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The Law’s Approach to Detention of Asylum Seekers: Help or Hindrance?

The Theory and Practice of Immigration Detention Workshop, University of Oxford, May 21, 2010

Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2010/21

14 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2010  

Dallal E. Stevens

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: September 13, 2010

Abstract

As is well-known, there is a tension at the heart of international law in relation to the detention of non-nationals. On the one hand, human rights law seems to provide a framework in which the protection of ‘human dignity’ is paramount and rights are accorded every human being qua human being. On the other hand, the law has permitted serious inroads into the notions of absolute freedom and equality through such concepts as reasonableness, proportionality and legitimacy. Westphalian sovereignty continues to wield significant power in the migration context, with few institutions willing or able to threaten its domain. Taking as a case-study the detention of asylum seekers in the UK, this paper will explore whether there is any evidence that members of the judiciary may now be prepared to challenge the traditional interpretation of detention - either through human rights or common law presumptions - with a view to reasserting the moral imperative of freedom over the state’s desire to control inward migration, or whether a re-evaluation of the practice of detention of non-nationals is impossible within the current state-centric, pro-citizen, and security-conscious environment in which we live.

Keywords: Asylum, detention, human rights, sovereignty, liberty, rule of law

JEL Classification: J7, J78, K1

Suggested Citation

Stevens, Dallal E., The Law’s Approach to Detention of Asylum Seekers: Help or Hindrance? (September 13, 2010). The Theory and Practice of Immigration Detention Workshop, University of Oxford, May 21, 2010 ; Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2010/21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1676118 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1676118

Dallal E. Stevens (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
024 765 23289 (Phone)
024 765 24105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/stevens

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