Bar Council and Law Society blast Boris Johnson over Rwanda asylum policy

updated on 15 June 2022

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The Bar Council and Law Society yesterday issued a joint statement criticising Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments on the legal challenges brought against the government for their plans to send asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda.

After Boris Johnson publicly criticised lawyers for trying to stop the government’s plans, the Bar Council and Law Society issued the following statement:

“Legal challenges ensure government is acting lawfully, following laws agreed by parliament.

“It is misleading and dangerous for the prime minister to suggest lawyers who bring such legal challenges are doing anything other than their job and upholding the law. Anyone at risk of a life-changing order has a right to challenge its legality with the assistance of a lawyer, who has a duty to advise their client on their rights.

“The Bar Council and Law Society of England and Wales together call on the prime minister to stop attacks on legal professionals who are simply doing their jobs.”

The statement also notes that when the Supreme Court rejected the appeals on 14 June, it nonetheless established that “in bringing that application, the appellant’s lawyers were performing their proper function of ensuring that their clients are not subjected to unlawful treatment at the hands of the government.”

The Rwanda debacle escalated on Tuesday night as the first flight was cancelled at the last minute after a challenge by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This brought a fresh wave of legal challenges meaning that judges will consider whether the policy is lawful next week.

Interested in this news story? Find out more about this area of the law with our barrister practice area profiles on human rights law and immigration law.