Court of Appeal ruling declares SSHD’s Stance on Residence Permits for Victims of Trafficking as Unlawful
Court of Appeal rules that the SSHD’s position on granting BRP’s to Victims of Trafficking rules Unlawful
The Court of Appeal in the case of PK (Ghana) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 98, held that “compelling personal circumstances” for granting limited leave as a victim of trafficking under the SSHD’s guidance had failed to lawfully reflect Article 14(1)(a) of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
PK (Ghana) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 98
Article 14 – Residence permit
1 Each Party shall issue a renewable residence permit to victims, in one or other of the two following situations or in both:
a the competent authority considers that their stay is necessary owing to their personal situation;
PK was placed into slavery as a child in Ghana following the death of his mother when PK was aged three. At the age of 25, PK was trafficked into the United Kingdom where he was forced to work in a warehouse for 15 hours per day. PK’s passport had been taken from him and he was subjected to mental and verbal abuse.
It was found by the Court of Appeal that the provisions under Article 14 (1) (a), did not provide the Secretary of state an open-ended discretion but it required an assessment of whether PK’s stay in the United Kingdom is for the purposes of protection.
The Court of Appeal considered whether the Secretary of State’s guidance imposed too high a threshold. It was considered that the guidance would require the individual persons’ “personal situation” to be “so compelling” that they should be granted limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The Court found that there is a risk that the decision maker would apply a higher threshold than was required under Article 14(1)(a) of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
The impact of this ruling indicates that any new guidance should make clear that a residence permit should be issued to a Victim of Trafficking or modern day slavery where their stay is necessary in order for the United Kingdom to meet its objectives under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings to provide protection to the victim.