Rwanda Bill seeks to overturn finding of fact confirmed by the highest court in the UK

The UK government’s new Rwanda scheme legislation seeks to overturn an evidence-based finding of fact confirmed by the highest court in the UK, the Law Society of England and Wales has warned.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on 12 December.

“The bill creates a statutory obligation that every decision maker, including the courts, must treat Rwanda as a safe country,” said Law Society chief executive Ian Jeffery.

“In doing so, it is seeking to avoid an evidence-based finding of fact confirmed by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United Kingdom.

“This is damaging to both the rule of law and the constitutional separation of powers. While parliament has the right to respond to a court judgment by passing legislation to change a point of domestic law, it cannot use law to change fact.

“Independent judicial oversight is a bedrock of the rule of law and essential to ensuring there are democratic safeguards for individual rights. The measures taken in this bill would effectively place government above the law and demonstrate a profound lack of respect for the rule of law and separation of powers.”

“This is now the second time in a single year – the first being the Illegal Migration Act 2023 – that government has had to indicate that it does not have confidence that its plans for removing asylum seekers to third countries will not break international law,” added Ian Jeffery.

“Where the bill results in incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), this will likely result in cases being decided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).”

Notes to editors

*Contact the Press Office for a copy of our parliamentary briefing

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