Judicial independence and political issues arising in asylum cases

author: Sir Nicholas Blake QC, Matrix Chambers
published: Jan. 18, 2018,   recorded: December 2017,   views: 2622

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Nicholas Blake was called to the Bar in 1974 and practised as a barrister until 2007. In 1994 he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel and in 2000 he became first chair of Matrix Chambers. He specialised in immigration, asylum and human rights challenges. From November 2007 to November 2017, he served as a High Court judge of England and Wales, attached to the Queen’s Bench Division of which the Administrative Court (dealing with public law cases) forms a part. From January 2010 to September 2013 he was the first President of the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum chamber. He now serves part time as a deputy judge and Judicial Commissioner of the Investigatory Powers Commission regulating sensitive investigations and has returned to Matrix Chambers as a consultant.

The speaker draws on his rich experience as practicing barrister and then as judge to illustrate how the issue of recognizing someone as a refugee has gone from a point in relatively recent history where it was considered a political issue and as such in the domain of the executive power, to the increasing role of law, and subsequently the judicial branch in asylum cases. He focuses on the role that was played in this process by, first, international and regional human rights law. Second, he discusses the European Common Asylum System and its relevance for the issue at hand.

The lecture on “Judicial independence and political issues in asylum claims” was held on 11 December 2017 as part of a Jean Monnet module on Migration and Refugee Law in Europe (MigRaLE), granted by the European Union’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency to the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in 2017. The Faculty of Law aims to disseminate some of the contents of the module to the wider public and does so by holding what we call MigRaLE Roundtables. In the first of these events, Sir Nicholas Blake QC talks on a topical issue in asylum law.

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