The Bar Council is urging the House of Lords to reject the Illegal Migration Bill because it undermines access to justice, unjustifiably removes judicial scrutiny of executive action, and sets out a framework of operation that is incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).

The Bill is being debated at Second Reading today and the Bar Council has briefed Peers on its key concerns with the legislation:

1. The ‘ouster clauses’ that restrict judicial scrutiny and undermine the rule of law – the government proposes that its failures to comply with its obligations in national and international law should go unchecked. As a result, the constitutional principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers are both infringed.

2. The provisions which remove respect for human rights and/or mandate non-compliance or breach of those rights – the Bill will compel the government to act in ways that are likely to violate the human rights of some of those to whom the provisions are applied.

3. The extension of immigration detention powers and the corresponding limitations on judicial protection of liberty – the existing powers of the Home Secretary would be expanded by the Bill, whilst judicial protection of liberty would be restricted, contrary to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers

Commenting, Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

"We recognise that it is right and proper for Parliament to wish to achieve better control of illegal immigration. But it is wrong to try to remove judicial oversight, and wrong to ignore obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

"This is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It undermines access to justice and contravenes fundamental principles that form the bedrock of the UK’s constitutional settlement. We hope the House of Lords will reject it."