Restructuring asylum: Recent trends in United Kingdom asylum law and policy

Colin Harvey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the recent changes in asylum law and policy in the United Kingdom. The latest addition to the law is the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, which continues trends established by the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993. As with a number of other EU Member States, the United Kingdom has turned its attention to the restructuring of its asylum processes in the last decade. This article explores the factors that have contributed to this trend, notably the official explanation of the increase in the number of applications in recent years, and the European Union harmonisation of asylum law and policy. To understand the changes the author suggests that the institutional context must be examined, as well as the legal framework which governs administrative action. A key aspect of refugee protection is thus how the administration in a State translates international norms into practice. The continuing importance of the right to seek asylum is stressed and it is suggested that moves towards more comprehensive solutions, while extremely welcome, must not allow attention to be distracted from analysing the asylum practices of States. In this context, the author argues that United Kingdom law and practice have been marked by deterrence and restriction, and that a modern approach to refugee protection must maintain a constructive interpretation which ' does not permit the deterrence aspects of recent legal changes to 'trump' the primary facilitative purpose of refugee law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-72
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Refugee Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1997

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Restructuring asylum: Recent trends in United Kingdom asylum law and policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this