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France and Germany Unsafe

Immigration cases do not often reach the House of Lords. A case reported in December 2000, Regina v the Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Adan and others is one such. The case involved in the, perhaps surprising, suggestion that neither France or Germany was a safe country for the Secretary of State to deport asylum seekers to. The House of Lords indicated that in the particular circumstances of these cases, the legal system of neither France and Germany were adequate to protect the individuals in question.

The reasoning is clear (as it often so when many thousands of pounds have been spent to make it so). The Convention rights which protect refugees, gave a right, which was recognised in English law of asylum, where two conditions existed in the country of origin. The first was that the applicant was properly in fear of persecution from non-state agents, and the second requirement is that the government of that particular country afforded no effective protection against such non-state agents.

This combination of circumstances is not universally acknowledged to create a reason for asylum being granted, and in particular, neither France nor Germany accept this combination of circumstances. The applicants in these cases said that an order of the Secretary of State deporting them would be one which returned them to the country where they were immediately before arriving in England, in this case France and Germany. If returned to France or Germany, they would then have to make an application for asylum under te laws applying there. Those applications would, however, fail because neither France or Germany would interpret the Convention in the same way as an English court would. They would lose the right recognised in the British interpretation of the Convention. The House of Lords held, in effect, therefore that the that neither France or Germany afforded a proper protection of the Convention rights of the asylum seekers, and refused to allow them to be returned..

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18 October 2013 414 18 October 2013