We are very pleased to announce that we have been awarded funding from the Strategic Legal Fund to carry out research related to a case we intend to bring in the European Court of Human Rights. The background to the case may seem rather dry but it is of huge importance to many UK families who have family members abroad.
In ordinary times, many people visit the UK every year to see family based here and to join in family events and celebrations such as celebrating weddings and civil partnerships, graduations, new babies, birthdays, or simply to spend time with their family. Yet for some families such ordinary family life is impossible, because the UK Home Office refuses to grant family visit visas to a much higher proportion of people from certain parts of the world.
The result is that some families have an ease of contact and others, depending on the nationality or country of origin of their family members, cannot enjoy such contact. To make matters worse, in most refusal cases there is no access to an appeal hearing.
The case we intend to bring to the European Court seeks to broaden the range of family cases where an appeal can be brought to the Tribunal so that the family can have their case decided by a Judge who has the benefit of hearing evidence. We intend to raise issues about the range of family relationships which should or could be seen as triggering a right of appeal and raise the issue of the discriminatory impact of the current visa and appeal system for many families. We are seeking the help of practitioners and others interested in this issue and have designed a short questionnaire to help us in the research.
We are asking for responses by 12 June 2020, and would be grateful if you could share the survey with anyone you think may be able to provide information here.