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R (Ullah) v Special Adjudicator [2004] UKHL 26; [2004] 2 AC 323

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 07/01/2024 21:04

Judgement for the case R (Ullah) v Special Adjudicator


  • The court is obligated to consider relevant Strasbourg case law. While not absolutely binding, it is generally expected that the courts should follow clear and consistent rulings of the Strasbourg court unless there are special circumstances that would warrant an exception thereto.

  • While member states can offer rights more extensive than those guaranteed by the Convention, these additional rights should not result from the interpretation of the Convention by national courts. The goal is to maintain uniformity in the interpretation of the Convention across all states that are a party to it.

Lord Bingham

  • The duty of national courts is to keep pace with the Strasbourg jurisprudence as it evolves over time: no more, but certainly no less.


  • Mr. Ullah and Miss Do both sought asylum in the UK due to fears of religious persecution in their respective home countries.

  • The UK Secretary of State rejected their asylum claims, and their appeals were dismissed by adjudicators who found that their rights under the European Convention would not be severely violated if they were to be deported to their home countries.

  • Both applicants were granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal, marking a crucial legal juncture in their cases.


  • Appeal dismissed.


  • The case underscored the importance of harmonizing the interpretation of human rights across different jurisdictions, recognizing the unique authority of the Strasbourg court to expound on the Convention.

  • It clarified the role of national courts in staying aligned with evolving Strasbourg jurisprudence, without exceeding it or falling behind.

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