The Supreme Court this week upheld a Court of Appeal ruling, which had found that the government scheme to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. The legal case against the policy hinged on the principle of “non-refoulement” – that a person seeking asylum should not be returned to their country of origin if doing so would put them at risk of harm. As the Supreme Court emphasised in delivering its judgment, that principle is established under both UK and international law – not only under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The hearings before the Supreme Court took place in early October after the Court of Appeal, by a majority, had overturned the High Court’s ruling. The Supreme Court’s ruling was unanimous.
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 both appeals and in the Court below. Neil Sheldon KC and Natasha Barnes are instructed as counsel to the Home Secretary.