CO Ref: CO/2311/2022
In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
29 June 2022
The Honourable Mr Justice Henshaw
Secretary of State for the Home Department
On the Claimants’ application for interim relief
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimants
Order by the Honourable Mr Justice Henshaw
IT IS ORDERED THAT
(1) The time for service of the Defendant’s acknowledgement of service is abridged to 14 days.
(2) The application for interim relief is otherwise refused.
(3) Pursuant to CPR 39.2(4), the Claimants shall have anonymity in these proceedings until further order. They shall be referred to (including in the title of the action henceforth) as “NN”, “XN” and “TN” respectively. There shall be no publication of any of their names or addresses or any other particulars or still or moving image likely to lead to the identification of any of them, without leave of the court. No documents containing information that could identify any of the Claimants shall be supplied from court records to persons who are not parties to the action.
(4) Liberty to any party to apply to vary this order, on giving at least 48 hours’ written notice to the other parties.
(5) Costs reserved.
1. Although the Country Policy and Information Note Vietnam: Fear of illegal moneylenders indicates that where an asylum or protection claim is refused, it is unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (§ 2.7.1), it also makes clear that the assessments it contains apply only “in general”, and that decision-makers must consider all claims on an individual basis taking into account their specific facts (p.2); that in most cases the threat is unlikely to reach the high threshold necessary to qualify for humanitarian protection (§ 2.4.5); and that effective protection or relocation may be available, and that the onus is on the claimant to demonstrate why they were not available (§§ 2.5.4 and 2.6.2). The evidence so far presented on these points appears to be scant.
2. In circumstances where (a) the detention and separation are still relatively recent, (b) the Monthly Progress Reports indicate a plausible risk of absconsion, (c) the Claimants’ pre-action protocol letter was sent only 15 days ago and (d) section 95 accommodation has in principle been granted to the First Claimant on 17 June 2022, I am not persuaded that the degree of expedition currently sought is justified, although in all the circumstances it is proper to abridge the time for the Acknowledgment of Service from 21 to 14 days. The position can be revisited following service of the Defendant’s Summary Grounds.
3. It is appropriate on balance to grant anonymity because the Claimants claim to be asylum seekers. Such an order will not prejudice the Defendant or otherwise interfere with the just disposition of this case, and the limited intrusion on the important principle of open justice is justified in the circumstances.