Rwanda Judgment: Court of Appeal rules government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful

Thursday 29 June 2023

Sonali Naik KC, Adrian BerryMark SymesEva Doerr and Isaac Ricca-Richardson, of the Garden Court Chambers Public Law Team, represent AS (Iran), instructed by Paul Turner and Iain Palmer of Barnes Harrild and Dyer Solicitors.

David Sellwood, of the Garden Court Chambers Public Law Team, is part of the team representing RM (Iran), instructed by Daniel Merriman and Tim Davies of Wilson Solicitors.

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The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in a number of linked judicial review claims that challenged Home Office decisions to remove asylum seekers in the UK to Rwanda, in order for their asylum claims to be processed there, rather than in the UK.

The majority of the Court allowed the appeal on the single issue of the safety of Rwanda. It found that there are shortcomings in the asylum system in Rwanda which means that removing asylum seekers there would be in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

There were a number of other grounds of appeal relating to the operation of EU law and data protection legislation which the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed. Applications for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court are due on 6 July 2023.

Applications for permission to appeal against the judgment, to the Court of Appeal, were heard on 16 January 2023. Permission to appeal was initially granted on various grounds to a number of the claimants. The grounds included whether the Divisional Court properly assessed the reliability of assurances given by the Rwandan government to respect the human rights of those removed; whether removal to Rwanda would breach the Refugee Convention; and whether the decision making process adopted by the Home Secretary was procedurally unfair.

Judgment available to read here. Watch the handing down of the judgment in the Court of Appeal here.

The ruling has been widely covered in the press; Sky News, BBC News, CNNThe Guardian and many more. 

Sonali Naik KCAdrian BerryMark SymesEva Doerr and Isaac Ricca-Richardson represent AS (Iran) instructed by Paul Turner and Iain Palmer of Barnes Harrild & Dyer. 

David Sellwood was part of the team representing RM (Iran), instructed by Daniel Merriman and Tim Davies of Wilsons Solicitors. 

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