T v Secretary of State for the Home Department: HL 22 May 1996

The applicant for asylum had been involved in an airport bomb attack killing 10 people. Asylum had been refused on the basis that this was a non-political crime. Though the organisation had political objectives, those were only indirectly associated with the bomb attach which was disproportionate to those aims.
Held: The involvement by the applicant in a bomb attack disqualified him from applying for asylum. The use of terrorism denied the possibility of protection for political views. For a crime to be political in nature, there had to be shown a direct relationship between the crime and the political aim. Not all terrorist acts fall outside the protection of the Convention, and not all means of investigating suspected terrorist acts fall outside the protection of the Convention.
Lord Mustill said: ‘although it is easy to assume that the appellant invokes a ‘right of asylum’, no such right exists. Neither under international nor English municipal law does a fugitive have any direct right to insist on being received by a country of refuge. Subject only to qualifications created by statute this country is entirely free to decide, as a matter of executive discretion, what foreigners it allows to remain within its boundaries.’
Lord Lloyd of Berwick said that in a case concerning an international convention it was obviously desirable that decisions in different jurisdictions should, so far as possible, be kept in line with each other.


Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Mustill, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Lloyd of Berwick


Times 23-May-1996, [1996] AC 742, [1996] Imm AR 443, [1996] 2 WLR 766, [1996] 2 All ER 865, [1996] UKHL 8




Geneva Convention 1951 33


England and Wales


Appeal fromT v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 9-Nov-1994
Random violence without a causal connection with any political purpose was not a political crime. . .
ConsideredRegina v Governor of Pentonville Prison ex parte Cheng HL 16-Apr-1973
Lord Diplock traced the history of the political offence exception to offences requiring extradition, and emphasised the need for a connection between the impugned conduct and changes to government or government policy: ‘My Lords, the noun that is . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Sivakumar HL 20-Mar-2003
The appellant sought asylum. He had fled Sri Lanka. He was a Tamil and feared torture if he returned. His application had been rejected because the consequences flowed from his suspected involvement in terrorism, and that was not a Convention . .
CitedRegina v Immigration Officer at Prague Airport and another, ex parte European Roma Rights Centre and others HL 9-Dec-2004
Extension oh Human Rights Beyond Borders
The appellants complained that the system set up by the respondent where Home Office officers were placed in Prague airport to pre-vet applicants for asylum from Romania were dsicriminatory in that substantially more gypsies were refused entry than . .
CitedSidhu and Others v British Airways Plc; Abnett (Known as Sykes) v Same HL 13-Dec-1996
The claimants had been air passengers who were unlawfully detained in Kuwait, when their plane was captured whilst on the ground on the invasion of Kuwait. They sought damages for that detention.
Held: There are no exceptions to the Warsaw . .
CitedST Eritrea, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 21-Mar-2012
The Tribunal had confirmed the appellant’s refugee status, but the respondent had ordered nevertheless that she be returned. The judge’s order setting aside that decision had been overturned in the Court of Appeal.
Held: The claimant’s appeal . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Immigration, Human Rights

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.89678