Refugee Week - Inadmissible asylum claims: Rwanda, Nationality and Borders Act & Illegal Migration Bill

Tuesday 20 June 2023


This event was brought to you by the Garden Court Public Law Team and the Garden Court Immigration Team.

Date: Tuesday 20 June 2023
Time: 5.30pm - 7pm
Venue: Hybrid  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Administrative and Public Law , Administrative and Public Law , Immigration Law , Immigration Detention, Asylum and Deportation , Immigration: Personal and Business

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In December 2022, the High Court held that the Home Office’s policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful, provided each case is considered on its individual merits. Central to that policy is the power to declare asylum claims ‘inadmissible’ where certain conditions are met.

The legal challenge to the Home Office’s policy has since gone to the Court of Appeal, whose decision is pending, with each of the speakers on this panel involved.

Meanwhile, however, the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 has come into force, and the Illegal Migration Bill is being debated in Parliament – each of which affects the legal framework regulating inadmissible asylum claims.

This discussion will focus on the up-to-date legal position, how to avoid and challenge inadmissibility decisions, and the issues of fairness and access to justice raised by the procedure adopted by the Home Office.


Sonali Naik KC, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Sonali Naik KC specialises in public law cases and in all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law and practice. She was appointed King’s Counsel in 2018 and conducts almost exclusively leading work at all levels: the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Upper Tribunal in statutory appeals and judicial reviews. 

Sonali has substantial immigration and asylum experience in her High Court and appellate court practice, acting in various country guidance asylum cases, such as AS(Afghanistan) v SSHD [2019] WLR 5345 in the Court of Appeal, (with UNHCR intervening). She has an extensive judicial review practice in challenges to Home Office policy, trafficking and unlawful detention, Article 8 ECHR certification and nationality and brought the first successful generic injunction cases in charter flight removals in HN(Afghanistan).

She was one of the winners of a Highly Commended Award at the Lawyer Awards 2022 for a pro bono initiative to assist Afghan judges secure UK visas. In 2023, Sonali was listed in The Lawyer magazine’s Hot 100 list, which recognises excellence in the legal profession.

Adrian Berry, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Adrian’s practice spans a range of inter-related public law areas concerning citizenship, immigration, human rights, international protection, and social assistance. Adrian acts for a small number of clients with complex and sensitive asylum and international protection claims.

He provides advice and representation in matters arising under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Refugee Qualification Directive (2004/83/EC) and the European Convention on Human Rights. He also acts for a small number of clients with general asylum claims, including clients with multiple nationalities, statelessness issues, difficult issues in relation to a nexus to a Refugee Convention reason, and those subject to removal under the Dublin Regulation. He writes a blog on migration, citizenship, and free movement called Cosmopolis and also has a blog on Nationality and Citizenship law.

Isaac Ricca-Richardson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Isaac’s practice encompasses judicial review, immigration & asylum, human rights & civil liberties, education, and community care. Isaac has a strong background in immigration law, with a number of successes in asylum, deportation, and human rights appeals, and public law challenges to fresh claim decisions and urgent removals. 

He is adept at building relationships and trust with vulnerable clients who have suffered torture or trafficking. Isaac is regularly instructed in challenges to age assessments on behalf of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and in matters involving the entitlement of children and adults to support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, Children Act 1989 and Care Act 2014. Isaac also has experience working with private clients in contentious political asylum claims, having done so as a paralegal for two years.

Alison Pickup, Director, Asylum Aid
Alison is Director of Asylum Aid where she leads an expert team providing legal representation to asylum seekers and refugees. Asylum Aid is part of the Helen Bamber Foundation Group. Before joining Asylum Aid (in November 2021), Alison was the Legal Director of the Public Law Project. At PLP, Alison led its work on the access to justice issues in the New Plan for Immigration and on judicial review reform. In June 2020, Alison was awarded the Outstanding Employed Barrister in an NGO award by the Employed Barristers Committee of the Bar Council.

Alison will focus on the issues of fairness and access to justice raised by the procedure. This will include the problems with the fast track procedure adopted by the Home Office for deciding who to send to Rwanda, as well as the impact of being put into the inadmissibility procedure on the fair and timely processing of asylum claims.

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