News / Third party support and/or joint sponsorship are permissi...


Third party support and/or joint sponsorship are permissible for entry clearance applications under Rules 281, 297 and 317  

16/12/2009

In a unanimous and resounding victory for the Appellants, the Supreme Court has today given judgment in the case of Ahmed Mahad & others (Appellants) v SSHD [2009] UKSC 16.

> Judgment

In a series of linked appeals, the Tribunal cases of VS (Para 317(iii), no 3rd party support) Sri Lanka [2007] UKAIT 00069, AM (3rd party support not permitted R281 (v)) Ethiopia [2007] UKAIT 00058, and the Court of Appeal judgment of AM (Ethiopia) & Ors & Anor v Entry Clearance Officer [2008] EWCA Civ 1082 have been overturned. The judgment also effectively overturned the Court of Appeal judgment in MW (Liberia) SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 1376.

For spouses/civil partners (281), dependent children (297) and adult dependents (317) of persons settled in the UK, the Supreme Court has approved the analysis of Collins J in the case of Arman Ali [2000] ILNL 89, and has confirmed that such persons may be adequately maintained in the UK by being financially supported either out of their own resources or by assistance from third parties. Such interpretation was possible on the natural meaning of the rules themselves, without having to rely on Article 8 ECHR as a tool of construction (para 30/31)

In the case of VS, for instance, it was held that rule 317(iii) concerning historical financial support of an applicant prior to entry to the UK may be satisfied as follows:

“ Provided only that the relative abroad is getting funds on which he is wholly or mainly dependent and which he would not be getting save for his relative present and settled in the UK, that is sufficient. It is not necessary for the funds ever to have been part of the settled relative’s own personal resources.” (para 35)

Further, in the case of MI/KA, it was argued that an adult dependent under 317 may seek to join a number of appropriately related relatives in the UK who may act as ‘joint sponsors’; this was accepted by the Supreme Court, although such arrangements are clearly also permitted by way of third party support.

The judgment will have far reaching effects for applicants for entry clearance in family cases; the financial resources available to support an applicant for entry clearance may now potentially be much wider, and representatives should be astute to bear this in mind in cases where the principal sponsor may struggle to demonstrate that the applicant will be adequately maintained. However, any arrangement involving third party support would have to be genuine and stable in order for an entry clearance officer or, on appeal, the Tribunal, to give proper weight to it.

Rory O’Ryan appeared for MI and KA in the Court of Appeal, and was junior Counsel to Lord Pannick in the Supreme Court, instructed by Pete Simm of Jackson & Canter LLP .



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