Supreme Court Judgment: Honesty really is the best policy
14 August 2012
Last month, on 25 July 2012, the Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of RT (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 38 holding that those seeking asylum cannot be expected to lie in order to protect themselves on return. This includes both applicants not having to lie in order to deny their political beliefs or to fabricate political affiliations they have never had.
This may seem like common sense and in line with the internationally recognised right to freedom of thought, opinion and expression with no line being drawn between the freedom to hold such opinions and the freedom not to hold them. However, this has been the subject of litigation by the Secretary of State as it is of grave significance in some political climates where if a returnee is unable to show allegiance to the regime in power on return they will be at risk of persecution, torture and ill-treatment. As such this judgment will have a significant impact for those applying for asylum from Zimbabwe who are unable to prove their loyalty to the Zanu-PF party.
It is also significant as an extension of the principle that a returnee cannot be expected to live discreetly on return in order to avoid persecution on the basis of their religion or sexual identity (established in HJ(Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  AC 596).
If you are a national of Zimbabwe you may wish to seek legal advice on your status in the UK in light of this decision.