Secretary of State for the Home Department v Rehman [2003] 1 AC 153

Immigration; deportation; public good; terrorism links

(293 words)


The applicant was a Pakistani national who had been granted entry to the UK in order to work as a religious minister. After five years, his application for indefinite leave to remain was rejected and he was notified that the decision was based on his association with a terrorism-linked organisation. A deportation order was made in the interests of national security.


On appeal by Rehman, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission held that a person had to be involved in, or had to promote or encourage violence targeting the UK in order to be regarded as a threat to national security. The Commission found that the Secretary of State was not able to show with a sufficient degree of probability that Rehman posed such threat. The Court of Appeal later found for the Secretary of State. Rehman appealed.


The House of Lords dismissed Rehman’s appeal. The meaning of the phrase “conducive to the public good” under s. 3(5)(b) of the Immigration Act 1971 was, prima facie, a matter to be decided by the Secretary of State at his discretion. Deportation could be conducive to the public good based on the three given grounds (as contained in s. 15(3) of the 1971 Act) taken together – as an overall view. Furthermore, the Court found that national security could be threatened indirectly by actions targeting other states, as well as those directly targeting the UK. The specific facts relied on by the Secretary of State should indeed be proved on the balance of probabilities, however, there was no appropriate standard for the formation of an executive judgment of this nature. Whether a deportation order would be conducive to the public good should be based on a reasonable and proportionate consideration of all available material.