13 July 2023

Government can appeal against Rwanda decision at Supreme Court

13 July 2023

The Government has been given the go-ahead to take a legal battle over its Rwanda deportation policy to the Supreme Court.

The move was welcomed by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who reiterated her belief that the plan is “lawful”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had indicated he would seek an appeal as he “fundamentally” disagreed with the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the multimillion-pound deal – which would see asylum seekers deported to the east African nation – was unlawful.

In court orders seen by the PA news agency on Thursday, the Court of Appeal granted permission for the Government to challenge their decision at the Supreme Court.

One of the asylum seekers in the case was also given the green light to challenge part of the ruling.

In the ruling last month, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill concluded “deficiencies” in the asylum system in Rwanda mean there is a “real risk” asylum seekers could be returned to their home country and face persecution or other inhumane treatment when they may have a good claim for asylum.

However, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, who heard the appeal with the other two judges in April, disagreed, saying he would dismiss the challenge.

Campaigners welcomed the decision, with charity Asylum Aid which brought the challenge alongside several asylum seekers, describing the ruling at the time as a “vindication of the importance of the rule of law and basic fairness when fundamental rights are at stake”.

But Ms Braverman claimed the system was “rigged against the British people” and said she remained “fully committed” to the policy and, despite the ruling, insisted she still had “every confidence” in the plan while stressing that Rwanda was a safe country.

In a statement on Thursday, she said: “I welcome this decision to grant permission to appeal. We need innovative solutions, like our Migration Partnership, to stop the boats, break the business model of the people-smuggling gangs and prevent further loss of life in the Channel.

“I absolutely believe this policy is lawful and both the High Court and Court of Appeal have been unanimously clear that relocating asylum seekers to a safe third country can be done in line with the Refugee Convention.

“The assurances we have had from Rwanda regarding asylum protections are also robust – and both the High Court and Lord Chief Justice found that the arrangements provided sufficient safeguards.”

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