The Safety of Rwanda Act becomes law – but our work continues

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024 came into force last week. We are deeply disappointed that its constitutional and human impacts were not reduced, but we are proud to have strongly promoted and defended the rule of law throughout its passage through Parliament.
A view of the houses of parliament in Westminster from the ground, with a clear blue sky in the background.

We have been at the forefront of monitoring and analysing government plans to remove migrants who arrive in the UK through irregular means to a ‘safe third country’.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill was introduced to parliament in December 2023 to formally implement the Rwanda-UK asylum partnership and treaty.

We have consistently expressed our concerns that the bill sets a dangerous legal and constitutional precedent by legislating to overturn an evidence-based finding of fact by UK courts that Rwanda is an unsafe country to send asylum seekers to.

We have continually raised concerns that the rule of law and access to justice are being corroded, all for a policy that will have limited impact.

However, it will have a devastating impact on the small group of individuals who are selected to be removed to Rwanda, including potential victims of trafficking and children.

Our proposals would have mitigated the worst constitutional and practical objections to the bill. They were well supported, and were reflected in the last amendment on which the House of Lords held out.

We are deeply disappointed with the government’s failure to engage with the improvements to the bill passed multiple times by the House of Lords.

Although the Safety of Rwanda Act has now come into force, we will continue our work to defend the rule of law in how it is implemented.

What did we achieve?

In parliament

As part of our public interest role upholding the rule of law and access to justice, we work closely with MPs and peers from across the political spectrum.

In our work on the bill, we built on existing relationships in parliament, and developed new ones, including MPs and peers from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as crossbenchers in the House of Lords.

We kept parliamentarians informed about our concerns about the bill in our 10 parliamentary briefings, issued to MPs and peers throughout its debates in Westminster.

These proposed a range of creative, expert, practical amendments to address the worst excesses of the bill.

We also held a private dinner with crossbench peers. This gave us an opportunity to have constructive conversations and build more effective working relationships.

Following our dinner, peers tabled amendments that reflected our concerns, voted strongly for them, and showed up to oppose the bill.

Through our briefings and conversations, we engaged with people across party lines to understand their perspectives and priorities. This helped us to foster a pragmatic cross-party strategy on the bill.

Building relationships with parliamentarians can empower them to vote in ways that maintain the integrity of the rule of law.

External legal groups

As well as our work with parliamentarians, we collaborated closely with carefully chosen external partner organisations including:

  • the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law
  • the Immigration Law Practitioners Association

Together, we authored joint briefings, developed policy strategies, drafted suggested amendments and gave and obtained expert advice.

As well as using our influence and networks to help amplify our partners’ voices, we also benefited from their knowledge, expertise and connections.


Since December 2023, when the Rwanda treaty was introduced, our opinions and concerns have been shared in a wide variety of news outlets including the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and the Times.

Channel 4 and the BBC have also covered our responses to the bill throughout its progress through parliament.

Members of our Immigration Law Committee have also been featured in various media outlets:

We have also achieved significant success through our own social media channels.

We’ve engaged with our members on LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter), reiterating our concerns at every stage.

The reach we have achieved online and in the media demonstrates that the position we take on legislation and our campaigning to defend the rule of law and access to justice is significant and effective.

What’s next?

We’ll continue to work with the external organisations we have built relationships with on how the act is implemented and any other developments in the area.

Our mission to uphold the rule of law and ensure access to justice for all continues across many policy areas.

I want to know more

Find out more about the Safety of Rwanda Act and the UK-Rwanda asylum partnership

Read about one solicitor's experience working in immigration law: "You're under pressure to stop clients from being tortured or killed"