Advice on putting in a fresh claim
1) KEY POINTS TO START OFF
Many women have been part of their husband’s asylum claim. It is worth thinking about putting in your own claim in your own name, the Home Office may have focused on the ‘family’ when the women is the most vulnerable one.
- It is essential to understand where and how the first claim failed, so you need to go through all the case papers and information and evidence again and very carefully.
- It is Important not to confuse opinions, thoughts and beliefs with actual facts.
A ‘maybe’ is different from a ‘fact’. It could be that your ‘maybe’ or “I think” was taken down as a ‘fact’ by the Home Office and then exploited in the court room ( they test you on them as though they were facts and so they can prove them wrong easily as they were only ever your opinion or thoughts).
In looking over the home office interview mark out facts that are absolute.
- Use the language of facts in your statement
Don’t get into trying to tell them what you think either the Home Office or your solicitor, who is taking the statement, wants to hear.
Don’t just say what you think they want to hear. Just stick to the facts of your story.
- Think of your statement as a narrative or story, or like a film of your life which is a flowing story which doesn’t jump from one thing to another. It needs to be read as a smooth and flowing series of events and with no big gaps.
- If you experienced persecution because of association of someone else’s action or beliefs (secondary persecution), for example your brother, father, husband It maybe that you never actually knew what there involvement was or with who, even though it got you into trouble and led them to persecute you. Don’t be tempted to GUESS who, or what, the person you know was doing.. it could be that you never knew anything until the persecutors knocked on the door. Don’t pretend you knew something if you didn’t. Base your account on the facts you did know for sure.
2) THE JUDGES DETERMINATION
THE REPORT OF THE JUDGES HEARING AND HIS/HER DESCISION AFTER THE APPEAL IN COURT
- When Did you last read yours?
- The Judge makes a decision based on Facts and Credibility
- You can’t challenge this determination unless you can get new evidence
- Look at the wording in the determination
what has the judge accepted as credible(believes you)..
and what has he accepted as fact?… so you get a picture of what sort of new evidence is needed to challenge his finding. ….. e.g.; the judge may accept what you say happened did happen but then might reject the idea that this is bad enough to be thought of as ‘persecution’.. so you need more evidence to prove how bad it was, not evidence to prove it actually happened.
3) FRESH EVIDENCE
- Paragraph353 of immigration Rules states that they will consider -New credible information that makes a difference to the decision- In reality to produce evidence for the Home Office which they will count as credible is very difficult. The Home Office is very strict on credibility; the standard of evidence which it will consider in a fresh claim is very high.
- It may be that there is no possibility of getting anything that would count as fresh evidence to the Home Office which would change the outcome. This has to be considered as a possible reality… if this is the case, it is better not to be given false hope … Many solicitors, who ask for large sums of money and have no principles, will give hope where there is non and exploit the idea that anything even if paid for is better than doing nothing.. this is not going to help you. Always find out exactly what fresh evidence the solicitor intends to put in on your behalf if you have been turned down for legal aid for a fresh claim elsewhere..it might be that they are submitting the same evidence again and charging you.. a fresh claim can be rejected almost immediately by the home office in such a case and you would end up in a worse position than before.
- It maybe the only thing that might change the home office decision is a worsening situation in your country…..Therefore it is essential to use WAST facilities or any other places where you get free internet to keep up to date with the situation in relation to your case.
Documents you use as fresh evidence or to support a fresh claim need to be:
The Genuine article
If you were sent them the person needs to write down and explain how they got the document and then how they got it to you. The Home Office find it hard to believe that strangers will put their own life at risk to help another person from their country so this has to be set out in writing.
You need to state:
How you got in touch with the person who got you the evidence
How you got the resources to do it ( ie pay for their work)
How ‘They’ got the evidence to you ( keep envelope DHL receipt or package as evidence)
How a third person received a document for you and then passed it onto you ( they would become a witness and would need to make a statement to your solicitor).
5) OTHER EVIDENCE
You may use your Activities or Meetings inUK. as evidence supporting your case. But attending one meeting isn’t enough. There is case law regarding what the Home Office would consider as ‘self serving’ activities ( ie activities/meetings you use as evidence that the H.O could then say you only went to, to use as proof in your case ). To test the credibility of your involvement the Home Office may ask questions such as:
Could you be identified at the meeting?
Are you really an influence or important figure at the meeting?
Could you be ill treated on return to your country as a result of these meetings or activities in the UK?
