MiCLU and Shpresa Programme‘s Breaking the Chains project has brought together specialist barristers, solicitors and academics to consider how legal professionals and others can ensure that children from Albania are granted meaningful protection against the risks of return to abuse in their country of origin or further exploitation in the UK.
As part of this initiative MiCLU have worked with other partner organisations to create and gather resources that can be used by lawyers representing young Albanian asylum seekers. We will be gradually adding to the resources below. Your feedback on using the resources is valuable to us: contact email@example.com.
Photography by young people at Shpresa Programme expressing their experiences engaging with the asylum process is featured below.
Albanian trafficked boys and young men: A review of the February 2023 CPIN – Papers by David Neale (February 2023)Deborah Thackray2023-09-07T10:58:30+01:00
A review and critique of the updated Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on human trafficking in Albania which was published in February 2023.
The government’s new guidance on trafficking in Albania that was published in December 2022, unlike its predecessor, newly asserted that asylum claims by trafficked men and boys are likely to be certifiable as “clearly unfounded” under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. David Neale of Garden Court Chambers carefully reviewed the evidence referenced in the CPIN and related Fact Finding Mission, and found this claim to be wrong and unsupported by the remainder of the CPIN, finishing with recommendations for lawyers preparing such cases.
The CPIN was updated by the Home Office in February 2023 with some additional information addressing the support available in Albania for victims of trafficking. David Neale has critiqued this updated version in an addendum to his original review. He concludes that “trafficked boys and men who exhibit some or all of the TD and AD risk factors are likely to be at risk of re-trafficking in Albania, and will not be adequately protected by the Albanian state. Claims by trafficked men and boys are not suitable for certification as clearly unfounded.”
These papers are crucial reading for any lawyers representing Albanian boys and young men.
In September 2022 David Neale reviewed a new Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on blood feuds in Albania which was published in September 2022. He found that the evidence in the September 2022 CPIN is “plainly insufficient to justify a departure from EH.”
The Home Office have since published a new CPIN based on the evidence in a Fact Finding Mission (FFM) published online in January 2023. The new CPIN similarly argues for a departure from EH. David Neale has completed a detailed review of the new CPIN and its reliance on the accompanying FFM, and finds that the evidence is still insufficient to justify such a departure.
David finds: “The new CPIN presents a partisan and inaccurate picture of the risks from blood feud in Albania. Its claim that the Albanian authorities now provide a sufficiency of protection against blood feuds is open to doubt. The sources cited do not provide the “strong grounds supported by cogent evidence” required to depart from the Country Guidance case of EH. It would be wholly wrong for cases to be certified as clearly unfounded on this basis.”
The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 makes a large number of changes to the asylum system. It poses a host of new and unfamiliar challenges for asylum lawyers. As most provisions of the Act are not yet in force, and litigation is ongoing, there is much we do not yet know, however this paper aims to focus on a few key issues of particular relevance to those representing asylum-seeking children and young people.
This is a collaborative document prepared by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers and young people at Shpresa Programme. It is intended to provide guidance on key issues for lawyers working with Albanian asylum-seeking children and young people.
A training seminar for legal practitioners delivered by Christopher Cole and Kathryn Cronin, about how to successfully run complex asylum cases, using the lens of young Albanian asylum claims, which are often considered some of the most challenging to run.
View a recording of the seminar below:
For a summary of country evidence and case findings, broken down by major Albanian asylum case types, referred to in the seminar and prepared by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers, click here.
Christopher Cole is a freelance consultant solicitor who specialises in complex Asylum and Human Rights cases and sits as a fee-paid judge at the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber). Christopher was partner and Head of Immigration at Parker Rhodes Hickmotts until September 2020.
Kathryn Cronin is a barrister and former academic with some 39 years’ advocacy, policy and research experience. She was joint head of Garden Court Chambers from 2013 to 2017 and has lectured and published on international children’s law. She is well known for her representation of separated children, child asylum seekers and child victims of trafficking.
The seminar covers: credibility, sufficiency of protection and internal relocation, certification, liaison with the country of origin, and question and answers.
Into the Arms of Traffickers – Utilising research on trafficking risks and making delay challenges – Seminar recordings and materials (2021)Miclu Team2021-12-09T14:54:40+00:00
New research by Christine Beddoe finds that the result of increasing Home Office delays is that highly vulnerable children and young adults are facing greater risk of exploitation and trafficking within the UK. As a consequence, the UK government is failing in its legal obligations to protect the victims and potential victims of trafficking.
