The decision

Heard at Field House

TP(Credibility) Zimbabwe [2004] UKIAT 00159
On 11 June 2004 and determination given orally at hearing


Date Determination notified:

21 June 2004


Mr P Lane (Vice President)
Miss R I Emblin
Mr G F Sandall







For the appellant: Miss F Zafar, Solicitor of Z & S Solicitors
For the respondent: Mr G Elks, Senior Presenting Officer


1. The appellant, a citizen of Zimbabwe, appeals with permission against the determination of an adjudicator, Mr I F Taylor, sitting at Nottingham, in which he dismissed on asylum and human rights grounds the appellant’s appeal against the decision of the respondent on 20 June 2003 to give directions for the appellant’s removal from the United Kingdom.
2. The Vice President who granted permission to appeal appears to have done so in circumstances where he only had the odd- numbered pages of the determination. That may to some extent account for the reason why he granted permission, in that it would not have been plain precisely what credibility findings the adjudicator was making.
3. Be that as it may, however, the grounds of appeal contend that the adjudicator erred in basing his adverse credibility findings wholly upon the situation in which the appellant came to claim asylum. That situation was essentially as follows.
4. The appellant arrived in the United Kingdom by air on 25 April 2001. At that stage, as he told the adjudicator, his intention was just to stay quiet in the United Kingdom until the Presidential elections in Zimbabwe in March 2002. In any event, the appellant gained access to the United Kingdom for the purposes of study and did not tell the immigration authorities that he had had problems in Zimbabwe. That in itself is surprising, given that the appellant on his own account was fleeing the hostile attentions of ZANU-PF supporters, who had gone so far as to burn down the home in which he was living.
5. After the elections in March 2002, the appellant still did not claim asylum. He told the adjudicator that his reason for not doing so at this stage was because he was unaware of the procedure until he discussed the matter with friends. The adjudicator at paragraph 11 of his determination did not accept that explanation from a person whom he found to be “an educated and intelligent young man”.
6. Furthermore, the adjudicator noted that even after this point the appellant made no attempt to seek asylum. Indeed, he did so only when he was apprehended by the police and arrested for driving a vehicle with no insurance. That occurred in May 2002. At that point the appellant was told he was about to be deported and the appellant thereupon claimed asylum.
7. The adjudicator found that the appellant’s immigration history was “wholly inconsistent with his claim to have suffered persecution at the hands of the ZANU-PF and war veterans in Zimbabwe. In my view if he had suffered such a persecution he would have claimed asylum at the first available opportunity and would not have waited until 11th hour when he was about to be deported. I find his explanations for not claiming asylum to be wholly unsatisfactory and untrue. It follows therefore that I do not accept his accounts of events in Zimbabwe. In the circumstances of this case the appellant’s asylum appeal is dismissed” (determination paragraph 11).
8. In her submission to the Tribunal this afternoon, Miss Zafar urged us to find that it was insufficient for the adjudicator to base his credibility findings on these matters and the he should have gone into the detail of the claim regarding harassment and persecution by ZANU-PF.
9. The Tribunal is wholly unable to accept that submission. The adjudicator was, in the circumstances of this case, fully entitled to have regard to the immigration history of the appellant and in particular the precise circumstances in which the claim for asylum was belatedly made and to conclude from all this that the appellant was a person of no credibility.
10. It is highly significant that the appellant claimed asylum only in the immediate aftermath of being apprehended by the police for committing what would appear to be a criminal offence and after he was threatened with deportation.
11. There is no point whatsoever in the adjudicator in those circumstances having to look in substance at the appellant’s claim regarding what was supposed to have happened in Zimbabwe. The adjudicator found that that claim was wholly false and he has given a legally sufficient reason for so doing. It is asserted that, in proceeding as he did, the adjudicator failed to give the appeal his “anxious scrutiny”. On the facts of the case, we find that the adjudicator has given the requisite degree of scrutiny to the entirety of the appellants claim for protection in the United Kingdom.
12. This appeal is dismissed.

P R Lane