The High Court’s December ruling that the UK Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful has today been overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The majority of the Court of Appeal (the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Underhill, with the Lord Chief Justice dissenting) decided that Rwanda is not a ‘safe third country’ for the transfer by the UK of asylum-seekers. It ruled that the Government’s plan cannot go ahead unless “deficiencies in [Rwanda’s] asylum process are corrected”.  The Appellants were unsuccessful on various other grounds.  The Court of Appeal has directed that any applications for permission to appeal must be made by 6 July 2023.

Angus McCullough KC led a team of counsel appearing pro bono for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, instructed by Baker McKenzie (also acting pro bono). UNHCR appeared as interveners in the appeal and in the Court below.  Natasha Barnes was instructed as junior counsel for the Home Secretary.