Foreigner's health issues insufficient to halt deportation
Publish date: 08 July 2019
Issue Number: 831
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: A Matter of Justice
How poor must a country's medical facilities be before the UK courts may bar government from returning an illegal foreigner there? It is a question UK judges are increasingly having to grapple with, most recently in the case of 'PF', a Nigerian who has a serious, chronic disease. He also has a lengthy criminal record for which the UK authorities want to deport him. As Carmel Rickard explains in A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site, PF suffers from sickle cell disease and his lawyers say to send him back to Nigeria would condemn him to an early, painful death. They also argued that the distress to his children if he were deported would infringe the European Convention on Human Rights. Though PF won an earlier round in his battle to stave off deportation, the Appeal Court has now found it has no evidence that he would not be able to access morphine and other medicines he needs in Nigeria. Deportation would thus not cause a 'serious, rapid and irreversible decline in health resulting in intense suffering', the current standards a deportee must meet before UK judges may set aside a deportation order on the grounds of illness.