Gurpinder Khanba, supervising solicitor at MiCLU, and Emma Fitzsimons, barrister at Garden Court Chamber, delivered a seminar on how to use this research when making representations regarding delay.
Talk given by Zoe Given-Wilson, post-doctoral researcher at Royal Holloway University London, around the barriers that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children face telling their story during the interview process.
The merits of Albanian asylum claims based on fear of domestic violence – Online seminar and paper by David Neale (February 2021)Deborah Thackray2021-02-13T11:29:31+00:00
David Neale, Legal Researcher at Garden Court Chambers, argues that the old country guidance case of DM is not an accurate reflection of the current position, and that many Albanians who fear domestic violence at the hands of their families will not be able to avail themselves of a sufficiency of state protection. This includes some boys and young men. David also explores the vulnerability of some domestic violence survivors to trafficking/exploitation on return, even where they have not been trafficked in the past.
This seminar is particularly useful to lawyers representing Albanian nationals and in assessing merits in Albanian asylum claims, including those who are challenging certification decisions by Judicial Review.
Kathryn Cronin, Senior Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, explores the challenges in working with children and young people in the hostile environment, using examples from her own work to identify best practice in working with this vulnerable client group, in this online legal seminar.
The importance of expert evidence in Albanian asylum claims – Online seminar and handout by Gurpinder Khanba (November 2020)Deborah Thackray2020-11-23T13:47:01+00:00
This seminar highlights the critical role of expert evidence in Albanian claims including the need for frontloading. It is intended to assist those seeking to secure funding for expert reports at an early stage from the Legal Aid Agency.
A seminar paper accompanies an online seminar of the same title intended to help lawyers in assessing merits in Albanian asylum claims – both prepared and delivered by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers.
The paper and seminar focus principally on asylum claims based on blood feuds, but also deal with asylum claims based on domestic violence and human trafficking.
David Neale argues that these claims, in general, have strong merits: lawyers should be pursuing appeals and fresh claims in these cases and, where they are certified, should be pursuing challenges by judicial review.
Click here to view the paper or view the seminar below.
Albanian blood feuds: An update – David Neale (April 2020)Miclu Team2021-01-10T12:31:35+00:00
Albanian blood feuds: an update is prepared by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers, and analyses the new Albania Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on blood feuds published by the Home Office in February 2020.
This update discusses how the new CPIN fails to respond to previous criticisms of the country guidance on blood feuds in Albania. It also notes new, positive information that has been included in the CPIN from a December 2017 report by Operazione Colomba, but points out that this is unfortunately not reflected in the overall policy summary or quoted in full.
This briefing note is prepared jointly by Garden Court Chambers and MiCLU to raise awareness in the sector of a sudden spike in the numbers of asylum claims by Albanian nationals which have been certified as ‘clearly unfounded’ under s.94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, and to encourage a practical response that protects clients who are at risk of refoulement to Albania.
The briefing note is a resource that we hope will save legal practitioners time in their daily practice, and is intended to be used by new-starters without too much supervision.
This paper, prepared by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers, analyses Asylos’ new report and argues that many Albanian asylum-seeking boys and young men are at risk of trafficking or re-trafficking on return to Albania.
This paper will be useful to lawyers who are representing Albanian boys and young men, both those who are already victims of trafficking and those who have claimed asylum on another basis but may be at risk of trafficking on return.
This report, published by Asylos in collaboration with the Asylum Research Centre (ARC) Foundation, covers nine key research areas relating to the trafficking of Albanian boys and young men and includes interviews with ten different individuals and organisations.
This important piece of research aims to fill the gap in the COI literature about the situation of Albanian boys and young men who are victims of trafficking.
Albanian blood feuds and certification: a critical view is prepared by David Neale of Garden Court Chambers, and is an expanded and updated version of a paper first published at the Breaking the Chains event, hosted by MiCLU and Shpresa Programme in June 2018.
Albanian blood feuds and certification: a critical view criticises aspects of the Home Office country information and guidance on blood feuds in Albania and offers strategies to legal practitioners for countering arguments based on current country guidance employed by the Home Office to certify Albanian asylum claims.
This paper, presented by Dr Rachel Alsop at the Breaking the Chains event hosted by MiCLU and Shpresa Programme in June 2018, reviews the available country of origin literature on Albania and finds that the country guidance for Albania used in decision making on asylum claims for unaccompanied young people is not fit for purpose.
Dr Alsop’s paper finds significant gaps in the literature and concludes that without sufficient research data to draw on, the country guidance is problematic as it is not adequately informed by the lived experiences of the young people.