ethnicity and political opinion, namely he was recruited as a courier for a Kurdish political party, the PJAK. This claim was refused by the Home Office and his appeal was dismissed on appeal by the First-tier Tribunal on the basis of credibility.

AG subsequently submitted a fresh claim for asylum consisting of various documents including photographs of his attending anti-regime marches in the UK, a screenshot of the PJAK Facebook page in which he features and various screenshots of his own Facebook page showing PJAK materials. His fresh claim was ultimately refused. The Home Office did not accept that the client’s ‘sur place’ activities in the UK would be discovered by the Iranian authorities and, even if they were, they would either not be able to identify him or he would not be of sufficient interest due to the low level nature of the same.

Erica assisted AG in bringing judicial review proceedings against the Home Office regarding the decision to refuse his further submissions as a fresh asylum claim. It was argued that based on the online and political profile which the client had developed in the UK, it could not be reasonably be said that, in line with the cases of BA (Demonstrators in Britain – Risk on return) Iran CG [2011]UKUT 36 (IAC) and AB and others (Internet activity – state of evidence) Iran [2015] UKUT 00257 (IAC), there was no realistic prospect of a judge accepting (i) there is a real risk that AG had already come to the adverse attention of the Iranian authorities from the UK or (ii) there is a real risk that his on-line profile will be exposed at the ‘pinch point’ of return at the airport in Iran. The pinch point is essentially when returning individuals come into contact with Iranian border control at the airport. They are likely to be stopped by officials and asked about their social media and online activities, often being required to hand over passwords.

The Home Office refused to back down after receiving a detailed letter before claim and therefore it was necessary to issue proceedings for judicial review. Unfortunately, permission was initially refused by a judge on the papers, but we were able to persuade a judge at an oral renewal hearing to grant permission. Following the grant of permission, the Home Office reviewed its position and offered to settle the claim without the need for there to be a final hearing. The outcome was for the impugned decision to be withdrawn and for the Home Office to agree to reconsider AG’s further submissions and evidence afresh.