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United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> United Kingdom Asylum and Immigration Tribunal >> E v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sierra Leone) [2003] UKIAT 00064 (05 September 2003)
Cite as: [2003] UKIAT 00064, [2003] UKIAT 64

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    Heard at Field House

    [2003] UKIAT 00064 E (Sierra Leone)

    On 19.08.03


    Signed: 13.12.2003

    Issued: 05.09.2003


    Mr J Freeman (Chairman)
    Mr R Baines JP







  1. This is an appeal by someone who claimed to be a citizen of Sierra Leone against the decision of an adjudicator, Mr J G Peart, sitting at Taylor House on 20 February 2003 dismissing his appeal against removal directions as an illegal entrant given on 1 November 2002. The appeal was listed on that day before the adjudicator as a full hearing, on the basis of a reply to directions given by the appellant's solicitors (G Singh, Ealing) at an earlier stage.
  2. Nevertheless, when the case came before the adjudicator on 20 February, he was faced with a letter from those solicitors dated 19 February saying that they neither had instructions from the appellant nor were in funds and so had not been able to instruct counsel. They went on: "Our client was supposed to attend our office at 4 pm today. He has informed us that he is not feeling well and he will be forwarding a medical certificate to the court". There was also a medical certificate faxed to the appellate authority on the very day of the hearing at 11.40 from Dr A Khatri giving the appellant's name and address and certifying that he "is not feeling well, depressed, backache, chest pain, anxious, insomnia, not feeling fit to attend court today".
  3. The adjudicator proceeded with the hearing in the absence of the appellant and his solicitors and with those two documents in front of him, we have no doubt whatsoever that he was entitled to do so. We note that the GP went no further than to say that the appellant was not feeling [our emphasis] fit to attend court on the day in question: clearly he did not hazard his own professional opinion on the point, and we think with good reason. None of the claimed symptoms, separately or together, would in our view have justified an adjournment.
  4. The appellant was quite remarkably fortunate to get permission to appeal on the basis he did. The correctness of that view has been to a considerable extent borne out by a faxed letter which the solicitors sent us when we made enquiries as to why there had been no appearance before us.
  5. We refer to the above matter and wish to confirm that we have not received any instructions from Mr Baniyan. We had sent him a letter by recorded delivery on 24th June 2003 informing him about the hearing on 19th August and have tried to contact him several times and have not got any response from him. In the light of the above we request the learned adjudicator to decide the appeal on the papers.

  6. The reference to "the learned adjudicator", when the solicitors must have been aware that there was to be a hearing before the Tribunal, rather leads us to suppose that they are making a habit of this kind of application. Solicitors ought to be aware that if whether through lack of instructions or lack of funds they are not going to be in a position to assist either the Tribunal or an adjudicator, then they ought immediately to apply to be taken off the record. It is contrary to their professional duty to allow matters to proceed and simply see what happens. This is clearly an appeal with no conceivable merit and it is dismissed.
  7. John Freeman


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