All Articles: Refugee Convention
What is the legal definition of a “refugee”?
This week is Refugee Week. On Free Movement we try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way and here we answer the question “what is a refugee?” Before we get to that, we have loads of content about ...15th June 2020
The Refugee Convention: who are refugees and asylum seekers?
This piece is about refugees, asylum seekers, and the Refugee Convention. It outlines who can be a refugee, and how being a refugee and having “refugee status” are two very different things. We also explore the rights and entitlements avai ...5th June 2020
54-day stopover counts as “in transit” for Refugee Convention
In Idahosa v R  EWCA Crim 1953 the Court of Appeal has ruled that an asylum seeker who had stopped over in the United Kingdom for 54 days en route to Canada can rely on the exception to false documents offences available to refugees. The court t ...20th November 2019
Relatives of refugees are not legally refugees after all
The Court of Appeal has held that the UN Refugee Convention should not be interpreted to include an implied type of derivative refugee status for the family members of refugees. As a result, anyone who was granted refugee status under UK law as the fa ...16th October 2019
Tribunal told to think again on exclusion from refugee status of Iraqi military doctor
The First-tier and Upper Tribunals seem to have gone rather badly wrong in the case of MAB (Iraq) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1253, involving an Iraqi doctor who was formerly employed to care for prisoners by Iraqi ...22nd July 2019
Briefing: What does “sufficiency of protection” mean in UK asylum law?
The inelegant phrase “a sufficiency of protection” originates in a now obscure series of tribunal determinations from the 1990s. It was eventually entrenched in law by the House of Lords case of Horvath  AC 489, but the diverse judgm ...20th June 2019
Refugees can lawfully be deprived of status under EU law
The Court of Justice of the European Union has decided in joined cases C‑391/16, C‑77/17 and C‑78/17 M, X and X that recognised refugees who commit serious crimes can be lawfully deprived of their refugee status under EU law and that there is no ...17th May 2019
Refugee to be deported to Somalia after 30 years in UK following robbery conviction
The Court of Appeal has upheld the deportation of a refugee known only as AM who entered the UK in 1987 aged 11. Having grown up and been educated in the UK, AM held several jobs at different times, had been married and had three estranged British chi ...9th May 2019
Are refugees obliged to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach?
There has been considerable fuss made in the last week about a handful of refugees crossing the English Channel to claim asylum here in the UK. Here I’m going to look at the numbers, the wider context, what we know about refugee decision making ...2nd January 2019
Supreme Court delays decision in decades-old refugee resettlement saga
What’s another few months when you’ve been waiting two decades? For the past 20 years, a group of Iraqi and Syrian Kurds have been marooned on a British military base in Cyprus, recognised as refugees but denied settlement in the UK. In R ...31st July 2018
Opening a window into the soul: how to prepare asylum claims based on religion
“I would not open windows into men’s souls,” said Elizabeth I. But that is exactly the task facing those charged with deciding asylum claims based on religion or belief. Is a professed conversion to another religion, or to non-religion, sincere ...20th June 2018
Asylum can be refused for general promotion of terrorism
The Court of Appeal in Youssef v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 933 decided that the appellant was disqualified from refugee status because he had incited terrorist acts in general. There was no requirement for there to ...17th May 2018
Home Office can only grant asylum to claimants in the UK, says Court of Appeal
The case of AB, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 383 has unusual facts, but an unsurprising conclusion: the Home Office cannot grant asylum to someone who is not in the UK. The background is n ...9th March 2018
Appeal judges take firm line on settlement for people committing crimes against humanity
The Court of Appeal in Tanvir Babar v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 329 dealt with the application of Immigration Rule 276B. The court highlighted the tensions between the Home Office policy, the application of the Immigra ...7th March 2018
Court of Appeal: private religious belief does not risk persecution
The difficulty of presenting asylum claims based on religion is well known. Such claims raise difficult evidential problems, which are addressed in this detailed post by Colin Yeo. But AS (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EW ...23rd October 2017
UK unlawfully denies transfer to UK of refugees living for 18 years in Cyprus British Sovereign Base
R (Bashir) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 397 The British Sovereign Base Areas (“SBAs”) are small British-run areas on the Cyprus islands that survived the former colony’s independence. The Home Office has taken the ...6th June 2017
Can a person granted subsidiary protection be transferred under Dublin III?
Case C-36/17: Daher Muse Ahmed v Bundesrepublik Deutschland The EU does not want asylum seekers to ‘shop around’ its Member States. To this end, various Regulations exist to prevent someone who has already claimed asylum in one Member State from s ...1st June 2017
The Lounani case: when can a member of a terrorist group be excluded from refugee status?
C-573/14 Lounani (Grand Chamber, 31st January 2017) A person applying for protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention can be excluded from its provisions under certain circumstances. As the Court of Justice of the European Union explained in B and D ...9th March 2017
Analysis: What does Theresa May’s speech mean for immigrants and refugees?
Yesterday Home Secretary Theresa May gave a speech on immigration and asylum issues at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. It was a nakedly political speech that was clearly intended to appeal to the right wing of the Conservative Party. ...7th October 2015
Channel Tunnel Man: Refugees should not be prosecuted for irregular entry
In the absence of legal means by which to enter countries of sanctuary, refugees resort to the use of irregular means of entry. Some will falsely apply for and obtain a visit or student visa and then apply for asylum once within the UK. Others will u ...11th August 2015
Upper Tribunal finds Somali journalist cannot be expected to change profession to avoid persecution
The Upper Tribunal has found in the case of MSM (journalists; political opinion; risk) Somalia  UKUT 00413 (IAC) [BAILII](with UNHCR intervening) that a Somali journalist would be at risk of persecution if returned to Somalia and that, cruciall ...30th July 2015
Tightening of British citizenship rules not aimed at refugees
James Brokenshire, until the dissolution of Parliament last week the Minister of Immigration [EDIT: I am reliably informed that he is still the Minister – thanks go to Alison Harvey!], has confirmed that the recent tightening of policy on granti ...30th March 2015
Changes to asylum process and procedure
The circumstances in which an asylum claim may be treated as abandoned by an applicant have been extended with effect from 27 February 2015. Statement of Changes HC 1025 has inserted new wording into paragraph 333C of the Immigration Rules so that it ...5th March 2015
Miscarriage of Justice: Wrongly Convicted Asylum Seekers and Trafficked Persons
Recently the Law Society Gazette ran an article by Yewa Holiday, a barrister and a case review manager at the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which highlighted the plight of asylum seekers and refugees wrongly convicted after being advised t ...9th August 2012