HC Deb 16 March 2001 vol 364 cc767-8W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the implications for Government policy of the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Bajram Zeqiri. [153993]

Mrs. Roche

The Court of Appeal allowed this appeal challenging the Government's decision to maintain the certificates issued under Section 2 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 to return Kosovar Albanian asylum applicants to Germany under the Dublin Convention. The appeal was allowed on the basis of an assertion by the Court that the applicants had formed a legitimate expectation that their claims for asylum would be substantively determined in the United Kingdom. The Government are considering whether to petition the House of Lords for leave to appeal against the judgment.

The Court of Appeal found in favour of the Government regarding their powers to review and maintain such certification decisions. It also found that the Dublin Convention conferred rights upon member states' rather than upon individuals. This case related to decisions made before 25 March 1999 under provisions of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 which have subsequently been repealed. Its effect is limited to a small number of cases. For these reasons the judgment does not affect the general policy of the Government regarding the transfer of asylum seekers to safe third countries under the Dublin Convention; nor does the judgment affect the operation of Section 11 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.