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Refugee & Asylum Seeker Law Research Guide: United Kingdom

UK Asylum Statistics

Asylum Trends and Statistics - the latest Refugee Council policy briefings on Home Office asylum statistics

Latest refugee statistical snapshot from UNHCR

UNHCR Resettlement Handbook - UK

Other Research Guides

Globalex  Guide to Researching the Legal Aspects of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom

Print & E-books

UK Refugee Legislation

In the United Kingdom, relevant legislation includes:

UK Refugee Cases & Tribunal Decisions

Refugee and asylum cases are heard in the following courts and tribunals in the United Kingdom:

  • Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC deals with appeals in cases where the Secretary of State for the Home Department exercises statutory powers to deport, or exclude, someone from the UK on national security grounds, or for other public interest reasons. SIAC also hears appeals against decisions to deprive persons of citizenship status). 
  • Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) (England & Wales)
  • Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber (England & Wales)
  • Administrative Court
  • High Court
  • Court of Appeal
  • Supreme Court
  • Inner House, Court of Session (Scotland)
  • Outer House, Court of Session (Scotland)

 Cases can also be heard in the European Court of Human Rights

Finding Refugee Cases from all Courts and Tribunals


The European Database of Asylum Law (EDAL) (1985 to date) is a compilation of summaries of refugee and asylum case law from the national courts of 22 European states (including the UK), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). This database covers many UK courts and tribunals, and can be sorted by, for example, keywords, date and country of applicant. It can also be searched, Note that it has summaries only – but it provides the case citations, so it is easy to then find the full text decision. 

Refugee cases heard in all UK courts and tribunals from 1890 to the present are available as pdf replicas of the original unreported judgments on the UNHCR's Refworld (open access).

BAILII's Open Law project on Immigration and Asylum law includes free full text cases up until 2006 from eg: the House of Lords, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights (open access).

Law Reports

  • Immigration and Nationality Law Reports (1997 to current) - available on Westlaw UK (UniMelb staff & students)
  • Immigration Appeal Reports (1972 to current) - available on JUSTIS (UniMelb staff & students)


Databases such as JUSTIS, Westlaw UK, ICLR and Lexis can also be used to search multiple courts with the same search to find cases on your topic. See the UK Legal Research Guide Cases page for more information. 

Finding Refugee Cases in Individual Tribunals

The England and Wales Tribunal Judiciary website contains free full text decision databases of:

A great place to start....

Halsbury's Laws of England (volume 57 5th edition 2012) IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM on Lexis Advance is a good starting point for your research into UK refugee law. Halsbury's provides up to date commentary and links to relevant caselaw and legislation.

To get there, scroll to Immigration and Asylum in the alphabetical list, then click the + button which opens the menu - click on 3 - Asylum, Humanitarian Protection etc. You can then browse to the relevant entry eg: Establishing Refugee Status.

UK Refugee News

Newsfeed from UNHCR

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UK Refugee Associations & Centres