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Islam and Shah v. Secretary of State for the Home Department

U.K. House of Lords
2 A.C. 629 (1999)


Islam and Shah (plaintiffs), two Pakistani women who were victims of domestic violence, sought asylum in the United Kingdom. Islam and Shah alleged persecution if they returned to Pakistan. Pakistan had widespread discrimination against women, including a lack of legal recourse for women who were victims of domestic violence. The administrative officials (defendants) denied their claims. Islam and Shah appealed to the House of Lords. All five of their Lordships rejected the test set forth in Sanchez-Trujillo, 801 F.2d 1571 (1986) for identifying a particular social group, and accepted the test in Acosta, 19 I. & N. Dec. 211 (1985), as the proper inquiry. Four of their Lordships then found Islam and Shah eligible for asylum, while one of their Lordships dissented.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hoffman, Lord)

Dissent (Millett, Lord)

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