All Articles: Refugee Convention

Over and over again we hear that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country the reach. There are variations on the theme. Genuine refugees claim asylum in the first safe country. Refugees should or even must claim asylum in the first safe country. The asylum seekers coming to...

20th June 2024
BY Colin Yeo

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 available to refugees and to asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of...

19th June 2024
BY Larry Lock

Lawyers do not own the word “refugee”. The term has been in use since the eighteenth century and has its own evocative, wider meaning in the public consciousness. Those fleeing Ukraine or relocating to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong can validly be referred to as “refugees”, for example, even...

17th June 2024
BY colinyeo

On 13 March 2024, in AUS v R [2024] EWCA Crim 322, the Court of Appeal quashed the 2010 conviction of a Somali citizen who was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for possession of a false identity document, contrary to s25(1) of the Identity Cards Act 2006. The applicant was...

9th April 2024
BY Colin Gregory

The short answer is “yes, criminals can be denied refugee status.” There is a moral dimension to the Refugee Convention. But the criminal offence or offending must be particularly serious in nature. The offending or behaviour must be serious in nature because denying refugee status to a person and sending...

2nd February 2024
BY Colin Yeo

The Court of Justice of the European Union has concluded that women who experience gender-based violence in their country of origin can be regarded as belonging to a ‘particular social group’ and qualify for refugee status. This is as a result of a preliminary reference made to the Court by...

26th January 2024
BY Jasmine Quiller-Doust

Immigration lawyers tend to have a good grasp of the definition of a refugee. We can confidently recite the “well-founded fear” definition at Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees (the “Refugee Convention”) which, if met, can lead our clients to a grant of refugee status....

16th November 2023
BY Jasmine Quiller-Doust

The Supreme Court has today held that Rwanda is not a safe country and that it would be unlawful for refugees to be removed there. The government’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment has been dismissed. Lord Reed, giving the court’s judgment, emphasised the non-political nature of the court’s...

15th November 2023
BY Colin Yeo

Will the Illegal Migration Bill breach the 1951 Refugee Convention, a global treaty to which the UK is party? The key point of contention in relation to this question is the Bill’s imposition of a blanket duty on the Home Office to remove to a “safe third country” non-nationals who...

3rd April 2023
BY David Cantor

One of the changes to immigration law made by the government in response to the sharp increase in small boat crossings was the creation of a ten year route to settlement for refugees. This followed the commencement of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, although the change was wrought by an...

9th February 2023
BY Colin Yeo

The High Court has concluded in the case of AAA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 3230 (Admin) that the UK government’s Rwanda plan is lawful. The individual decisions in the case were inadequate and will need to be re-made, but that is no...

19th December 2022
BY Colin Yeo

It has been reported that thousands of Russian men are fleeing their country in order to avoid being conscripted into the army. Miles long queues of cars have built up at the border into Georgia. This comes on top of the tens of thousands of young Russians and intellectuals who...

27th September 2022
BY Colin Yeo

Asylum lawyers like me tend to focus on just one clause of the Refugee Convention: the definition of a refugee. This is the gateway to formal recognition as a refugee and is therefore of vital importance to any person seeking asylum. From this definition, set out at Article 1A(2) of...

22nd June 2022
BY Colin Yeo

In C-349/20 NB and AB v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Court of Justice of the European Union has again addressed the question of when Palestinian refugees are entitled to refugee status under EU law. This is the fourth major judgment on this issue we have seen...

6th May 2022
BY Grace Capel

My textbook on refugee law, imaginatively entitled Refugee Law, is published today. It is aimed principally at undergraduate and graduate students on refugee law courses, or related courses where students need to learn about refugee law and the protection of refugees. It will also be useful to lawyers and advisers...

26th April 2022
BY Colin Yeo

With all the talk of “bespoke” humanitarian schemes, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s refusal to use the word “refugee” and the rejection of the international system for the protection of refugees we see in the Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament, you would be forgiven for thinking the Refugee Convention...

8th March 2022
BY Colin Yeo

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 primary legislation. Turn back the clock on core principles of asylum law in relation to the identification...

16th July 2021
BY Rudolph Spurling

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 chapters, all by different authors (and sometimes multiple authors),...

15th July 2021
BY Colin Yeo

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 crossing, he did not claim asylum here in the UK...

14th May 2021
BY Colin Yeo

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” of asylum claims — if an agreement can be reached with some other country to...

15th April 2021
BY Colin Yeo

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 addressed to the countries through which the refugee...

1st April 2021
BY Colin Yeo

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 involved a child whose mother was...

19th March 2021
BY Colin Yeo

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 Convention’s protection by disqualifying an asylum seeker for “general” promotion...

14th January 2021
BY Larry Lock

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 work at a notorious torture facility who entered the UK as long...

16th September 2020
BY Colin Yeo

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 recognises for the first time in UK asylum law that a...

27th July 2020
BY Laura Smith

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 took a purposive...

20th November 2019
BY Alex Schymyck

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 family member of a recognised refugee...

16th October 2019
BY Alex Schymyck

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 military intelligence. The Court of...

22nd July 2019
BY Colin Yeo

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 judgments of their Lordships combined with the inherent tensions in the...

20th June 2019
BY Colin Yeo

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 incompatibility on this issue between EU...

17th May 2019
BY Colin Yeo

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 children. He also...

9th May 2019
BY Colin Yeo

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 (Tag Eldin Ramadan Bashir and others) v...

31st July 2018
BY CJ McKinney

“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 or sham? In a society where free expression of faith...

20th June 2018
BY Colin Yeo

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 to be a link between his incitement and...

17th May 2018
BY Paul Erdunast

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 not really important but...

9th March 2018
BY Nath Gbikpi

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 Immigration Rule and the weight that needs to be...

7th March 2018
BY Sairah Javed

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] EWCA Civ 1539 seems to pose a novel difficulty: should...

23rd October 2017
BY tombeamo

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 position for a number of years that the Refugee Convention...

6th June 2017
BY Thomas Beamont

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 subsequently doing so in another. But what if an applicant...

1st June 2017
BY Thomas Beamont

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 in 2010, these circumstances include those guilty of committing terrorist...

9th March 2017
BY Thomas Beamont
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