All Articles: Asylum

Why sticking to the Refugee Convention still matters

When someone says that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, what they really mean is that other countries should look after refugees. They want others to do what they would not do themselves. Their words are really addres ...

1st April 2021 By

Comment: latest asylum plan won’t have the impact its supporters or opponents think

There is a lot that is familiar in the New Plan for Immigration. The government argues that its proposals are “firm but fair”, language eerily reminiscent of a 1998 Blair-era white paper entitled Fairer, Faster and Firmer. One thing that i ...

25th March 2021 By

A first look at the “New Plan for Immigration”

Today the Home Office published a new plan for immigration with the title, somehow both grandiloquent and banal, New Plan for Immigration. It is mainly concerned with asylum and people who enter the UK illegally (those two concepts being subtly mashed ...

24th March 2021 By

What is actually going on at the Home Office? A guide for journalists

We’ve seen a constant drip of leaks about the UK’s “broken” asylum system and how the upcoming Borders Bill or Sovereign Borders Bill or New Plan For Immigration or whatever it’s called will be the “biggest overhaul ...

23rd March 2021 By

Supreme Court reiterates that a refugee cannot be removed until claim is assessed

The Supreme Court has reiterated that — for now — UK law prohibits removal of a person “who can be understood to seek refugee status” and who has an outstanding asylum claim or appeal. The case is G v G [2021] UKSC 9 and invol ...

19th March 2021 By

Does the policy of deterring asylum seekers actually work?

With a recent inspection revealing the squalor in which refugees are housed when they reach the United Kingdom, the ensuing closure of Penally barracks but the continued operation of Napier, and yet more deterrent policies being trailed this morning, ...

18th March 2021 By

Asylum support during the pandemic: the year in review

Barred from working and mainstream benefits, for many in the asylum system their only option for money and shelter is by requesting support from the Home Office. A year into the pandemic, the asylum support system has seen significant changes. This ar ...

16th March 2021 By

The problem with “credibility” as a concept in asylum cases

Whether or not a person is telling the truth about past events often becomes the central issue in many asylum claims. Sometimes this is appropriate. The question of whether an asylum seeker will face a real risk of being persecuted in future does in s ...

10th March 2021 By

Witness to state murder gets second chance to argue for asylum

In CM v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] CSIH 15, the Inner House overturned previous findings that a person who witnessed a state murder in their home country was not in danger because they had not (and would not) report the matter t ...

9th March 2021 By

This is what it’s like to be a lawyer working for stateless people in the UK

When I first stepped into the field of statelessness as a practitioner, I expected it to be complex. With a background in asylum and anti-trafficking casework, I was familiar with nationality disputes and the challenges facing those affected. But I di ...

4th March 2021 By

Eviction of failed asylum seeker a breach of human rights

The Home Office breached the human rights of a refused asylum seeker by evicting him while his eighth attempt to reopen his asylum claim was still pending, the High Court of Northern Ireland has found. The case is Re Omar Mahmud (unreported, FRI3390). ...

25th February 2021 By

Upper Tribunal guidance on credible documentary evidence

The Upper Tribunal in QC (verification of documents; Mibanga duty) China [2021] UKUT 33 (IAC) has given useful guidance on how to approach documentary evidence submitted by asylum appellants.  The tribunal has also clarified the circumstances in whic ...

23rd February 2021 By

Briefing: how Brexit leaves refugee families stranded in Greece

Since 1 January 2021 people seeking asylum in Europe, be they adults or children, have been far less likely to reunite with their family in the UK. A vital legal route has been closed, as the Brexit transition period has come to end and the Dublin III ...

11th February 2021 By

High Court judge threatens Priti Patel with contempt of court proceedings

A High Court judge has raised the prospect of contempt of court proceedings against the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, after her department breached a mandatory injunction. Mr Justice Chamberlain made the ominous comments in the case of Mohammad v Secre ...

10th February 2021 By

Government unlawfully denied refugee status to Egyptian dissident on national security grounds

In the latest round of the legal saga involving Egyptian dissident Yasser Al-Siri, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the Home Office acted unlawfully in only granting him restricted leave to remain after an earlier First-tier Tribunal decision that h ...

9th February 2021 By

Court of Justice decision on cessation of protection for Somali refugees

In the case of C-255/19 Secretary of State for the Home Department v OA, the Court of Justice of the European Union held (at paragraph 64) that: 1. Article 11(1)(e) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualific ...

2nd February 2021 By

Home Office can make exceptions to rules stopping asylum seekers working

The Upper Tribunal has declared the government’s strict policy on asylum seekers working to be unlawful insofar as it doesn’t mention that exceptions can be made. The case is R (C6) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (JR/1414/202 ...

