The Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (‘POAC’) has given judgment in Arumugam and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, allowing an appeal brought by members of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam against the decision of the Home Secretary to refuse their application to remove the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (‘the LTTE’) from the list of organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act in the UK. The appeal was brought on the basis that the LTTE were not “concerned in terrorism” (the statutory test), and their continued proscription was unjustified and disproportionate, in particular because of its adverse impact on the Tamil community.
POAC found in its open judgment that the information presented to the then Home Secretary when he made his decision to maintain the LTTE on the list of proscribed organisations “materially misstated” the conclusions reached by the Proscription Review Group (the expert body whose role it is to assess the threat posed by groups who are considered for proscription under the Terrorism Act 2011). POAC also found that the submission inaccurately summarised the views of JTAC (the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre). POAC considered these to be a “serious concern” and therefore held that the decision to maintain the LTTE on the list of proscribed organisations was flawed.
Before the hearing of the appeal, the Secretary of State conceded that one of the two incidents relied upon in support of the suggestion that LTTE was “concerned in terrorism” had been wrongly attributed to the LTTE. POAC said it was unable to say what the outcome might have been had the Secretary of State not been told that this incident could be attributed to the LTTE, but said this did not provide POAC with a separate basis to allow the appeal. POAC also expressed the view that grounds of review based on alleged errors of fact did not apply in “jurisdictions like POAC and SIAC in which assessments by the Security Service are regularly relied on”.
The judgment is here.
Maya Lester QC, Malcolm Birdling and Jacob Rabinowitz acted for the Appellants, instructed by Bindmans LLP.