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JS (Uganda)

25/10/2019

The leading Court of Appeal authority concerning the meaning of “refugee” in the 1951 Refugee Convention and the circumstances in which refugee status may be withdrawn on the grounds that the reasons for the initial grant of asylum no longer endure.

The case concerned, in particular, the nature and scope of the obligations owed to individuals who have been recognised as refugees on the basis of their family relationship with a person who has already been granted asylum in the UK, rather than any individualised fear of persecution in their home country.

Nicholas Chapman was instructed by the Home Secretary at the appeal stage.  Following a two-day hearing, the Court of Appeal (Underhill V-P, Newey and Haddon-Cave LJJ) allowed the Home Secretary’s appeal and dismissed JS’s linked appeal.

The Court of Appeal held that the term “refugee” in the Convention has a single autonomous meaning independent of the differing interpretations of the contracting states; and that the Convention’s cessation clause was to be construed widely, involving consideration of material changes to both relationship and risk.

The judgment can be viewed here.

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