Reacting to Rishi Sunak's decision to introduce emergency legislation following on from the Supreme Court Rwanda decision today, Bar Council Chair Nick Vineall KC said:

“The Bar Council notes with grave concern the Prime Minister’s suggestion that legislation might be introduced the purpose of which is apparently to deem Rwanda to be a safe country to which to return asylum seekers.

“This morning’s Supreme Court decision upheld the principle that a scheme, like the proposed Rwanda scheme, could be lawful, so long as, as a matter of fact, Rwanda was a country to which refugees could be returned without a risk of refoulement (that is to say without there being a risk that refugees would be returned to the country from which they were fleeing). The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal had been right to decide that Rwanda was not such a country. The Supreme Court decision therefore turns on a question of fact. 

“If parliament were to pass legislation the effect of which was to reverse a finding of fact made by a court of competent jurisdiction, that would raise profound and important questions about the respective role of the courts and parliament in countries that subscribe to the Rule of Law.

“We hope that any such legislation would only be brought forward after the most anxious and careful consideration of its constitutional propriety. If and when such legislation is proposed we will consider it carefully.”