- There are rules/guidance for judges to ensure that people get a fair hearing and can take part in their case. One of these is guidance on how vulnerable people are treated. This guidance is called: Joint Presidential Guidance Note No. 2 of 2010 on Vulnerable Witnesses. (When you go to the tribunal or to court you are a WITNESS.)
- The guidance tells judges that they must consider whether you are a vulnerable witness. If the judge in your case did not do so, you can apply for another appeal hearing.
- You can be vulnerable for different reasons – you suffered rape and other sexual violence or torture, are traumatised and/or if you have mental health problems (“sustained serious harm or torture or are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder”). You should also be considered vulnerable if you are in detention (“detained in lawful custody”).
THE GUIDANCE CAN HELP YOU INSIST ON YOUR RIGHT TO:
- An adjournment to get a lawyer. The Guidance calls on judges to:
“Identify and record whether the appellant is legally represented. If not consider whether an adjournment of the substantive hearing would enable representation to be obtained” (Para 5 vi).
2. A Case Management Review Hearing (CMRH) to decide whether “special measures” are needed to help you as a vulnerable and traumatised people. The Guidance says:
“In so far as it is possible potential issues and solutions should be identified at a CMRH or pre-hearing review and the case papers noted so that the substantive hearing can proceed with minimal exposure to trauma or further trauma of vulnerable witnesses or appellants.” (Para 4).
3. Sensitive treatment if you are a victim of rape, other violence and/or trafficking. The Guidance puts a responsibility on judges to:
“Curtail improper or aggressive cross examination; control the manner of questioning to avoid harassment, intimidation or humiliation. . . . Pay special attention to avoid re-traumatisation of a victim of crime, torture, sexual violence.”
4. When assessing the evidence judges have a responsibility to consider:
“The order and manner in which evidence is given may be affected by mental, psychological or emotional trauma or disability.” (Para 3)
5. Psychiatric evidence. The Guidance calls on judges to:
“Consider whether expert evidence e.g. as to disability, age or mental health is required, particularly if there is a dispute on an issue over ability to participate in the proceedings; consider whether an adjournment would be appropriate to enable either party to obtain reports.” (Para 5 vii).
6. A single gender hearing; that is an all woman hearing.
To Whom It May Concern Date
The judge in my case didn’t consider whether the Tribunal’s Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010 on Vulnerable Witnesses applied to me. I therefore write to ask
PICK FROM THE LIST BELOW & DELETE THE REST.
- For my removal to be stopped.
- For the Home Office to treat my further submissions as a fresh claim and not rely on a previous Tribunal judgement that failed to treat me as a vulnerable witness. 
- For a judicial review of the Home Office’s refusal to treat my further submissions as a fresh claim.
- For the Tribunal to set aside my last appeal determination, because the judge did not consider if I was vulnerable, and allow me another appeal.
- For an in-country appeal because my case is not “clearly unfounded” if considered in light of the guidance.
- To be released from detention.
- For legal aid because the Legal Aid Agency relied on the judge’s ruling to say my case has no merit.
I didn’t get a fair hearing because I wasn’t treated like a vulnerable witness in accordance with the Tribunal’s Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010 on Vulnerable Witnesses.
RETAIN WHICH OF THE TWO DESCRIPTIONS BELOW QUALIFY YOU TO BE A VULNERABLE WITNESS (IT MAY BE BOTH – IF NOT DELETE THE ONE WHICH DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU.
1. I was in detention at the time of my hearing.
The Guidance informs judges that: “A person is a vulnerable adult if he has attained the age of 18; he receives any form of health care; he is detained in lawful custody,” and that
2. I am traumatised and vulnerable because of my experiences.
The Guidance informs judges that: “Some individuals are vulnerable because of what has happened to them e.g. they are victims of trafficking or have sustained serious harm or torture or are suffering from PTSD.”
I attach the decision of “YF (Cameroon) v SSHD in the Court of Appeal, civil division. Application for a second appeal. (Ref: C5/2014/2595)”, in which the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal to proceed on the basis that the Tribunal had failed to consider Ms YF’s case with reference to the Guidance. The Tribunal concurred and Ms YF was allowed a new appeal, as a result of which she was granted full refugee status. The Home Office also agreed in this and other cases that the Tribunal’s failure to apply the Guidance was “an error in law”.