The issue in this forcefully contested appeal was whether the existence of a conviction in the UK of downloading prohibited materials (for which the individual received a nine-month sentence of imprisonment) and his alleged “mind set” was enough for them to be excluded from protection under the refugee Convention.

NF had succeeded in his appeal before the first-tier Tribunal which was appealed by the Secretary of State to the Upper Tribunal which rejected the Secretary of State’s appeal. Undeterred the Secretary of State sought and obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal but was ultimately unsuccessful in persuading the court either that the earlier tribunal had asked itself the wrong question or that there was only one conclusion that the tribunal could reach on the evidence so as to justify the exclusion.

Consequently the existence of a conviction for “terrorism” would need to be examined in detail to assess the extent to which the conduct of an individual convicted was sufficiently grave and serious such that it could have had an effect upon international peace, security and relations between states and the label of the type of offence is not of itself sufficient to warrant exclusion from protection

An appeal to the Supreme Court is not being pursued by the Secretary of State

NF was represented by Amanda Weston QC and Anthony Vaughan and instructed by Jawaid Luqmani.   The Secretary of State was represented by Robin Tam QC instructed by the Government Legal Department