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Editors --- "R v Secretary of State for The Home Department; Ex Parte Behuli - Case Note" [1999] AdminRw 22; (1999) 51 Admin Review 51

R v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Ex parte Behuli

Court of Appeal (UK), 7 May 1998

[1998] COD 328

UK approach to legitimate expectations—Teoh not law in the UK

In this case, the UK Secretary of State had refused Mr Behuli's claim for asylum, and ordered his removal to Italy, under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 (UK) ('Act').

Mr Behuli appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal, arguing that he had a legitimate expectation that such an application would be dealt with in accordance with the terms of the Dublin Convention ('Convention'), based on a number of letters written by the Secretary's office to immigration lawyers and the Refugee Legal Centre. The letters generally outlined the procedures that would be followed under the Convention.

The Court considered the concept of legitimate expectation, and found that it had achieved an important place in the laws of administrative fairness in the UK.

In the Court's view, the extent to which statements by the Government could found such an expectation was a question of fact and depended upon whether the statements in question could be seen as having a sufficient degree of clarity and consistency to amount to a statement of policy.

The Court of Appeal rejected Behuli's claim, holding that the statements that Behuli relied upon were insufficient to establish the requisite degree of clarity and certainty that the Secretary would deal with all applications for asylum to which the Convention applied under the terms of the Convention, rather than under the Act.

In the course of its judgment, the Court declined to adopt the decision of the Australian High Court in Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Teoh [1995] HCA 20; ((1995) 183 CLR 273), holding that Teoh 'is not the law in this country'.

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