The government has been given the go-ahead to make an appeal to the Supreme Court in a bid to get the Rwanda deportation policy off the ground.
The Court of Appeal ruled last month that plans to send asylum seekers to the east African nation were unlawful, overturning an initial High Court ruling giving the plan the green light.
Rishi Sunak said at the time he “fundamentally” disagreed with the Court of Appeal ruling.
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The Court of Appeal has now granted permission for the government to challenge their decision, and has also allowed one of the asylum seekers in the case to dispute part of last month’s ruling as well.
Last month’s ruling at the appeals court was made two to one by a panel of three judges, with Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill finding “deficiencies” in Rwanda‘s asylum system meant asylum seekers deported there could be returned to their countries of origin and face persecution.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said he did not accept that migrants would be at risk of removal to their home countries from Rwanda – but it is not a safe place for them to be housed while their asylum claims are processed.
He said: “The result is that the High Court’s decision that Rwanda was a safe third country is reversed, and unless and until the deficiencies in its asylum process are corrected, removal of asylum seekers will be unlawful.”
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This is the latest step in the long-running legal wrangling over the policy, first introduced when Boris Johnson was prime minister and Priti Patel was home secretary.
The Court of Appeals decided sending anyone to Rwanda would constitute a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, “with which parliament has required that the government must comply”.
As well as Mr Sunak strongly disagreeing with the judiciary, Home Secretary Suella Braverman also voiced her support.
She said she remained “fully committed” to the policy.
Cost of sending each migrant to countries such as Rwanda
Asylum seekers are going ‘underground’ in fear of being deported to Rwanda
The government wants to send tens of thousands of migrants more than 4,000 miles away to Rwanda as part of a £120m deal agreed with the government in Kigali last year.
However, no one has made the journey yet.
The first flight was stopped at the eleventh hour in June last year after an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.