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Introduction: On 29 June 2023 a majority of the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government’s plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. Rwanda is not currently a safe third country. Instead, there are substantial grounds for thinking that protection-seekers sent there would not have their claims determined properly and would be returned by Rwanda to situations where they would face persecution and other forms of serious harm (refoulement). You can watch the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, give a summary of the decision here. You can read a summary of the judgement here and the full judgment here. Overall, this judgment upholds the UK’s international legal obligations, affirms the centrality of the prohibition of refoulement, and demonstrates the importance of scrutinising the conditions that protection-seekers will actually face in countries deemed ‘safe’.

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Faculty of Law, University of Oxford

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