10 June 2022
Urgent Judicial Review ahead of first flight removing asylum seekers to Rwanda
Four asylum seekers, with the assistance of the refugee charity Care4Calais and other organisations, have brought an urgent judicial review in the High Court against the Secretary of State for the Home Department ("SSHD"). The purpose of the judicial review is to attempt to halt the first flight to Rwanda removing asylum seekers from the UK. The flight is set to depart on Tuesday 14 June.
On 14 April 2022, the Prime Minister announced that anyone entering the UK illegally as well as those who have arrived illegally since 1 January 2022 may be relocated to Rwanda for processing. Later that day, the SSHD noted that under the new Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) with Rwanda, those who have their asylum claim deemed as inadmissible in the UK may be relocated to Rwanda for processing under their asylum system. Despite publicly committing to relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda in April, it appears that the SSHD did not determine that Rwanda was a ‘safe third country’ until May.
The Claimants will argue that the Rwanda removals policy, as well as the removals of the four individual asylum seekers specifically, are unlawful. The bases for this argument include, but are not limited to: (i) the vires or legal authority of the SSHD to carry out the removals; (ii) the rationality of the SSHD's conclusion that Rwanda is generally a 'safe third country'; (iii) the adequacy of provision for malaria prevention; and (iv) compliance with the Human Rights Act.
An injunction is also sought to stop the flight. The hearing is set to take place this morning in the High Court.
At the date of publication, it is being reported that as many as 130 asylum seekers have been issued with Rwanda removal notices by the SSHD. All asylum seekers involved are expected to challenge the legality of removal. In response to the Rwanda removal notices a number of asylum seekers have begun hunger strikes.
An asylum claimant may be eligible for removal to Rwanda if their claim is inadmissible and (a) that claimant’s journey to the UK can be described as having been dangerous and (b) was made on or after 1 January 2022.
It is worth noting that the new provisions governing removal in the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 do not come into force until 28 June. The government is therefore currently relying on asylum law from the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 by defining Rwanda as a 'safe third country' (Sch 1, para 17 and Sch 2, para 4(4)).
The SSHD has stated, "while we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect."
The Claimants are submitting that the SSHD has overstepped her authority by rushing through an unlawful policy and that she is intentionally turning a blind eye to the clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum. The SSHD has a common law duty not to induce breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights, including of Article 3 according to which: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
We await the outcome of the challenge and opinion of the court.
10 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3QG
DX 40 London/Chancery Lane
Tel: 020 7465 4300 Fax: 020 7465 4400 www.phb.co.uk
This publication is not intended to provide a comprehensive statement of the law and does not constitute legal advice and should not be considered as such. It is intended to highlight some issues current at the date of its preparation. Specific advice should always be taken in order to take account of individual circumstances and no person reading this article is regarded as a client of this firm in respect of any of its contents.
The firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority: SRA Number 807106
© 2021 Payne Hicks Beach LLP
Back to Legal Updates Listing