What is Defective and Dangerous about the Illegal Migration Bill
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor LinkedinDanielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
The Bill has reached the report stage in the House of Lords and is a defective and dangerous piece of legislation, says the President of the Law Society. She says that it threatens to undermine the Rule of Law and access to justice and it is likely to be unworkable. The Law Society has identified six issues that must as a minimum be addressed before the Bill can be allowed to pass into law.
- Provisions within the Bill effectively prioritise the removal of an individual over and above human rights and safety concerns. The President of the Law Society, Lubna Shuja, said that it is unacceptably narrow and has also unacceptably narrowed the ability of the Courts to provide protection against abuses.
- There is a clear intention not to comply with interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the removal of a person under the Bill and their refusal to comply with interim measures, issued by the Court, would be a serious breach of international law and these provisions should be removed.
- The President expressed serious concerns about the duty to remove asylum seekers and prevent them from claiming asylum. She says it will create significant problems down the line and that the Government only secured one removal agreement with Rwanda, but Rwanda alone will not be able to accept the number of people that are scheduled for removal and the agreement is currently subject to legal challenge.
- The Bill intends to change the longstanding established protection, that it is for the Courts to decide how long it is reasonable to detain someone for the purpose of removal. The Bill creates a statutory power to detain a person where the Secretary of State considers removal is no longer possible within a reasonable period. The actual effect of this is that a vast number of people can be held in detention for a very long time with very few legal avenues to challenge it.
- Under the Bill victims of modern slavery and trafficking who have been brought to the UK will be disqualified automatically from the Modern Day Slavery protection and subject to removal. That will undermine the efforts to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery
The Good News
The Government has finally confirmed, on 27th June, that it is not proceeding with Dominic Raab’s ill-fated Bill of Rights Bill. Alex Chalk, Raab’s successor told the MPs that “Having carefully considered the Government’s legislative programme in the round, I can inform the House that we have decided not to proceed with the Bill of Rights”. This decision is to be welcomed.
The Bill was introduced last summer in Parliament but had only cleared from its first reading in the Commons. Despite Dominic Raab’s passion to see it go through, the Bill continued to stall and once he was replaced, the legislation appeared all but dead. Raab introduced the measure which would have given the UK Courts supremacy over the Rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and would have created a high threshold to foreign national offenders seeking to challenge deportations based on the right to private life and to introduce a new permission stage for human rights challenges. The President of the Law Society stated “We are pleased that the Government has seen sense and decided not to pursue the Bill of Rights Bill, which would have been a step backwards for British justice.
The government’s Rwanda asylum plans were ruled unlawful. The Court of Appeal ruled that the High Court’s decision that Rwanda was a safe third country should be refused. Unless and until the deficiencies in Rwanda’s asylum process are corrected, removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda will be unlawful.