Court of Appeal gives important ruling in exclusion case

The Court of Appeal has given judgment in a significant case concerning the exclusion from refugee status of people accused of publishing material supportive of terrorism. 

 

In Youssef & N2 v SSHD, Edward Fitzgerald QC and Alasdair Mackenzie of Doughty Street represented Mr Youssef, instructed by Sonia Routledge of Birnberg Peirce.  Mr Youssef, who was formerly a lawyer in Egypt and is accepted by the Home Office to be at risk of torture there on account of his political views, had been found by the Upper Tribunal to be excluded from protection under Article 1F(c) of the Refugee Convention, because of his sermons and other published materials which were said to have praised Al Qaeda and its leaders and to have encouraged others to emulate them. 

 

The Court rejected the argument that individual responsibility could not arise for the purposes of Article 1F(c) without evidence of a material contribution to an actual criminal event, and did not accept that the elements of individual responsibility must be the same under all the limbs of Article 1F. 

 

However, the Court did find that it was necessary to focus closely on the acts committed by the individual concerned, when deciding whether they were capable of affecting international peace and security, for purposes of Article 1F(c).  It found it ‘helpful to consider separately the quality of the acts in question, and their gravity or severity’.  Applying that test, it held that the Tribunal had not properly addressed itself to the gravity or seriousness of Mr Youssef's individual conduct, including questions such as the reach and the audience of his published material.  It therefore allowed the appeal, remitting it to the Tribunal for that issue to be reconsidered.  

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