20th January 2021 By

Suicidal refugee loses date of birth appeal

A Palestinian refugee threatening to take his own life in a dispute over the age recorded on his residence permit has lost a judicial review at the Court of Appeal. The case is (WA (Palestinian Territories)) v Secretary of State for the Home Departmen ...

15th January 2021 By

Court of Appeal rejects lowering threshold for denying refugee status to extremists

How serious must a person’s “extremism” be to justify exclusion from the Refugee Convention? Three years ago, the Court of Appeal in Youssef & N2 v Secretary of State for the Home Department lowered the bar for exclusion from the Co ...

14th January 2021 By

Briefing: new UK approach to refugees and safe third countries

The government has introduced important new rules on the handling of claims for asylum with effect from 1 January 2021. Guidance for Home Office asylum caseworkers was published the day before, on 31 December, fleshing out some of the operational deta ...

11th January 2021 By

Important Court of Appeal judgment on expert evidence and “credibility”

The Court of Appeal has handed down a major judgment on the correct approach to assessing whether a person is a victim of trafficking: MN v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1746. Although this was the central question in the ...

4th January 2021 By

Asylum right to work policy unlawfully overlooks trafficking victims

Home Office policy on permission to work for asylum seekers is unlawful to the extent that it doesn’t make allowances for potential victims of human trafficking, the High Court held today. The policy will now have to be reworked to make clear th ...

18th December 2020 By

New research: 34 ways to improve asylum appeals

Much has changed about the way asylum appeals in the First-tier Tribunal operate this year. But research spanning 2013 to 2019 indicates that a reliably fair and effective asylum appeal system was some way off even before the pandemic hit. Today the U ...

17th December 2020 By

Gay hairdressers can safely relocate in Algeria, Court of Appeal holds

On 14 December 2020, the Court of Appeal in YD (Algeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1683 dismissed the asylum and human rights appeal of a young gay man from Algeria. Facts of the case YD had arrived in the UK aged 15 ...

17th December 2020 By

Expert report finds room for improvement in UK’s statelessness system

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has today released a new report auditing the Home Office’s procedure for deciding statelessness applications. The audit finds that there is considerable room for improvement in how the UK processes applicati ...

16th December 2020 By

High Court finally calls time on asylum accommodation delays

Everyone who works with asylum seekers knows that the Home Office system for providing accommodation is not fit for purpose. In R (DMA and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 3416 (Admin) the High Court has finally and emp ...

15th December 2020 By

New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1043

On 10 December 2020 the Home Office published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules that appears to be a flagrant breach of the UN Refugee Convention. The purpose of the main change is to: Enhance our capacity to treat as inadmissible to the ...

11th December 2020 By

Want to fix the “broken” asylum system? Start with country of origin info, inspector tells Patel

The UK’s official guidance on the human rights situation in countries producing asylum seekers is too often out of date and should be better resourced, the immigration inspector has found. David Bolt suggests that if the Home Secretary is seriou ...

8th December 2020 By

Major Upper Tribunal judgment on draft evaders and Ukraine

The Upper Tribunal has handed down a new country guidance decision on draft evaders from Ukraine, PK and OS (basic rules of human conduct) Ukraine CG [2020] UKUT 314 (IAC). The judgment contains important guidance on the relationship between the Refug ...

7th December 2020 By

Non-binary identity can form basis of asylum claim, Upper Tribunal finds

A non-binary gender identity can form the basis of an asylum claim, the Upper Tribunal has expressly confirmed for the first time. The case is Mx M (gender identity – HJ (Iran) – terminology) El Salvador [2020] UKUT 313 (IAC). Background t ...

24th November 2020 By

Trump’s State Department dropped key human rights issues from asylum reports

Reports by the US Department of State on the human rights situation in different countries are heavily relied upon throughout the world in the assessment of asylum claims. Asylum Research Centre’s (ARC) new research identifies serious omissions and ...

24th November 2020 By

Deporting gay asylum seeker a violation of Article 3, human rights court finds

In B & C v Switzerland (application no. 43987/16 and 889/19) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously held that the deportation of asylum seekers to countries where they risk persecution for their sexual orientation would violate the Art ...

19th November 2020 By

Human trafficking: High Court orders emergency fix to asylum screening interviews

The High Court has ordered the Home Office to interview asylum seekers properly and remind its caseworkers about the correct legal test for kicking off an investigation into human trafficking. Mr Justice Fordham granted the interim relief, or temporar ...

17th November 2020 By

“High risk” of coronavirus outbreak at Penally asylum camp

There is a high risk of a coronavirus outbreak at a military camp being used to house asylum seekers, local health authorities say. Hywel Dda University Health Board blames “inadequate facilities provided by the Home Office” at the Penally ...

11th November 2020 By
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