“In a judgment delivered in January 2015, the most senior asylum court in the United Kingdom said the following:
‘The spotlight in these proceedings is on an area just across the English Channel from Dover. It has become known colloquially as ‘The Jungle’. This is a bleak and desolate place adjacent to Calais on the coast of northern France. It attracts this appellation not without good reason. Unlike other jungles, this place is inhabited by human beings, not animals ….. The description of the Jungle in some parts of the evidence as a camp, or settlement, is misleading …. Descriptions such as ‘a living hell’ abound … In summary, the conditions prevailing in this desolate part of the earth are about as deplorable as any citizen of the developed nations could imagine.’
In the same breath the Court observed that the case raised ‘issues of the keenest difficulty for the determination of individual rights against the background of the rule of law and for the exercise of a jurisdiction that is at the same time humanitarian and alive to the national and international regulatory context.’
The issues raised were, of course, issues of the application of human rights law in a context where the dominant legal instrument was the soi-disant Dublin Convention. What where these issues? This landmark case, ZAT v Home Secretary, proved to be the first of many comparable legal challenges which evolved during the following 18 months. The case law which evolved grapples with challenging and unprecedented questions of law arising out of rapidly changing contexts. These legal challenges continue to today. What were these issues and how were they judicially resolved?
The Honourable Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey, recently retired President of the UK Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and President, Queen’s Bench Division and Judicial Review of the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland, will speak on this subject in a public lecture. Being Human Festival.