The Court of Appeal has handed down its reserved judgment in the linked appeal of SS (Zimbabwe) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 237. Abid Mahmood appeared for the lead Appellant and for five of the other Appellants. 

Each of the Appellants had claimed that they were at risk on return to Zimbabwe because of a fear from the President Mugabe regime. They also feared the Zanu-PF and the so called “War Veterans”. Their appeals had been rejected by the Upper Tribunal. 

The Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Warren) agreed that the correct course would be to allow the appeal and to ask the Upper Tribunal to decide the cases again. The Appellants had contended that their appeals ought to be allowed outright. 

The Upper Tribunal recently provided new country guidance in the case of CM (Zimbabwe) [2013] UKUT 00059 (IAC) and that was following a previous Supreme Court landmark judgment in SSHD v RT (Zimbabwe) and others, KM (Zimbabwe) v SSHD [2012] 3 WLR 345. The issue of the risk on return to Zimbabwe for those who do not support the President Mugabe regime has been the subject of numerous cases at the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Tribunals in the last decade and it looks as if the issue will continue to be litigated further for some time to come. 

There are media reports that new elections will take place in Zimbabwe very soon and there has been concern expressed that in the run up to such presidential elections, the risk to ordinary Zimbabweans increases. Such persons have to show positive loyalty to the President Mugabe regime or face persecution. These Appellants had undertaken refugee sur place activities in the United Kingdom and fear a return to their homeland, claiming that they will be targeted and will have to prove their loyalty to the President Mugabe regime. 

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