At Right to Remain’s annual gathering in Sheffield last week, we got together many of the grassroots asylum and migrants support groups we work with and shared collective learning and experiences of navigating the UK’s asylum and immigration system.
One of the topics of discussion was fresh claims.
Further submissions/evidence can be given to the Home Office at any point after an asylum claim or human rights application is refused, but a fresh claim can only be made when you are “appeal rights exhausted”.
You or your lawyer give the Home Office the further submissions (new evidence/documentation) and the Home Office decides if it’s a fresh claim.
Although the evidence you submit is not technically a “fresh claim” unless the Home Office says it is, people tend to use the term more widely than this. For example, gathering evidence to be submitted to be considered as a fresh claim is more easily phrased “preparing a fresh claim”.
Read more about fresh claims in the Right to Remain Toolkit here.
We discussed the need for people to understand what “evidence” means in an asylum, human rights or immigration case; and how further submissions might include evidence based on your life in the UK.
Your community and groups you are part in the UK of may be a source of letters/witness statements that could form evidence to support your case.
The case of “NK” was highlighted, heard in the Upper Tribunal in 2015, in which the judge considered evidence provided by Lesbian Immigration Support Group in Manchester:
[The lawyer representing the Home Office] has argued that in fact the decision of LISG to support the applicant was merely based on what the applicant had told them.
I do not consider that that is entirely correct.
It is true that members and supporters of LISG placed weight on what the applicant had told them but it is clear from the various letters that the writers of the letters, including Ms McCarthy, accepted the applicant as being a lesbian because, as she says, “we could clearly see she was a lesbian both from our own experience as lesbians ourselves and of meeting lesbian women from other parts of the world”. So it was not just a decision made on what the applicant had told them but because of their own experiences and their own sexuality.
This is a useful example of a judge highlighting different types of expertise – in this case, the witnesses were experts because of their own experiences and sexuality.
The principle in this case – NK – has been offered as a ground for appeal to the Upper Tribunal in the case of a member of First Wednesday, an LGBT asylum support and social group in Manchester. Thanks to First Wednesday for highlighting this case, and of course to LISG for providing the support that won this case.
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