Court rules Foreign Office must take ‘reasonable steps’ to help family of Afghan man recruited by UK Government

A High Court judge has ordered ministers to take “reasonable steps” to get relatives of an Afghan man recruited by the British Government out of Afghanistan.

Lawyers representing the man, who now lives in the UK, took legal action against Home Secretary Priti Patel after Government officials said his family members were not eligible for removal.

The Foreign Office was listed as an interested party in the case.

Lawyers representing the Government “resisted” the man’s claim and said the decision was not wrong.

But Mrs Justice Foster made a ruling in the man’s favour at a High Court hearing in London today. 

“I am intending to order the Secretary of State to use her best endeavours to facilitate the departure from Afghanistan of the claimant’s relatives,” she said.

“This was a decision that was very arguably wrong.”

The judge added: “Arguably it made an error of fact in concluding that there had not been any direct intimidation from the Taliban.”

She said she wanted ministers to take “reasonable steps” to facilitate departure.

The judge heard that the man had been “recruited” by the Government and had now left Afghanistan.

He said relatives were in danger because of their links to him.

Lawyers representing him accepted that officials would have difficulty finding flights, but they said relatives might be able to travel overland and get to Pakistan.

Barrister Sonali Naik QC, who led the man’s legal team, said ministers and officials should use their “best endeavours” to get the man’s family members out of Afghanistan.

She told the judge: “This family are being targeted because of their relationship to the claimant who was recruited by (the Government).”

Mrs Justice Foster imposed limits on what could be reported and said neither the man nor his relatives could be identified in media reports of the case.

No detail of what work he did after being “recruited” by the Government emerged at the hearing.

The case is due return to court in the near future.

Lawyers are expected to argue about issues relating to Government policy at a follow-up hearing.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992