Thursday, October 30, 2014
Immigration Article of the Day: International Aspects of Asylum Law in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom by Emily MacKenzie
International Aspects of Asylum Law in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom by Emily MacKenzie Date: October 29, 2014
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (Supreme Court) recently decided two cases that demonstrate the challenges courts face when applying asylum law domestically within the general framework of international refugee law. The Supreme Court’s application of complicated principles to difficult facts will ensure that these cases provide important guidance on respective competences, the use of evidence, and the rule of law to international decision-making bodies in the field of international refugee law, as well as other domestic decision makers.
The first case, I.A. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department decided on January 29, 2014, concerned the weight to be given to an earlier grant of refugee status by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to a person later applying for asylum in a state party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The U.K. is a party to this Convention, which is the key legal document that defines refugees, their rights, and the legal obligations of states toward them.
The second case, R (on the application of EM (Eritrea)) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, decided on February 19, 2014, concerned whether an asylum seeker is required to show that there are “systemic” deficiencies in asylum protection in order not to be returned to a country otherwise deemed safe.
This Insight discusses the points of law raised by each case before briefly pulling together some international themes that emerge from this latest case law from the Supreme Court in the area of asylum.