HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) - Reflections on a new test for sexuality-based asylum claims in Britain

Oxford University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Refugee Law, 2013, 24 (4), pp. 815 - 839
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The case HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] UKSC 31 was celebrated as a `fundamental shift in asylum law. In this decision, the UK Supreme Court rejects the `reasonably tolerable test that had been applied in the case of the gay men HJ, a 40-year-old Iranian, and HT, a 36-year-old citizen of Cameroon. On the basis that the claimants could be reasonably expected to tolerate being discreet about their sexual identity in order to avoid persecution, their applications had been unsuccessful. This `reasonably tolerable test, which was fairly well established in case law, was much contested and its rejection was overdue. Yet in their decision, the Justices not only reject this old test, they go a step further and formulate a new approach to be followed by tribunals in asylum claims on grounds of sexual orientation.
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