The decision

Heard at Field House

on: 20 April 2004

SJ (“Hearing Interpreters”) Iran [2004] UKIAT 00131


Date Determination notified:

04 June 2004


Mr J Perkins
(Vice President)
Ms S S Ramsumair JP






1. Before us the appellant was represented by Mr L Jackson of Counsel instructed by Browell Smith & Co, solicitors and the respondent was represented by Mr L Parker, a Home Office Presenting Officer.
2. The appellant is a citizen of Iran. He was born on 11 September 1976 and so is now 26 years old. He appeals the decision of an Adjudicator, Mr I F MacDonald, who in a determination promulgated on 2 June 2003 dismissed the appellant’s appeal against the decision of the Secretary of State that he was not entitled to Refugee Status and that removing him from the United Kingdom was not contrary to his rights under the European Convention on human rights.
3. The grounds of appeal are extensive. In fact they really are too long but they do raise a point of central concern. They complain about the conduct of the interpreter. It is quite plain that the interpreter’s competence was challenged during the hearing by a person instructed by the appellant. It is also plain that the Adjudicator went to considerable efforts to maintain order in his hearing room and protect the interpreter from being criticised in an intimidating and unfair way.
4. We have evidence presented in a proper form from Counsel at the hearing and the interpreter who was instructed by the appellant to check on the quality of the interpreter provided by the Appellate Authority. It is clear from reading these statements that the interpreter responded to criticism by lowering her voice so that her interpretation could not be heard. Whilst we have a great deal of sympathy for the interpreter taking this course it was wrong. Hearings in the Appellate Authority are almost always conducted in public and that means they have to be conducted in a way that members of the public and people with a particular interest in the case can understand what is happening. By permitting the interpreter to interpret too quietly for other people to hear the Adjudicator erred.
5. Justice must be seen to be done and the only way this can be remedied is for the appeal to be heard again by a different Adjudicator.
6. We allow the appeal to the extent we direct that it be heard again by an Adjudicator other than Mr I F MacDonald. We also direct that the Appellate authority provide a different interpreter. We assume the Appellate Authority will have records of the interpreter used when the case was before Mr MacDonald. We have not been able to find that interpreter’s name easily on the papers in front of us.
7. We explained to the appellant at the hearing that although we do not make any direction about this it would be sensible if he was not assisted at the next hearing by the same person who criticised the interpreter on this occasion.

Jonathan Perkins
Vice President
20 April 2004