Vilvarajah and Others v The United Kingdom: ECHR 30 Oct 1991

Five Tamils were refused asylum in the UK and returned to Sri Lanka but then continued to suffer ill-treatment. Their complaints to Strasbourg were rejected under both Articles 3 and 13, but with regard to Article 3, it held: ‘108. The court’s examination of the existence of a risk of ill-treatment in breach of Article 3 at the relevant time must necessarily be a rigorous one in view of the absolute character of this provision and the fact that it enshrines one of the fundamental values of a democratic society making up the Council of Europe.’ As to Article 13 the court concluded: ‘125. It is not in dispute that the English courts are able in asylum cases to review the Secretary of State’s refusal to grant asylum with reference to the same principles of judicial review as considered in the Soering case and to quash a decision in similar circumstances and that they have done so in decided cases. Indeed the courts have stressed their special responsibility to subject administrative decisions in this area to the most anxious scrutiny where an applicant’s life or liberty may be at risk. Moreover, the practice is that an asylum seeker will not be removed from the U.K. until proceedings are complete once he has obtained leave to apply for judicial review. 126. While it is true that there are limitations on the powers of the courts in judicial review proceedings the Court is of the opinion that these powers, exercisable as they are by the highest tribunals in the land, do provide an effective degree of control over the decisions of the administrative authorities in asylum cases and are sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Article 13.’
ECHR Judgment (Merits) – No violation of Art. 3; No violation of Art. 13.


13163/87, 13164/87, (1991) 14 EHRR 248, [1991] ECHR 47, 13165/87


Worldlii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights


AppliedCruz Varas And Others v Sweden ECHR 20-Mar-1991
Hudoc No violation of Art. 3; No violation of Art. 8; No violation of Art. 25-1 ‘Although the present case concerns expulsion as opposed to a decision to extradite, the Court considers that the above [Soering] . .
Appeal fromVilvarajah and Another v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 26-Oct-1987
. .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte Turgut CA 28-Jan-2000
When the Court of Appeal was asked to look at the decision of the Home Secretary on an appeal to him for asylum, the court should investigate the factual circumstances which lay behind the decision. The court must follow the practice of the European . .
CitedRegina v Special Adjudicator ex parte Ullah; Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 17-Jun-2004
The applicants had had their requests for asylum refused. They complained that if they were removed from the UK, their article 3 rights would be infringed. If they were returned to Pakistan or Vietnam they would be persecuted for their religious . .
CitedBagdanavicius and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v HL 26-May-2005
The claimants said they had been subjected to harassment and violence from non-state agents in their home country of Lithuania, and sought asylum.
Held: It was for the person claiming the protection of the Convention provisions for . .
CitedKeegan v United Kingdom ECHR 18-Jul-2006
The claimant had been the subject of a raid by armed police on his home. The raid was a mistake. He complained that the English legal system, in rejecting his claim had not allowed him to assert that the police action had been disproportionate.
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v Nasseri HL 6-May-2009
The applicant had claimed asylum after fleeing Afghanistan to Greece and then to the UK. On the failure of his application, he would be returned to Greece, but objected that he would thence be returned to Afghanistan where his human rights would be . .
CitedEM (Eritrea), Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 19-Feb-2014
SSHD must examine safety of country for return
The Court was asked: ‘Is an asylum seeker or refugee who resists his or her return from the United Kingdom to Italy (the country in which she or he first sought or was granted asylum) required to establish that there are in Italy ‘systemic . .
CitedTN, MA and AA (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 24-Jun-2015
The appellants, children from Afghanistan whose asylum claims had been rejected, challenged the sufficiency of the appellate process, and the respondents obligations for family tracing.
Held: The appeals failed. An applicant could not claim, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Immigration

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.165139