All Articles: Refugees

The tragedy in the Channel

Yesterday, at least 27 people drowned in the Channel. We do not know exactly how many died yesterday or in recent months because the bodies are sometimes lost. A family of five were reported as drowned in October 2020 but the body of one of the childr ...

25th November 2021 By

Appendix Settlement Protection: indefinite leave to remain for refugees

Appendix Settlement Protection to the Immigration Rules came into force on 6 October 2021. As the name might suggest, it consolidates the rules on settlement for people who have been in the UK on a protection route (i.e. refugee status or humanitarian ...

11th November 2021 By

Double win for refugees seeking backdated benefits

The Court of Session in Scotland and the High Court in England and Wales have both ruled that newly recognised refugees have a right to claim backdated child tax credit. The cases are Adnan, Petitioners [2021] CSOH 63 and R (DK) v Her Majesty’s ...

7th July 2021 By

Should people displaced by climate change be considered refugees?

No matter how devastating may be epidemic, natural disaster or famine, a person fleeing them is not a refugee within the terms of the Convention. A v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1997] HCA 4 (Aus HC) As the High Court of Australia hi ...

18th June 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

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

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

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

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

Should refugees who entered the UK illegally be denied British citizenship on good character grounds?

Back in January, the Home Office updated and expanded its guidance on the “good character” requirement in British citizenship applications. One of the big changes in the guidance is the long overdue recognition of the existence of Article 31 of th ...

13th May 2019 By

Refugee family reunion: a user’s guide

This post is intended for refugees (including those with humanitarian protection), their families and their friends trying to understand the rules on refugee family reunion. The requirements to be met are straightforward and simple for children and s ...

20th March 2019 By

Dublin III family reunion for refugees who have become British citizens

In a newly reported judgment the Upper Tribunal has quashed the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse a request from the Greek government to take charge of the asylum claims of a mother and her three children so they could reunite with the father, ...

21st February 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

Refugee “safe return reviews” needlessly causing anxiety, statistics suggest

About 18 months ago, the Home Office announced that refugees would no longer get indefinite leave to remain automatically after being in the UK for five years. Officials are now supposed to review whether the refugee still needs the protection of the ...

23rd October 2018 By

Tribunal criticises government lawyers for “trench warfare” mentality and “inappropriate” conduct

In one of his final judgments as outgoing President, Mr Justice McCloskey launched a bitter broadside at the conduct of government lawyers in long-running litigation over the entry of refugee children. While the criticism of the solicitors at the Gove ...

9th October 2017 By

Safe return reviews and Home Office policy on settlement for refugees

In March 2017 the Home Office announced a new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a 5 year initial period of Refugee Status. This policy is effective for all existing and future applications for Indefinite Leave t ...

22nd June 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

Supreme Court refuses damages to refugee wrongly prosecuted for illegal entry

Shortly after Christmas in 2009, a young woman from Somalia flew into Stanstead and claimed asylum. She had just turned 18. As later accepted by the Home Office, she had experienced severe depredations in her home country. This included her rape at th ...

26th April 2017 By

Home Office ends policy of automatic settlement for refugees after five years

The Home Office has announced a new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a five year initial period of leave. The policy appears to be effective immediately for all refugee settlement applications, including for re ...

9th March 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

New Home Office API on gay asylum claims: not fit for purpose

The new Asylum Policy Instruction on Sexual Orientation Issues in the Asylum Claim, published last Wednesday, marks an unwelcome retrograde step for the Home Office, which still continues to apply the ‘voluntary discretion test’ to gay asylum clai ...

8th August 2016 By

Solicitors who failed to advise refugee of defence to illegal prosecution referred to SRA

In yet another example of a refugee who was not properly advised on his defence to a prosecution for illegal entry, Shabani, Re [2015] EWCA Crim 1924 (22 July 2015), the Lord Chief Justice has overturned the conviction but this time has also referred ...

14th December 2015 By

Canadian Supreme Court declares unconstitutional criminal offence of assisting refugees

In a very interesting judgment the Canadian Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the criminal offence of organising, inducing, aiding or abetting undocumented entry. The case is R. v. Appulonappa – SCC Cases (Lexus). This post reviews th ...

11th December 2015 By