All Articles: Refugees
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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  EWCA Crim 1924 (22 July 2015), the Lord Chief Justice has overturned the conviction but this time has also referred ...14th December 2015
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
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
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
From ABC to DSSH: How to prove that you are a gay refugee?
In an e-mail posting on a practitioners’ discussion group last week, a representative asked the group for details of a psychiatrist in order to prove that the detained client is gay. In follow-up e-mails, it was revealed that the enquiry was prompte ...23rd July 2014
Wrongful convictions of refugees overturned
Refugees fleeing persecution in their home country cannot afford to be scrupulous about the means by which they reach sanctuary in another country. This truism was recognised by the drafters of the Refugee Convention: Article 31 affords refugees prote ...5th August 2013
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