Press Release on Asylum Aid launching legal action against the Home Office’s Safety of Rwanda policy.

Asylum Aid has launched legal action against the Home Office’s new Safety of Rwanda policy, published on 29 April 2024, on grounds that it is inconsistent with the Safety of Rwanda Act which got Royal Assent on 25 April. We have sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Office, highlighting that its policy, which details how the Act will be implemented, fundamentally misunderstands the Act, and seeks to undermine the will of the Parliament as reflected in the Act. 

The Home Office’s policy, which was issued on 29th April, requires its caseworkers to assume that Rwanda is generally safe, as set out in section 2 of the Rwanda Act.  It goes on to instruct caseworkers that when considering any protection claim made by a person being sent to Rwanda, they “must” conclude that Rwanda is safe, even if presented with compelling evidence that it is not safe for that person based on their individual circumstances. It also tells caseworkers that they “must not consider claims on the basis that Rwanda will or may remove or send the person in question to an unsafe state”. This, however, is at odds with the Rwanda Act, section 4, which allows a person seeking asylum to challenge their removal to Rwanda on the basis of “compelling evidence relating specifically to the person’s particular individual circumstances” that Rwanda is not safe for them. 

As a charity that provides free and high-quality legal representation to people seeking asylum in the UK, we are concerned that this inconsistency between the Act and the Policy will lead to the Home Office refusing to consider compelling evidence of individual risk, and it will impede our ability to properly advise our clients on their cases. We are also concerned that the Home Office’s policy, which could lead to it unlawfully denying people seeking asylum from being admitted into the UK asylum system, puts individuals who are unable to access effective legal representation at great risk. Therefore, we have brought forth this legal action to urge the Home Office to amend its policy to bring it into line with the Safety of Rwanda Act.

Through this formal letter, we have urged the Home Office to amend its policy in line with the Safety of Rwanda Act as we understand it. If the Home Office does not amend its policy, we intend to proceed with a judicial review to ask the High Court to rule on whether the Home Office has correctly interpreted the Rwanda Act when publishing its policy. 

In this case, we are represented by law firm Leigh Day


Executive Director of Asylum Aid, Alison Pickup, said:

“There is a lack of information on when flights to Rwanda will take off and who will be on them, but the government has made clear that it is determined to act quickly as we have already seen the Home Office carrying out forcible detentions. The panic this causes is made worse by the limited capacity to provide high quality legal representation in the legal aid and charity sector. We have brought forward this legal action to ensure that the Home Office properly considers any individual cases against removal to Rwanda, including on the grounds that they would be returned from Rwanda to the place they fled.”


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Asylum Aid is a leading provider of high-quality legal representation to people with complex cases who are seeking asylum in the UK. For over 30 years, Asylum Aid has worked with survivors of trafficking and torture, stateless people, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people seeking asylum to help them gain legal protection in the UK. Since 2020, Asylum Aid is part of the Helen Bamber Foundation Group.