Brave New World: The Shifting Treatment of Asylum Seekers under UK Law

In recent years, issues relating to immigration and asylum have rarely been far from the headlines in the UK.

This lecture explores recent legislative enactments including the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 and the Illegal Migration Act 2023, as well as forthcoming legislation such as Safety of Rwanda (Immigration and Asylum) Bill, in terms of their implications for refugees and asylum seekers attempting to access protection in the UK.

In particular, the lecture explores whether and to what extent these enactments are compatible with the UK's international obligations under the Refugee Convention, The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Rights, Customary International Law. and UN frameworks such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, before going to explore the broader political and legal context within which these enactments have been passed.

This exploration of the broader context includes an exploration of the risks these enactments, as well as executive actions undertaken by the UK government, pose for constitutional norms such as the Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers.

The lecture then concludes by arguing that the approach adopted by the UK government constitutes a fundamental shift away from the conception of the refugee envisaged by the refugee convention towards a far more nebulous idea of protection premised on states of national crisis.

The lecture will be given by Dr Alex Powell, Principal Lecturer in Law and Steering Group member of MRN. This talk is part of the annual Dialogue in Migration and Refugee Studies organised by MRN and is free and open to all to attend.

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Migration and Refugees Research Network