Vol. LIV No. 3

U.K. Refugee Lawyers: Pushing the Boundaries of Domestic Court Acceptance of International Human Rights Law

Abstract: This Article analyzes how refugee lawyers in the United Kingdom navigate the tension between state power and international norms. Based on interviews with lawyers representing persons seeking asylum and other forms of refugee protection in the United Kingdom, the Article reveals how these lawyers successfully utilize international human rights treaties on behalf of their clients despite domestic policies making it more difficult for refugees to assert their rights. The Article argues that U.K. refugee lawyers play a critical role in the globalization struggle by encouraging state actors (in this case, the judiciary) to adhere to international norms that might otherwise go ignored in an anti-immigrant political climate. In so doing, these lawyers have helped to broaden the sources on which state power over immigration is based. The Article thus contributes to the literature on the devolution of state power in an era of globalization, as well as cause lawyering.

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