Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

The Recognition of Refugees Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the UK: An Overview of Law and Procedure by Allan Briddock


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The article deals with people claiming asylum in the UK on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). Although the UK is a country that respects and actively promotes SOGI rights, the UK does not always provide adequate protection to those who come to the UK in need of refuge. For many years, people persecuted because of their SOGI were not considered a member of a particular social group and were therefore not afforded international protection pursuant to the 1951 Refugee Convention. This began to change in 1999 in the House of Lords decision of Islam and Shah and in 2010 the Supreme Court in HJ (Iran) confirmed the right to refugee status even if the person could avoid persecution by concealing their sexual orientation. However, despite the Supreme Court judgment, considerable obstacles remain.

This article discusses these obstacles—namely, the continued and often unlawful use of the discretion test; that bringing criminal charges due to an individual’s SOGI does not constitute persecution; and elements of the asylum process that frustrate legitimate claims for asylum.

Source: Birkbeck Law Review

Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.