All Articles: Asylum

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 (WA (Palestinian Territories)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [ ...

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

Strasbourg: removal of asylum seeker despite court order breached Article 3

The European Court of Human Rights has held unanimously that the removal of a Sudanese man by the Belgian authorities – in breach of a court order – violated his rights under Article 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case i ...

3rd November 2020 By

Judge orders asylum seeker with baby rehoused, describes government attitude as “chilling”

Immigration lawyers develop thick skins. It’s easy to see why – a quick scan of the political landscape tells you what we have to deal with day in, day out! Nevertheless, there are some still cases where the Home Office’s arguments are so outrag ...

19th October 2020 By

Albanian asylum claims: making a difference 

All asylum seekers, including children and young people, find that the starting point for any official making a decision in their case is to doubt their narratives and subject them to disbelief and incredulity. Even in this climate of disbelief, Alban ...

7th October 2020 By

Home Secretary party conference speech on asylum – full text

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, delivered a keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday. Around half the speech was given over to what she repeatedly called the UK’s “broken” asylum system. I thought a transcript w ...

5th October 2020 By

Court of Appeal backs judge who ordered asylum seeker brought back to the UK

The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by the Home Office to overturn a High Court order to bring an asylum seeker who had been removed under the unlawful Detained Fast Track system back to the UK. The case is R (PN (Uganda)) v Secretary of State ...

29th September 2020 By

Asylum outsourced: private firms to carry out asylum seeker interviews

The Home Office is planning to outsource asylum interviews to commercial contractors. A pilot programme designed to address the mounting backlog of asylum claims will see private outsourcing firms conduct interviews with often vulnerable asylum seeker ...

23rd September 2020 By

Tribunal says no general risk to Nuba in Sudan

KAM (Nuba – return) Sudan CG [2020] UKUT 269 (IAC) is the first country guidance decision about the risk to the Nuba people on return to Sudan. The Upper Tribunal’s main finding is that there is no general risk to Nuba in either their home ...

22nd September 2020 By

When can refugee children be returned to their home country under the Hague Convention?

In the case of G (A Child : Child Abduction) [2020] EWCA Civ 1185, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that, where a child has been granted refugee status in their own right, or has their own pending asylum claim, they cannot be returned under the Hague ...

18th September 2020 By

Iraqi military doctor wins refugee exclusion appeal

The extremely long-running case of AB (preserved FtT findings; Wisniewski principles) Iraq [2020] UKUT 268 (IAC) has finally been allowed outright, subject to any further appeal from the Secretary of State. The appellant, an Iraqi doctor employed to w ...

16th September 2020 By

Channel boat people are refugees, Home Office officials confirm

Migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats are overwhelmingly genuine refugees, senior Home Office officials have confirmed. Evidence presented to the Home Affairs committee of MPs on 3 September makes clear that the majority of those making ...

4th September 2020 By

I stopped two unlawful removals last week – how does that make me an “activist lawyer”?

On 26 August 2020 at 7:45, a flight chartered by the Home Office took off from Stansted airport, heading for France via Dusseldorf. The passengers were asylum seekers from countries such as Iran, Sudan and Yemen. A similar flight took off two weeks be ...

1st September 2020 By

Briefing: the support system for migrant victims of human trafficking

When the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced, it was heralded by the government as a momentous piece of legislation which would “give protection to the victims who need it”. The Act introduced a reformed system for identifying, supporting and p ...

24th August 2020 By

Refugee rights under threat from Channel boats hysteria – and Brexit

Human beings crossing the English Channel are making headlines again. The number of people who reach the UK via this extremely difficult, dangerous but lawful route is minuscule, and the total number claiming international protection here insignifican ...

12th August 2020 By

Court of Appeal backs order to disclose refugee asylum records

The Court of Appeal has backed a High Court decision that a mother and child’s asylum records must be disclosed in family proceedings. In H (A Child) (Disclosure of Asylum Documents) [2020] EWCA Civ 1001, the court rejected arguments that the family ...

6th August 2020 By

Landmark decision on “particular social group”

DH (Particular Social Group: Mental Health) Afghanistan [2020] UKUT 223 (IAC) is an important case for numerous reasons. It affirms the supremacy of the Refugee Convention 1951 over EU law by reference to the Convention’s object and purpose; it ...

27th July 2020 By

Can Hong Kong activists get political asylum in the UK?

Simon Cheng, a former British consulate worker in Hong Kong, was allegedly abducted by the Chinese authorities during a trip to mainland China and tortured for fifteen days in August 2019. His account is terrifying. Cheng was a vocal supporter of the ...

15th July 2020 By

Judge orders Home Office to bring asylum seeker back to the UK

The President of the Upper Tribunal, Mr Justice Lane, has ordered the Home Office to pay for and facilitate the return to the UK of a man who was removed to Nigeria in March 2018. The judgment is R (L) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [202 ...

13th July 2020 By

Asylum, sexuality and concealment: where are we a decade on from HJ (Iran)?

On 7 July 2010, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in HJ (Iran) [2010] UKSC 31, in which it established how asylum applications are to be decided when applicants flee persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation. The ruling e ...

7th July 2020 By
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