Court of Appeal concludes that refugee’s relatives are not refugees themselves

The Court of Appeal ruled that the UN Refugee Convention should not apply to members of a refugee family. As a result, anyone who has received refugee status in accordance with UK law, as a member of a recognized refugee's family, is not covered by the Refugee Convention.

In fact, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Office was mistaken in granting refugee status to members of a genuine refugee family.

Refugee family member convicted of crime

Secretary of State v. J.S. (Uganda) [2019] EWCA Civ 1670 concerned a Ugandan citizen who was admitted to the United Kingdom to reunite with his mother. At that time, she was already recognized as a refugee under the Refugee Convention.

J.S. was allowed to remain in the United Kingdom, apparently on the grounds that he was also a refugee. However, no investigation into his personal circumstances has ever been conducted to determine whether he himself was at risk of persecution in Uganda.

J.S. was convicted of a serious felony, and Home Office decided to extradite him. At that time, officials still believed that J.S. was a refugee under the Refugee Convention. Therefore, they proposed annulment of his refugee status, as he was convicted of a serious crime.

In the Court of Appeal, the Home Office changed its position, arguing that J.S. never received refugee status in the first place.

Posted on Oct 15, 2019.

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