Neil Sheldon and Matthew Hill have appeared in the Supreme Court in a case concerning whether an asylum seeker’s scars were inflicted by torture or as the result of a planned procedure carried out under anaesthetic.

The Upper Tribunal found that the appellant, KV, had not proved his claim for asylum as he was unable to persuade them that there was a real possibility that the scars on his back, which all agreed were caused by a hot iron rod, were evidence of torture. The Tribunal found the Claimant’s account to be implausible, as it relied on him passing out and then remaining unconscious despite repeated applications of the hot iron rod.  An alternative hypothesis suggested by the medical evidence – that he was anaesthetised – implied that he had consented to the injuries.

The Court of Appeal upheld that decision in KV (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 119, with Neil successfully representing the Secretary of State.

A further appeal was heard this week by the Supreme Court, with Neil and Matthew acting for the Secretary of State, instructed by the GLD.  The Court heard arguments about the proper approach of appellate courts to the decisions of specialist tribunals, the duty to give reasons, and the proper role of a medical expert in asylum proceedings.

Judgment was reserved.

More details are available on the Supreme Court website here.