Court of Appeal Clarifies Interpretation of Immigration Rules for Afghan Relocation Eligibility

Citation: [2024] EWCA Civ 278
Judgment on


The case of LND1 & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2024] EWCA Civ 278 addresses the interpretation and application of the Immigration Rules concerning the eligibility of Afghan citizens for relocation to the United Kingdom under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Key Facts

The appeal arises from LND, an Afghan judge, who sought relocation to the UK claiming eligibility under the ARAP scheme. However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) deemed him ineligible, noting that he did not satisfy the criteria of working “alongside a UK government department, in partnership with or closely supporting and assisting that department” (Condition 1(iii) of ARAP 3.6). LND’s judicial review claim was allowed by Mr Justice Swift in the High Court, prompting the MoD’s appeal.

The Court of Appeal applied established principles for interpreting the Immigration Rules. These rules should be read sensibly according to their natural and ordinary meaning, recognizing they are statements of the Secretary of State’s administrative policy.

  1. Separation of Conditions 1 & 2: The court clarified that Conditions 1(iii) and 2 have distinct functions within ARAP 3.6. Condition 1(iii) involves assessing the nexus between an individual’s work and a UK government department, while Condition 2 relates to the contribution of that work towards the UK’s military or national security objectives.

  2. Need for Individual Evaluation: The decision-making process under ARAP 3.6 should individually assess the information provided by each Afghan national seeking relocation. The assessment should establish whether their work demonstrates a partnership, alignment, or supportive function alongside a UK government department.

  3. Duty to Provide Adequate Reasons: The court underscored that procedural fairness necessitates that refusal decisions issued by public bodies should offer adequate reasons, enabling applicants to understand the grounds for rejection and assess potential avenues for review or appeal.

  4. Judicial Review Remedies: The court’s role in judicial review is supervisory, ensuring the lawfulness of public body decisions. Should a decision be found unlawful, the typical remedy is to quash said decision and remit the matter to the decision-maker for reassessment.


For LND, the key outcomes were:

  1. Interpretation of ARAP Conditions: The court found that the High Court had erred in its interpretation of ARAP 3.6 by conflating Conditions 1(iii) and 2 and by determining eligibility without remanding to the MoD.

  2. Quashing Original Decision: The Court of Appeal ruled that the original decision by the MoD on 9 December 2022 was unlawful as not all relevant considerations were addressed – particularly LND’s work with a Penal Code and Anti-Narcotics Law Drafting Committee and his role at the court for internal and external security in Kabul.

  3. Remittal for Reconsideration: The case was remitted to the MoD to reconsider LND’s application, taking into account the matters it had previously neglected.

  4. Adequate Reasons Requirement: The initial pro-forma decision was deemed insufficient under principles of procedural fairness, highlighting the need for decisions to sufficiently engage with the applicant’s case.


The Court of Appeal’s judgment in LND1 & Ors clarifies the boundaries of the ARAP eligibility conditions and reaffirms the duty of public bodies to provide reasons when denying applications that hold substantial personal significance. The ruling reinforces the interpretative approach to administrative rules and the court’s role in ensuring public bodies adhere to the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in their decision-making processes. Legal practitioners can take away the importance of the precision of language in drafting policy and the ramifications of its interpretation in judicial proceedings.