Northern Ireland & the Rwanda Bill

The Rwanda Bill scuppered in Northern Ireland by EU law.

Right now, though I’m delighted to say we’re joined by a solicitor, the head of immigration at Phoenix law over in Northern Ireland, Sinead Marmion who was part of a blocking scenario yesterday in Belfast. A judge basically blocked people from being sent to Rwanda on flights from Northern Ireland and we’ve got Sinead now with us.

Sinead a very good morning to you, welcome good morning, nice to see you, a nice victory for you there yesterday, one for the end of year salary review I should imagine. It says here that you think this is hugely significant, it’s put a huge thorn in the government’s side and a spanner in the works, it certainly has, hasn’t it?

Definitely, has it’s basically what well lots of people are saying it’s directly related to Rwanda, whilst there are implications on the Rwanda Bill, it’s not specifically a challenge against the Rwanda removals, it’s a challenge to the illegal migration act and what the court found was that it had used its powers to disapply aspects and certain provisions within that act because it’s in breach of the Northern Ireland protocol or the Windsor framework, so it relates back to EU law.

It also found declarations of incompatibility with human rights law right, so you were representing one or was it two illegal migrants who was one person right, one person who was sort of slated to go to Rwanda. Tell us then, so someone who has claimed Asylum, so it’s not to do with a removal through the Rwanda Bill as I mentioned it’s someone that claimed Asylum and would not have had their claim determined because of the provisions of the illegal migration act, which are not yet enforced but the government has paused all of those claims and not given any sort of direction of travel in terms of those people that have arrived after when the illegal migration act came into force right?

Northern Ireland Protocol

So, this is somebody who arrived here relatively recently then within the last year? Yes, right and so your concern is that they would not be processed, is that what it is exactly okay and so is there any chance that that will apply in the UK in the rest of the UK as well or is it only because of the Northern Ireland protocol that it applies in Northern Ireland?

Well, the disapplied provisions only apply in Northern Ireland,  the declarations of incompatibility of the human rights aspect are UK wide, they don’t have the function of actually disapplying the provisions in the illegal migration Act only the parts relating to the Windsor protocol, have been actually disapplied right but the court did make declarations of incompatibility with certain aspects of human rights law and we knew that was going to happen anyway because the government could not sign off to say it was human rights compliant.

So, in terms of what the reaction has been to this many people have said it might actually be a back door for the government in the sense that people who are seeking asylum in this country could go to Northern Ireland and similarly have this ruling apply to them.

They might have said that, I don’t know no they have said it I’m asking you whether it’s likely that that could happen, it might happen that’s a potential outworking. I mean does it well I suppose what I’m trying to say, what I’m trying to get out here is it now the case that if you are an asylum seeker in Britain but you’re in Northern Ireland and you’re in that part of Britain, that you will actually be more shall we say, less at risk, shall we say, of being sent to Rwanda.

Well as I mentioned it’s not directly about being sent to Rwanda, it’s about having claims dealt with yeah? I do get that but what I’m saying is you keep saying Rwanda Bill is the effect, it’s the effect though that they’re less likely to be sent to Rwanda from Northern Ireland than they might be from the rest of the UK.

The Plot: Nadine Dorries Amazon Ad

Asylum Seekers

I would imagine so yes, right so you might find that it makes it more of a sort of you know a welcoming place for Asylum Seekers to go if they wish to not be sent out of the country. It may well be yes; the law does differ in Northern Ireland as a result of yesterday’s judgment right.

Government have said they’re appealing that judgment so all remains to be seen, but they can’t really appeal the law in Northern Island can they? Yes, they reported proceedings so they can appeal and they have said yesterday that they will be appealing. They are, but on what grounds though because surely if you’re using EU law because of the Windsor framework which he in fact imparted upon the place then what’s the appeal?

What law will he use to appeal? Well, I don’t know, I haven’t seen their appeal ground yet but again that remains to be seen. Right and so as far as you’re aware you may not know the answer to this in relation to the Rwanda Bill? Do you know how many Asylum Seekers this would affect in Northern Ireland? Well, all Asylum seekers in Northern Ireland who arrived after for a particular date, you know how many that is? I don’t know how many that is, I’d imagine that’s quite low compared to the rest of the UK okay and the asylum seeker in question that you represented is that somebody who is currently being housed in a hotel?

Sorry, it’s a child. Oh it’s a child okay, is that child with a family or not with a family? It’s a child being looked after by Social Services okay, so it’s not, the child is not in a hotel obviously, or not in a home necessarily but it is under the care of social services, he’s being looked after right okay, and what would be the end result then would you say for this case, would you expect the government to change the rules to say we will obviously have to deal with these cases differently?

Windsor Framework

Well, that’s what the impact of the court judgment has, it will have to deal with cases differently once the court orders come through, that’s the impact of the law, that’s the effect of the findings the law has been disapplied. So, what that means for our client and for other people that have arrived after that date is that we hope that his claim will actually be processed. Right, lots of the provisions of the legal migration act haven’t actually come into force so this is challenging law that hasn’t been fully enforced yet and what would happen if the claim was then rejected?

Well, then he would hopefully have a right of appeal against that but if all of that, all of those things happened because the government policy stated that you know they want to try and process people quicker and then if they are unsuccessful, they want to then try and get those appeals sorted out quicker because it’s taken so long otherwise.

They would hope that if the appeals process was exhausted then that individual would be deported? Well, yeah that’s a potential route, that’s how the process works but it ultimately would be, if there’s an appeal it would be before the tribunal it would be the tribunal managing the appeal, not the government and who brought this case, then is this case on behalf of a child brought by somebody, some organization?

No, the child himself, the child how old is the child can you say? 16 okay, interesting case well Sinead, good to talk to you thank you very much indeed Sinead Marmion their solicitor and head of immigration at Phoenix law represented a 16-year-old boy I think, she said he will now remain in Northern Ireland and will not be able to be sent to Rwanda via the Rwanda Bill even though she said that’s not necessarily the whole idea of why it was done.

Donate red banner 2

Donate to Reform Nation Media