The Convention gave protection to an asylum seeker fearing persecution by non-state agents in his country of origin where that government was unable or unwilling to provide protection. France and Germany did not recognise this right, and therefore an asylum seeker returned to those countries would in turn face return to his country of origin. Accordingly neither France and Germany was a safe country for return in these circumstances. There can be only one correct interpretation of the treaty, and cases of dispute, should be dealt with by the International Court of Justice under article 38. In the absence of such a decision, national courts must make their decisions, but do so untrammelled by national legal culture. No criticism was intended of interpretations adopted in good faith by Germany and by France.
Lord Slynn observed that an international treaty has only one meaning. The courts: ‘cannot simply adopt a list of permissible or legitimate or possible or reasonable meanings and accept that any one of those when applied would be in compliance with the Convention.’
Times 20-Dec-2000, Gazette 25-Jan-2001,  1 All ER 593,  2 WLR 143,  UKHL 67,  2 AC 477
House of Lords, House of Lords, Bailii
Geneva Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 (1951) (Cmd 9171)
England and Wales
See Also – Adan v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 6-Apr-1998
A fear of persecution which was justified only historically, was insufficient to justify an asylum claim. The applicant must show justification for contemporary fears. The applicant had been granted exceptional leave to remain in the UK, but wanted . .
Cited – Mohammad, Manoharan, Sakhee, Yogarajah v The Secretary of State for the Home Department QBD 24-Jan-2002
The applicants were asylum seekers. They were made subject to certificates issued by the Secretary of State which would require refoulement, for them to be returned to the country into which they first made their escape for their application for . .
Cited – Sepet and Bulbil v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 20-Mar-2003
The appellants sought asylum. They were Kurdish pacifists, and claimed that they would be forced into the armed forces on pain of imprisonment if they were returned to Turkey.
Held: The concept of ‘persecution’ was central. It is necessary to . .
Cited – Hoxha and Another v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 10-Mar-2005
The claimants sought to maintain their claims for asylum. They had fled persecution, but before their claims for asylum were determined conditions in their home country changed so that they could no longer be said to have a well founded fear of . .
Cited – HC v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 20-Jul-2005
The applicant challenged refusal of his asylum application saying that the court had failed to take account of the fact that as a homosexual moslem, he would face persecution if returned home.
Held: The IAT had not properly recognised that at . .
Cited – Regina (Nadarajah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 2-Dec-2002
The Claimant was a Tamil from Sri Lanka claiming asylum. He was married in 1991; his wife was also Tamil. In 1995 his claim for asylum in Germany failed. What then happened was disputed. The Claimant said that he voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka, . .
Cited – Regina (Nadarajah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Abdi v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 22-Nov-2005
The asylum applicant challenged a certificate given by the respondent that the claim for asylum was manifestly ill-founded. The respondent had made a mistake in applying the appropriate policy, but had sought to correct the error. The claimants . .
Cited – In re D (A Child), (Abduction: Rights of Custody) HL 16-Nov-2006
The child had been born to parents who married and later divorced in Romania. The mother brought him to England without the father’s consent, and now appealed an order for his return.
Held: The mother’s appeal succeeded. The Convention . .
Cited – Secretary of State for the Home Department v K, Fornah v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 18-Oct-2006
The claimants sought asylum, fearing persecution as members of a social group. The fear of persecution had been found to be well founded, but that persecution was seen not to arise from membership of a particular social group.
Held: The . .
Cited – Reyes v Al-Malki and Another SC 18-Oct-2017
The claimant alleged that she had been discrimated against in her work for the appellant, a member of the diplomatic staff at the Saudi Embassy in London. She now appealed against a decision that the respondent had diplomatic immunity.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 October 2021; Ref: scu.87923