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Practice Guidance – Anonymisation of Parties to Asylum & Immigration cases in the Court of Appeal

  1. This guidance replaces the Practice Note issued on 31 July 2006.
  2. The starting point for the consideration of anonymity orders is open justice. This principle promotes the rule of law and public confidence in the legal system. Given the importance of open justice, appellants should generally expect to be named in proceedings in the Court of Appeal.  Any departure from this principle will need to be justified.
  3. The Court will apply CPR 39.2(4) which provides that the court must order that the identity of a party shall not be disclosed if, but only if, it considers non-disclosure necessary to secure the proper administration of justice and in order to protect the interests of that party.
  4. This may require the weighing of the competing interests of a party and their rights (for example, under Articles 3 or 8 of the ECHR or their ability to present their case in full without hindrance) against the need for open justice. The interests of children and the effect of them being identified should be considered.
  5. The Court of Appeal will continue its long-standing practice of anonymising judgments in most appeals raising asylum or other international protection claims, provided it is satisfied that the publication of the names of appellants in such cases may create avoidable risks for them in the countries from which they have come.
  6. Judgments will also be anonymised where there is a statutory prohibition on naming an individual, for example, a victim of a sexual offence or a victim of trafficking (sections 1 and 2 of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992, as amended) or a child subject to family law proceedings (section 97(2) of the Children Act 1989).
  7. When a new immigration or asylum case is issued in the Court of Appeal, it will initially be anonymised if it was anonymised in the lower court or Tribunal or involves a protection claim. Where a decision is required on permission to appeal the judge granting permission will consider whether the initial anonymisation should be continued.
  8. Hearings will continue to take place in open court unless the court otherwise directs. Where judgment is given in an anonymised appeal (or a permission to appeal application where the judgment is released from the usual restriction on citation), the Court will reassess at that stage whether continued anonymity is required.
  9. Where the case was anonymised in the lower court or Tribunal any continued anonymisation in the Court of Appeal will be in the same form. Otherwise, anonymised cases will be assigned three random initials and the country of origin, for example, XYZ (Turkey), unless a judge gives a specific direction to contrary effect. Such cases will then be listed and referred to solely by reference to this “name” and the reference number allocated to them in the Civil Appeals Office.

The Master of the Rolls
The Rt. Hon. SIR GEOFFREY VOS

Underhill LJ

22 March 2022