B9 -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department (anonymity order)

CivilAnonymity Order

REF: T2/2021/0966


9 June 2021


Application refused.
1. The Applicant (‘A’), a citizen of Albania, who lives there, has applied for permission to appeal against a
decision of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (‘SIAC’) to dismiss his appeal from an order of
the Secretary of State for the Home Department (‘the Secretary of State’) to exclude him from the United
Kingdom. A has also applied to this Court for an anonymity order. That application is opposed by PA Media
(‘PAM’) and by The Sunday Express (‘TSE’). Both have provided written submissions.
2. SIAC dismissed A’s appeal on 25 March 2021. In its OPEN judgment, SIAC held that while A was in the
United Kingdom, he had been an influential member of a group of Albanian criminals based in the United
Kingdom. SIAC also held that there was a real risk that, if he was allowed to return to the United Kingdom,
he would be a central figure in the importation and distribution of drugs.
3. On 14 May 2021 A applied to SIAC for an anonymity order. The application was supported by a witness
statement of the same date from A’s solicitors, which I have read. They claimed that A would be under
‘immense threat’ if his name were published, as would other people named in the judgment. They also
claimed that if ‘the individual source or sources of information’ could be identified, that could ‘result in grave
danger to the person concern[ed]’. They promised to provide ‘a more detailed statement of the reasons with
documentary evidence’ at a ‘later stage’. ‘Stigma’ affecting A’s family (and even violence) and stigma
against A were invoked in a skeleton argument.
4. In a decision dated 30 May 2021, Jay J refused that application. He made a temporary order preventing
the publication of A’s name until 4 pm on 1 June 2012. Lewis LJ continued that order until 4pm on 9 June
5. Despite their promise to SIAC, A’s solicitors had not, by 30 May 2012, provided a more detailed
statement. Jay J observed that he was concerned that A’s application ‘failed to provide the sort of detail
which was expected in this sort of application’. SIAC received representations from TSE and from Reach
PLC, the owner of Express Newspapers. Jay J gave A’s solicitors an opportunity to respond. The only new
point they made was that other organised crime groups (‘OCGs’) do not know A’s identity, and there was a
risk to him if his identity were known.
6. Jay J inferred that there might be competing OCGs in Albania, and that if A’s activities continued, they
would put him at obvious risk in Albania. That was an inherent risk which had nothing to do with the appeal
to SIAC. The references to A’s family in the United Kingdom were ‘extremely vague’, as was all of A’s
evidence. Jay J held that A had not shown that an anonymity order was necessary in the interests of justice,
and that the article 10 rights of the media and the public outweighed A’s article 8 rights. I infer that he
concluded that there was no relevant article 2 or article 3 risk to A.
7. A has not provided this Court with any new evidence in support of his application (see the witness
statement of 7 June 2021, which repeats the material in the first witness statement and then makes
‘Submissions’). In seven brief paragraphs of submissions, he makes similar points to those which SIAC
considered. It is said that allowing the publication of an association between A’s name and allegations of
importing Class A drugs will allow people with commercial interests in drugs to target him. His ‘family’ in the
United Kingdom is referred to. There is no supporting detail. It is said that A intends to appeal and to clear
his name. Stigma is relied on.
8. In their submissions, TSE refer to evidence that A’s name has already been associated with allegations
that he has links to OCGs in Albania and in the United Kingdom. In September 2013, his name and
photograph were published on the front page of Panorama, Albania’s biggest selling daily newspaper, in connection with a failed attempt to kill him. Two possible motives were ascribed: a blood feud caused by a
stabbing A was alleged to have carried out in London, or his activities with OCGs in London. TSE submit
that A’s response to this report, on which he was given the chance to comment, far from supporting his
application for anonymity, undermines it (see paragraph 23 of TSE’s submissions). In short, A was at risk in
Albania long before the SIAC appeal. His identity has been public since 2013 and is still available online. A
has travelled freely between Albania and the United Kingdom since then, and has lived in Albania since the
making of the exclusion order. There have been no further attempts on his life despite this public
longstanding knowledge. A has not explained why the SIAC judgment would increase any risk to him.
9. Both TSE and PAM emphasise the importance of open justice and the strong public interest in identifying
A, given SIAC’s very serious findings about his activities. They submit that A’s application is not based on
the ‘clear and cogent’ evidence which is needed, but on speculative assertions. They submit that there is
not enough evidence to show that there is a real article 2 or article 3 risk to A if he is identified, and that the
public interest in identifying A ‘overwhelmingly’ outweighs the article 8 rights of A and of his family.
10. I consider that the facts that A’s profile has been publicly known in Albania since 2013, and that that
material is still available on the internet, strongly suggest that there is no need for an anonymity order. I
further consider that A has not adduced clear and cogent evidence of any article 2 or article 3 risk to him
which could arise from the publication of his name in connection with his appeal to SIAC. Any risk to him
arises from the criminal activities which, on the balance of probabilities, SIAC has found, he has been
involved in. Finally, the open justice principle, and the public interest in identifying him, clearly outweigh any
article 8 rights which might be engaged. I discount the article 8 rights of his ‘family’, as there is simply no
evidence about who they are.

1) Where an application (other than an application for permission to appeal) has been refused on the papers,
the applicant may request that the decision be reconsidered.
2) An application for reconsideration must be filed within 7 days after the party is served with notice of the
3) The reconsideration will be determined by the same or another judge on paper without an oral hearing;
except that the judge determining the reconsideration on paper may direct that the reconsideration be
determined at an oral hearing, and must so direct if the judge is of the opinion that the reconsideration
cannot be fairly determined on paper without an oral hearing: see CPR 52.24.