Getting to grips with . . .

Rwanda deportations: the legal bids to stop first flight explained

Blanket legal challenges fail in run-up to take-off but individual asylum-seeker cases have more success

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has insisted the first flight deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off despite a series of legal challenges and criticism from the Church of England.

The BBC estimated that only seven or eight people are “set to be flown to the east African nation’s capital Kigali” tonight as part of the government’s five-year £120m trial. 

But Truss said the flight would “establish the principle” of the scheme and the government was prepared to “face down” any further challenges in court.

Blanket legal challenges

In a “significant win” for the government, the Court of Appeal yesterday rejected “last-ditch legal bids” to block today’s Rwanda flight, said ITV News.

Lawyers for two refugee charities, Detention Action and Care4Calais, and the PCS union, which represents Border Force staff, argued that the policy was unlawful. In a statement, Care4Calais claimed that refugees would not be safe and may have their human rights violated.

However, on Friday, a High Court judge ruled that there was “material public interest” in allowing the home secretary to implement immigration control decisions and that the risks of the scheme outlined by the claimants were very small and “in the realms of speculation”. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Monday.

A second blanket legal challenge from the charity Asylum Aid was also rejected by the High Court yesterday. 

“A full hearing on whether the policy is lawful will take place next month,” said ITV.

Individual cases

Individual legal cases have had more success against the government. The BBC said “dozens” of people had already won their cases to be taken off today’s flight and three more legal challenges are due to be heard before the plane departs tonight.

At “the heart of almost all the last-minute appeals” is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, said Matt Dathan at The Times. This is the right to respect for a private life, a family life, a home and correspondence, enshrined in UK law by the Human Rights Act, which the government hopes to replace with a new Bill of Rights.

It comes as the “entire senior leadership of the Church of England” denounced the Rwanda migrant flights as an “immoral policy that shames Britain” in a letter to the newspaper.

The government insists the move is necessary to stop illegal people-smuggling on both sides of the Channel.

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