Meaning of a partner in deportation proceedings

In Buci (Part 5A: “partner”) [2020] UKUT 00087 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) provided guidance on the meaning of the term “partner” in section 117C of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

The Appellant in this case was an Albanian citizen facing deportation. He claimed that, for the purposes of section 117C, his girlfriend was his “partner”, and that his Deportation would be ‘unduly harsh’. As no definition of “partner” was provided in the Act, the First-tier Tribunal (‘FTT’) relied on the definition of “partner” in paragraph GEN 1.2. of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules, whereby a “partner” is a spouse, civil partner or person with whom the applicant has co-habited for two years or more. The FTT judge ruled that the aforementioned definition was not satisfied, and therefore dismissed the Appellant’s immigration appeal.

On appeal to the Upper Tribunal, it was held that the definition of “partner” under the Immigration Rules was a starting point, but that it was not determinative. Where the Immigration Rules definition was not satisfied, the FTT needed to assess the substance of the relationship. In the Appellant’s case, the definition of “partner” in the broader section 117C sense was thus satisfied by a narrow margin. However, the immigration appeal was ultimately dismissed due to an absence of undue harshness.

The Upper Tribunal’s Decision clarifies the meaning of the term “partner” in the context of the deportation of foreign criminals under section 117C of the 2002 Act. The requirement to consider the nature of the relationship more broadly means that Home Office or Tribunal decision makers can no longer dismiss a claim simply because the Immigration Rules definition is not satisfied.

If you are the subject of a Deportation Order then one of our Immigration Barristers can help you. We are expert Immigration Lawyers experienced in every aspect of deportation proceedings, including: making Human Rights representations to the Home Office, submitting appeals against deportation orders to the First-tier Tribunal (the Immigration Tribunal), and representing clients at Tribunal hearings before immigration judges.


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