All Articles: Refugee Convention

Analysis: the Borders Bill and the Refugee Convention

Under the sub-heading “Interpretation of Refugee Convention“, clauses 27-35 of the Nationality and Borders Bill 2021 seek to accomplish four main tasks: Translate some EU asylum law, currently residing in secondary legislation, into primar ...

16th July 2021 By

Book review: The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, edited by Costello, Foster and McAdam

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law, edited by Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster and Jane McAdam and published in June 2021, is a massive book in every sense. Some five years in the making, running to 1,258 pages, consisting of 65 chapter ...

15th July 2021 By

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 2021 By

“Hand on the tiller” prosecution for assisting unlawful immigration fails

Fouad Kakaei is an Iranian man who helped steer small boats carrying asylum seekers across the English Channel on two separate occasions, in July and December 2019. He also attempted to cross on several other occasions. Following the July 2019 crossin ...

14th May 2021 By

Book review: The Rights of Refugees Under International Law by James Hathaway

The second edition of Professor James Hathaway’s The Rights of Refugees Under International Law, to be published on 22 April 2021, is incredibly well-timed. Our government here in the United Kingdom is proposing “off-shore processing” ...

15th April 2021 By

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

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

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

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

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

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 By

54-day stopover counts as “in transit” for Refugee Convention

In Idahosa v R [2019] 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 By

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 By

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 [2019] EWCA Civ 1253, involving an Iraqi doctor who was formerly employed to care for prisoners by Iraqi ...

22nd July 2019 By

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 [2001] AC 489, but the diverse judgm ...

20th June 2019 By

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 By

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 By

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 By

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 By

Opening a window into the soul: asylum claims based on religion and belief

“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 By

Asylum can be refused for general promotion of terrorism

The Court of Appeal in Youssef v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 933 has decided that the appellant was disqualified from refugee status because he had incited terrorist acts in general. There was no requirement for there ...

17th May 2018 By

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 [2018] 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 By

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 [2018] 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 By

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 [2017] EW ...

23rd October 2017 By

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 [2017] 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 By

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 By

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 By

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 By

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 By

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 [2015] 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 By

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 By

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 By

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 By