Rwanda Supreme Court ruling: what's next?
The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled the Rwanda plan unlawful on 15 November 2023.
The decision is final and the Government cannot appeal. However, it’s important to remember that the judgement is limited to whether Rwanda is a safe country - and not on the lawfulness of the policy in principle.
What could happen next?
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said "this was not the outcome we wanted" but that in his view the Supreme Court has "confirmed that the principle of sending illegal migrants to a safe third country for processing is lawful".
This suggests the Government may proceed with other agreements with other countries. However, no deal is close to being struck so this is not likely to happen very soon.
If the Government wants to push through with Rwanda, although that would come at great political risk, they may pursue the Rwanda deal in a different form, such as a treaty which would need to go through Parliament.
There are still risks that people can be removed to their countries of origin under existing laws.
The ruling also means that the Government will now need to find a sustainable solution for people they can’t forcibly send away, including ensuring safe housing for them.
What happens to people who were at risk of being sent to Rwanda?
Everyone who had been issued removal notices to Rwanda are no longer under urgent risk of removal.
However, the Government may still seek to remove people to their countries of origin if their asylum or other claims are refused. For some nationalities, currently EU countries, they can be removed without their asylum claims being assessed under existing inadmissibility rules.
We will continue to advocate and defend the rights of people who want to make this country home. JCWI will be creating resources for people so they know what their rights are. We call on everyone to resist this Government’s hostile policies and urge for the protection of the universal right to seek asylum in the UK.
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