Court of Appeal rules plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda unlawful


The Court of Appeal has upheld the argument that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers, overturning the High Court ruling in December that the east African nation could be considered a “safe third country”.

Schedule 3 to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 allows the Government, as long as it obtains Parliamentary approval, to designate particular countries as safe. The Government did not in these cases make use of those procedures. Instead, it proceeded by giving guidance to case-workers for application in individual decisions. The Court held that it was not unlawful for it to proceed in that way.

The majority ruled that due to “deficiencies” in the Rwandan asylum system there are substantial grounds to believe there are real risks that persons sent to Rwanda will be returned to their home countries, where they were fleeing from. The removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda will be unlawful until deficiencies are corrected.

Raza Husain KCPhillippa Kaufmann KC and Anirudh Mathur acted for the claimants instructed by Duncan Lewis.