BCD and others -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department (anonymity order)

Administrative CourtHigh CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order

Case number: AC-2024-LON-001733

In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Administrative Court

23 May 2024


The Honourable Mr Justice Sweeting


(1) BCD
(2) AMD (by his Litigation Friend BCD)
(3) BND (by his Litigation Friend BCD)
(4) CBD (by his Litigation Friend BCD)


Secretary of State for the Home Department


On an application by the Claimants for anonymity and expedition

Following consideration of the Claimants’ application for anonymity and urgent consideration of their application for permission for judicial review.

ORDER by the Honourable Mr Justice Sweeting

1. Pursuant to CPR r.39.2, in any report of these proceedings, there shall be no publication of the name and address of the Claimants, nor any other particulars likely to lead to their identification. In the proceedings, the Claimants shall be anonymised. The First Claimant shall be referred to as “BCD”, the Second Claimant as “AMD”, the Third Claimant as “BND” and the Fourth Claimant as “CBD”.

2. No later than 4pm on 3 June 2024, the Claimants’ solicitors shall file with the Court copies of case documents which have been anonymised and/or redacted to protect the identity of the Claimant, in accordance with paragraph 1 above.

3. Non-parties may not obtain any documents from the court file which have not been anonymised and/or redacted to protect the identity of the Claimant, in accordance with paragraph 1 above.

4. No later than 4pm on 3 June 2024 the Defendant is to file and serve an Acknowledgement of Service.

5. Permission will be determined on the papers seven days thereafter.

6. The application for expedited directions, if permission is granted (to include the listing of a substantive hearing before the end of the Trinity term) is to be determined by the judge considering the application for permission.

7. Liberty to apply to vary or discharge this order.

8. Costs in the case.



1. This application seeks an expedited hearing in connection with the family reunion of a British citizen with refugee status residing in the UK, with his three minor children currently residing in Afghanistan.

2. The Applicant fled Afghanistan in 2015 following the Taliban’s murder of his wife.

3. His three children, aged 10, 12, and 16, have since resided with an uncle.

4. The Applicant filed initial family reunion applications for his children on April 6, 2023.

5. These applications were closed due to the children’s biometrics not being submitted within the mandated 240-day window.

6. The delay, it is said, stemmed from late notification of the outcome of an exemption request in relation to biometrics, leaving insufficient time to comply with visa and appointment requirements.

7. The Applicant formally requested reinstatement of the original applications or expedited processing of new applications submitted in March 2024 after biometrics were obtained.

8. Both requests were denied by the Defendant.

9. This application seeks an urgent order:
a. requiring the Defendant to File and serve an Acknowledgement of Service within seven days;
b. for permission to proceed to be considered on the papers within seven days thereafter and
c. For the claim to be listed for a substantive hearing before the end of the Trinity term.

10. The urgency arises from the alleged grave danger the children face in Afghanistan, particularly after their recent travel to Iran for biometrics.

11. The Applicant fears for their safety due to Taliban threats against their uncle and a cousin who assisted with the trip.

12. The delay and uncertainty regarding the children’s future are significantly impacting the Applicant’s mental health.

13. Given the seriousness of the potential harm and the period that has elapsed since the Applicant left Afghanistan and his children, I consider that expedition is warranted in this case. I have extended (marginally) the requested timeframe for the Defendant’s response given the imminent public holiday. Further directions as to expedition should be left to the judge considering permission.


14. The First Claimant is a former soldier in the Afghan forces who collaborated with Allied troops, and therefore has a well-founded fear of persecution by the Taliban. This risk extends to his children, who currently use aliases at school to avoid association with him. Their recent travel to Iran for biometrics further increases the potential for harm.

15. The case involves sensitive information regarding the Claimants’ asylum claim, mental health struggles, and the children’s vulnerability in Afghanistan. Public disclosure of their identities could have a detrimental impact on their privacy and potentially jeopardise their position in their home country.

16. The Claimants’ right to privacy under Article 8 ECHR should be regarded as paramount in this case. There is no compelling public interest, including the public interest in open justice, that outweighs the need to protect their identities.

17. Practice Note [2006] 1 WLR 2461 establishes a presumption of anonymity for asylum seekers unless compelling reasons dictate otherwise.

18. The Court of Appeal’s Practice Guidance, “Anonymisation of Parties to Asylum & Immigration cases (2022)” reinforces the longstanding practice of anonymizing asylum and immigration appeals to mitigate risks faced by claimants in their countries of origin.

19. I consider that anonymity is justified because disclosure of the claimants’ identities would pose a significant risk to their safety and well-being, and there is no countervailing public interest that justifies compromising their privacy rights.