Court of Appeal rejects legal bid to block Rwanda migrant flight

Court of Appeal judges have rejected attempts to block a flight bound for Rwanda tomorrow

Published

Court of Appeal judges have rejected a last-ditch legal bid to block a flight due to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister has said the Government had anticipated “a lot of teething problems” with the policy, but said the move is necessary to stop illegal people-smuggling rackets on either side of the Channel.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents more than 80 percent of Border Force staff, and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action have gone to the Court of Appeal after the High Court’s ruling on Friday that the first flight to the east African country can go ahead.

Lawyers for the three groups and one person due to be removed are asking for an interim block on removing the now-11 people due on Tuesday’s flight until the full hearing of whether the policy is lawful next month.

Raza Husain QC told the court: “The justice of the situation indicates that a general order should be made.”

Demonstrators at a removal centre at Gatwick protest against plans to send migrants to Rwanda
Demonstrators at a removal centre at Gatwick protest against plans to send migrants to Rwanda
Migrants rights groups hold a show of support for people detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre at Gatwick who are scheduled to be sent to Rwanda
Migrants rights groups hold a show of support for people detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre at Gatwick who are scheduled to be sent to Rwanda

The barrister added how the policy featured “a serious interference with basic dignity” and how the High Court judge had wrongly assessed the strength of their claim.

He said in written submissions: “The policy presently involves executive detention, forcible removal from the jurisdiction, transportation to a country from which they have not sought protection and to which they do not wish to go, in circumstances where the individuals concerned are exercising a legal right; and their removal is intended to deter others.

“This amounts, on any view, to a serious interference with basic dignity… where those individuals have already suffered significant trauma and have mental health issues.”

Mr Husain argued that the High Court judge who refused to block the flight on Friday, Mr Justice Swift, had wrongly decided the “balance of convenience”.

He added in written submissions: “If interim relief is refused and the claim succeeds, each claimant will be entitled to a ‘bring back’ order.

“If it is possible to bring the individuals back, which it may not be, this will have very significant administrative cost.

“Every individual who has been forcibly removed is also likely to have significant claims for damages… This potential cost to the taxpayer, in itself outweighs any inconvenience of a six-week delay pending removal pending trial.”

The Home Office has defended the policy.

More to follow...