We respond to the government's proposed Illegal Migration Bill

This week, the government introduced legislation which addresses challenges with the UK asylum system. Our president Lubna Shuja, has raised concerns about the bill's compatibility with human rights law and the lack of a public consultation.
Law Society president Lubna Shuja in front of the Royal Courts of Justice, London (2022). Lubna is an Asian woman with long hair, wearing a dark suit and white shirt. She is looking serious.

This week, the government introduced their ‘Illegal Migration’ Bill, which they have said aims to deal with people arriving in the UK outside of the legal migration process, mainly by small boat crossings on the English Channel.

The bill sets out to prevent those who enter via irregular means claiming asylum in the UK and seeks to return them to their home country or a 'safe third country’ such as Rwanda.

This bill has not been subject to a public consultation.

In response, our president Lubna Shuja said: “As with all legislation the Law Society’s lens is the rule of law and access to justice. We will analyse carefully whether these principles have guided the government’s drafting of this bill.

“However, we are concerned that there has been no public consultation, including with lawyers, to ensure the bill is workable, provides due process for those claiming asylum or is compliant with international law.”

Compatibility with human rights law

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said that she is “unable to make a statement in [her] view” that the bill is “compatible with the [European Convention of Human Rights]”.

On this, Shuja added: “The government has already conceded the bill may not comply with international human rights law (European Convention on Human Rights) and questions remain about compatibility with the UN Refugee Convention.

“The rule of law is undermined if the UK Government takes the view that laws – international or domestic – can be broken. If a government breaks laws, it breaks trust with its own citizens and with international partners.

“We will be carefully combing the detail of this bill to determine whether it will lead to the Home Office delivering a fair and workable process, and seeking clarity from the government on whether it is compatible with the UK’s international obligations.

“Britain should have an asylum system that is fair and fit for purpose. It should make decisions - which have a profound impact on people’s lives - in line with our international commitments.”

Read more about our activity on recently proposed immigration legislation:

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