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Row brewing over Rwanda ‘fast-track’ plan
Rishi Sunak Pic: Shutterstock

16 Jan 2024 / britain Print

Row brewing over Rwanda ‘fast-track’ plan

The Law Society Gazette of England and Wales says that a constitutional row appears to be brewing in Britain over the deployment of judges to handle appeals against the deportation of asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

In what the Gazette describes as “an unusually forthright statement”, the Judicial Office said that the deployment of judges was a matter for the lady chief justice and senior tribunals president.

The judiciary was responding to reports that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) plans to draft 150 judges to fast-track Rwanda appeals.

The Judicial Office told the Gazette that it was “central to the rule of law” that judicial deployment remained a decision for the independent judiciary.


The latest version of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is going to committee stage in the House of Commons today (16 January), with Sunak reportedly facing a revolt within the Conservative Party over the issue.

The bill is an attempt to overcome last year’s ruling by the Supreme Court that the plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.

According to the Gazette, the Illegal Migration Act allows the senior tribunals president to ask first-tier tribunal judges to sit in the upper tribunal, and the president has identified judges who can be asked if needed.

The Judicial Office said that the decision on temporary deployment was for the judiciary, and would be taken in the interests of justice, taking into account the need to deal efficiently with all cases before the first-tier and upper tribunals at the time.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland