Social security for asylum seekers in the United Kingdom

Country: United Kingdom
Body: Other Domestic Courts
Case: Regina v. Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Adam and Others
Case number: UKHL 66
Year of judgement: 2005
PDF of decision

In this case, the House of Lords listened to appeals by the Secretary of State for Home Department, who denied state support to destitute asylum applicants (“applicants”) on the grounds of not having applied for asylum “as soon as reasonably practicable”. The applicants cited a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe, which relates to protection against inhuman treatment or punishment. The applicants’ claims had been upheld in earlier judicial review proceedings. The House of Lords followed these decisions and dismissed the appeals by the Secretary of State pointing out that he or she had no right to “wait and see” if the asylum seekers became so poor that Article 3 became applicable to them. The House also observed that the earlier court decisions were reiterating the will of Parliament, which granted support to the extent necessary to avoid the violation of the rights under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Related Principles

Standards of Accessibility, Adaptability and Acceptability

The principle of equality and non-discrimination requires States to ensure that social protection programmes meet the standards of accessibility, adaptability, acceptability and adequacy for all rights holders. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has recommended these standards through several General Comments including 13, 14 and 19. Accessibility means making the social protection […]

Social Protection and Human Rights