The decision

Upper Tribunal
(Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Appeal Number: HU/21680/2018


Heard at Glasgow
On 8 August 2019
Decision and Reasons Promulgated
On 15th August 2019







For the Appellant: Mr L Kennedy, Advocate, instructed by Taj, Solicitors, London
For the Respondent: Mr M Clark, Senior Home Office Presenting Officer

1. The appellant currently identifies himself in the above name and gives his date of birth as 1 January 1989. He appears to have entered the UK in that identity in 2010, but to have applied to the respondent in another identity in 2014 (a matter which he inadvertently brought to light while making the application which leads to these proceedings).
2. This is an appeal against the decision of FtT Judge Sorrell, promulgated on 25 March 2019, dismissing the appellant's appeal on human rights grounds. His grounds of appeal to the UT are attached to his application for permission dated 24 May 2019. Permission was granted on 24 June 2019.
3. In a rule 24 response to the grant of permission, the respondent maintains that the FtT at [33] gave clear and sustainable reasons for holding that the appellant did not have a relationship with his partner's children of the nature claimed.
4. Mr Kennedy provided the UT with a written outline submission, which focuses on the aspect of parental relationship. As Mr Kennedy correctly acknowledged, that was the only issue by which the appellant had a realistic prospect of success.
5. Mr Kennedy said that the appellant had brought with him evidence that he married his partner on 26 July 2019, and that he is now on record as a school contact for the children.
6. There has been no application, as required by rules and directions, to admit further evidence, but, in any event, there was no need nor any legal scope to go into those matters. The genuineness of the relationship between the appellant and his partner was not in doubt. Both matters post-dated the hearing in the FtT, and were irrelevant to whether it made an error of law.
7. Having heard the oral submissions, I reserved my decision.
8. The submission for the appellant at [7] says that from his residence with his partner and the children "as a family unit - while the children's father was no longer exercising residence or any meaningful contact with the children - it might be reasonably inferred that the appellant had a genuine and subsisting relationship with his partner's children".
9. Residence with children and their mother is of course an indication of a possible parental relationship. However, the submission pre-empts the issue by using the phrase "family unit", and the proposition that the children's father has no meaningful contact with them was not shown quite to reflect the findings of the FtT or the evidence before it. He has at least telephone contact, and is named as parent and carer on some of the documentation.
10. The matter does not appear to have been brought out by the appellant in evidence as clearly as it might have been. For example, there was no statement from the children's father, and no information on whether one had been sought.
11. At [10] the submission again goes beyond the findings or evidence in contending that the appellant "is performing duties that are not being done - and have not been done for some time - by the children's biological father".
12. I raised with representatives at the end of submissions whether it is possible for children to have parental relationships with more than two persons. They were not aware of any authority, but both accepted that such is possible. I take it for present purposes that a child may have genuine and subsisting parental relationships with both biological parents, and with someone else. This case did not depend on excluding the children's biological father from their lives.
13. It is clear from the decision that although the appellant established the fact of his relationship with his partner since January 2017, there were strong reasons for not accepting his evidence in other respects, including the time that relationship began, which he claimed to be in January 2016. The judge also noted the peculiar fact that in his applications to the respondent, even as late as July 2018, the appellant did not rely upon relationships with the children.
14. The argument for the appellant, orally and at [8 - 9] of the outline submission, goes further than that a parental relationship might have been inferred. Such a finding is said to have been "inevitable and inescapable" and "logically mandated"; in other words, the only conclusion rationally open to the FtT.
15. On the crucial issue I prefer the submissions for the respondent. It was rationally open to the judge to conclude one way or the other. She had good reasons to be sceptical of other parts of the evidence for the appellant. At [33] she noted the lack of corroborative independent evidence. She found some evidence tending against a relationship, including the other contacts noted for the children on the documents, and the absence of reference to the appellant in the Child and Young Person's Multi-Agency Plan. She noted the explanation about why the appellant had not met the social worker, and found some plausibility in it, but rejected it for inconsistency with other evidence. The decision explains clearly and sensibly why the judge resolved the issue as she did.
16. The grounds and submissions for the appellant do not show that the making of the decision of the FtT involved the making of any error on a point of law.
17. The decision of the First-tier Tribunal shall stand.
18. No anonymity direction has been requested or made.

8 August 2019
UT Judge Macleman