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Immigration officials block mother's return to Britain
7:00pm Friday 27th December 2013 in News
IMMIGRATION officials have refused to allow a mother-of-four with links to Blackburn to return from Pakistan to Britain to be re-united with her children - despite a request from a High Court judge.
The woman is embroiled in family court litigation and claims to have been left stranded in Pakistan as a result of "various tricks and devices" employed by the children's father.
Mrs Justice Theis had asked officials to offer assistance in "facilitating" her return but an official in Islamabad refused entry clearance.
Detail has emerged in a written update on the case by another judge following private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court.
Mr Justice Holman said, in a ruling published on a legal website, that Mrs Justice Theis asked for help in May and the woman had been refused entry in August.
He said it was not his job to say whether decisions were right or wrong.
"It is not for me in these proceedings to express any view whatsoever, nor do I so, as to whether that decision by the entry clearance officer or any other decisions of the Secretary of State by her officials are lawful or unlawful, justifiable or unjustifiable, right or wrong," said Mr Justice Holman.
"It is very firmly established indeed, and is in fact an important constitutional principle, that the High Court in the exercise of its inherent ... jurisdictions in relation to children does not trespass into, or interfere with, the decision-making powers and duties of the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to immigration matters.
"Immigration control is entrusted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department and is the subject, of course, of very detailed regulation by complex statutes and immigration rules."
He added: "The position that now obtains is that, notwithstanding those earlier orders of this court and the opinions and requests contained in them, the Secretary of State appears currently to have reached a firm decision not to permit the mother to enter the United Kingdom. The reasons for that decision are given clearly in the Notice of Immigration Decision made by the entry clearance officer."
Mr Justice Holman said further investigations would be needed into the welfare of the children.
The judge ruled out a "full fact-finding hearing" into the mother's allegations about the father. He said such a hearing was impractical because the mother could not be present and a video-link would be needed.
He said: "It is impractical, because in my experience attempts to have fact-finding hearings by video link or similar connections to Pakistan almost invariably break down with technical failures, and break down and degenerate almost into farce."