The Subject Access Request

Apologies for not having written for the past two weeks. There has been a lot of action in my native country of Pakistan and most of it has been bad of course. I’m trying to arrange another blog in relation to South Asian laws and democracy. Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani friends have been supportive of my efforts and I hope to capture the essential legal nomenclature of these states which were birthed in the wake of the hasty and shameful departure of the British empire from the subcontinent in 1947. Bangladesh, of course, happened later when the Pakistani army was defeated subsequent to its genocidal works in East Pakistan.

I am also coming to the view that what happened to Mohandas in Pietermaritzberg in 1893 is an ongoing process. The question is whether or not we can be like Mohan?

With the exception of a letter of grant, the Subject Access Report (SAR) is perhaps the single most powerful set of UKBA papers available to immigrants.

Its contents are truly fascinating. The SAR has an abundance of information which is normally not available to people who have been in the UK over a long period of time. The report is divided into parts (not that these are numbered or anything) and the meat of the report lies the back.

The CID pages in the SAR reveal how the UKBA does business. These pages contain all the applications which were ever made by a subject of immigration control. (Including the date when the application was raised and the date it was considered and its outcome.)

If the UKBA removals’ team has investigated the subject for the potential service of an IS 151A notice certain items will show up as “barriers to removal”. These are things such as (i) complaints in relation to an outstanding application; (ii) MP intervention/representation; (iii) ongoing UKBA correspondence following an MP’s intervention (this only happens when the UKBA is cocking a case up – so it happens a lot).

Other rich areas of the SAR are the front bits which contain all the applications (including forms and letters granting LTR) made by a subject. In refusing applications caseworkers sometimes overlook advising applicants about their rights of appeal. In the event that statutory regulations in relation to serving notices are not followed then an appellant’s LTR continues under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971.

Practically, this means that if the SSHD has dispensed with serving notice as specified in statute then the applicant is free to remain in the UK. So an overstayer whose application was refused, say, five years ago and who was not informed of a right of appeal in the refusal letter may raise the above argument to state that their LTR is/was extended under the 1971 Act. Definitely worth trying this in the tribunals. Moreover, as the UKBA’s bundle before a tribunal in a “simple” LTR application will invariably contain only the most recent application form, the SAR is an ideal weapon to use against the HOPOs in the tribunals.

The SAR also contains the decision maker’s minutes of the transaction. Caseworkers will scan their notes into the GCID. Later caseworkers who do not read the SAR and its contents, especially previous notes, and make stupid decisions risk annihilation at the tribunal for not having done their job properly.

SAR extracts are a great bundle garnish. Using the UKBA’s particulars against them in court is quite brilliant: in a good case, some will be better than others of course, the SAR allows just this. Since, prior to a hearing, the UKBA will either serve no evidence at all or very little evidence, it’s a great idea to have an SAR to fight one’s case.

Moreover, SARs will also contain detailed information in relation to an immigration subject’s arrivals and departures. It is a fantastic set of papers to have. They only cost £10 and take 40 days to process.

I am expecting one for an Indian friend with an East African Asian background. I am hoping all his past settlement applications are in his SAR. Otherwise he will have to pay hundreds of pounds to his former solicitors to retrieve the contents of his file. I am willing to bet any sum of money that all they will do is order an SAR from him and pocket any sum in excess of £10!

Anyway, immigrants please try to be like Mohan. Get an SAR and clobber the UKBA with it. The SAR IDI can be viewed here.

About Asad Ali Khan, BA, MSc, MA, LL.B (Hons), LL.M

Senior Partner, Khan & Co, Barristers-at-Law
This entry was posted in East African Asians, Enforcement, Gandhi, Immigration Law, Removals, SAR, Tribunals, UKBA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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