The decision

Upper Tribunal
(Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Appeal Number: PA/00852/2020


Heard remotely via Skype for Business
Decision & Reasons Promulgated
On 9 April 2021
On 21st April 2021






For the Appellant: Mr Wood
For the Respondent: Mrs Pettersen, Senior Presenting Officer

1. The appellant is a female citizen of Iraq who was born in 1985. She appeals to Upper Tribunal against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal dated 13 November 2020. The First-tier Tribunal dismissed her appeal against a decision of the Secretary of State dated 9 January 2020 which refused her claim for international protection.
2. The appellant claims to fear her husband in Iraq and members of his family. The judge found that the appellant is not a credible witness. She rejected the appellant's claim that she fears her husband (whom she has remarried following a divorce). The judge found that the appellant could return to Iraq without facing any real risk from her husband or his family.
3. I find that the judge has erred in law. At [83], the judge provides her reasons for finding that the appellant does not fear her husband. She states that the appellant had claimed at interview that she 'was not scared of [her husband]'. I cannot find anything in the interview record which supports the judge's observation. Likewise, the judge finds that the husband 'had never been physically violent' towards the appellant. The finding overlooks the appellant's clear evidence that her husband had forced her to have sex with him against her wishes. The judge should have considered whether that conduct constituted violence towards the appellant and, if not, she should have given her reasons.
4. Secondly, although she briefly addresses the report of the consultant forensic psychiatrist, Dr Ghosh, at [80], the judge has not considered that evidence at all when reaching her findings at [83]. The expert records the extent of the appellant's fear of her husband and relates that account to the experience of women who 'have been subjected to prolonged abuse'. The judge was not obliged to accept the opinion of the expert but, as her findings directly contradict that opinion, she should have given reasons for rejecting Dr Ghosh's evidence. Her failure to do so was an error of law.
5. As a consequence, I find that the findings at [83] are vitiated by legal error. Those findings deal with the core of the appellant's account and her claim that she fears returning to Iraq. In the circumstances, therefore, I set aside the decision. Given the nature of the error, I find that none of the findings of fact should stand. There will need to be a new fact-finding exercise which is better conducted in the First-tier Tribunal to which this appeal is returned for it to remake the decision.
Notice of Decision

The decision of the First-tier Tribunal is set aside. None of the findings of fact shall stand. The appeal is returned to the First-tier Tribunal for that Tribunal to remake the decision following a hearing de novo.

LISTING DIRECTIONS: Manchester; Not before Judge Lang; first available date; First-tier Tribunal to decide if remote or face to face; Kurdish Sorani interpreter; 2 hours.

Signed Date: 9 April 2021
Upper Tribunal Judge Lane