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Divisional Court judgment on the relocation of asylum seekers to Rwanda


The Divisional Court (Lewis LJ and Swift J) has today handed down judgment in a judicial review concerning the legality of the government’s policy to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Challenges were brought by a number of asylum seekers and NGOs to: (i) the legality of the policy itself, and (ii) individual decisions to remove individual asylum seekers to Rwanda.

UNHCR was granted permission by the Court to intervene in the proceedings.

The Court dismissed the challenges to the policy overall, concluding that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements for relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda and for their asylum claims to be determined in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom.

The individual challenges, however, succeeded. The Court found that the individual decisions made in respect of the asylum seeker Claimants were unlawful, as the Home Secretary had not properly considered the circumstances of those claimants.  Those decisions were therefore set aside.

The Court will hear in the new year arguments about consequential matters.

The Court’s summary can be found here and the judgment here.

Tim Johnston, Emma Mockford, and Ali Al-Karim appeared as junior counsel on behalf of the “AAA” Claimants, including the asylum seekers whose decisions have been found to be unlawful, instructed by Duncan Lewis. Jemima Stratford KC and Jeremy Gauntlett KC also advised the Claimants at an earlier stage of the proceedings. 

Jennifer MacLeod appeared as junior counsel on behalf of UNHCR, instructed by Baker McKenzie. Aarushi Sahore and Joshua Pemberton are also instructed by UNHCR in these proceedings.