It is better to let your legal representative write to the group leader or the chair person of the meeting with specific questions which would show your involvement and he/ she would then not use leading Questions which the home office would not believe. Questions they could ask to show your involvement need to be factual and straight forward..E.g.;
When did you attend?
What was your position in the organization?
You may have Medical Reports to use as evidence. The Medical Foundation for the care of Victims Of Torture will review your case and if they think it is relevant to your case only then will they do a report for you, they don’t do one for anyone who wants one with out this review first.
You will need other evidence as well as a medical report as evidence for a fresh claim. Other experts can be used; Doctors, GPs , Consultants, the legal medical report is a good starting point for a fresh claim but the threshold for accepting a medical condition to challenge or change a failed asylum case is very high. It has to be the case that there would be a ‘significant deterioration in your condition if you returned to your country and the specialised medical treatment you need is not available in your country.’. ( Article 3 Human Rights act)
Or it can be argued that there is a block to accessing treatment in your country ( such as the state policy blocking access to drugs for certain groups that you would be part of or discriminatory qualification on accessing treatment.)
New Country Information can be used in the fresh claim
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- The USA State Department
These are all sites with relevant information as to the political and social changes in countries. This is not funded work and is time consuming but something you can do at WAST and other places that have free internet access.
|When going to the GMIAU or Law Centers you will only get about half an hour to present the solicitor with the new evidence that you hope can be made into the fresh claim and the documents to support it so it is important that you have a clear idea of what the fresh claim is based on.. copy all papers have everything ready for the solicitor to read…manage your case..keep a file with everything in .|
Two possible outcomes
1) The H.O. doesn’t think it amounts to a fresh claim and so this cannot be appealed.
You can then only could go for a judicial review on a point of law which is difficult to get a legal aid for and a lawyer will have to go in the High Court.( 3 month time limit on JR from when you are notified of the decision).
2) The H.O. does not accept you are still at risk, but does accept your claim and new evidence as a fresh claim. You can then go ahead and appeal your case again in the immigration court and so you have won a new right of appeal. The second time you should be wiser about court and how to approach the case in court. .This is the best result.
- You have the right to see your Home Office file at any time. It takes 40 days and you need a form of authority which a solicitor can get you… This could be useful to see what the Home Office is thinking about your case and give you ideas on which way to approach a new claim.
- Never ring the H.O direct to see how your case is doing, the person at the help desk will have no idea and will just look randomly on a computer screen
- If a solicitor is asking for money it is a good chance that your fresh claim is not good enough to put forward yet and the case has no hope .. good honest solicitors will get legal aid if the case has a good chance of success.
- If you find new evidence once a fresh claim is submitted .. it is better to wait and write to the home office to say you have more to submit rather than just sending more bits in without contact the home office first.
- If you need to delay reporting or are unwell get the doctor to do an M3 certificate to say you are not fit to report and get your solicitor if you have one to send it to Dallas Court or send in yourself ..
PASS ON THIS INFORMATION TO OTHER WOMEN ASYLUM SEEKERS AS SOON AS YOU CAN TO THEM. THE EARLIER IN THEIR ASYLUM CASE, THE BETTER
LOOK AT THE JUDGES FINDINGS ON YOUR CASE– GO THROUGH IT THOROUGHLY..
FIND OUT FROM IT WHAT THE JUDGE SAID WAS WRONG AND WHAT FACTS THE JUDGE HAS ACCEPTED
BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU NOW HAVE AS NEW EVIDENCE … ARE THEY FACTS.?. HAVE YOU GIVEN IN ALL THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS WITH THE EVIDENCE OF HOW AND WHERE THEY CAME FROM ?
DOES THE FRESH CLAIM MAKE THE WRONG THINGS IN THE CASE RIGHT ?.. NEW FACTS MUST BE BACKED UP WITH NEW EVIDENCE
|1. ONCE YOU HAVE EXAUGHSTED ALL POSSIBILITIES OF A FRESH CLAIM OR YOU HAVE ONE IN AND YOU ARE WAITING, CONSIDER STARTING A PUBLIC CAMPAIGN.2. TALK TO MEMBERS OF WAST WHO ARE DOING THEM ALREADY AND SEE WHAT IS INVOLVED AND IF IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. 3. TALK TO OTHER WOMEN IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS SUPPORT AND SHARE INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCES OF THE SYSTEM. 4. LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AS WELL AS FROM THE SOLICITORS AND CASE WORKERS.|