Fury as Strasbourg REFUSE to identify nameless judge who torpedoed Rwanda deportation flight

A ‘secret justice’ row erupted today after Strasbourg officials refused to identify the nameless judge who torpedoed last night’s Rwanda deportation flight.   

What is the European Court of Human Rights? Is it linked to the EU and why does the UK have to abide by its decisions?

What is the European Court of Human Rights?

The European Court of Human Rights is an international court set up in 1959 to rule on individual or state applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Its judgments are binding on the 46 Council of Europe member states that have ratified the Convention.

What is the difference between the Council of Europe and the European Union?

The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation, while the European Union is an economic and political partnership.

While Brexit represented the UK’s departure from the European Union, it is still a member of the Council of Europe and therefore bound to the European Court and European Convention on Human Rights.

What is the European Convention on Human Rights?

The European Convention on Human Rights was developed amid World War Two to ensure that governments would never again be allowed to dehumanise and abuse people’s rights with impunity.

It came into full effect in 1953 and intends to serve as a simple and flexible roundup of universal rights, which could be adapted over time.

Articles listed in the Convention include the right to a fair trial, right to liberty and security, and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

A spokesman for the ECHR told MailOnline they would not be naming the judge, claiming this was their policy on interim injunctions such as these. 

Today, furious Tory MPs blasted the anonymous judges in Strasbourg for ‘telling us how to run our own country’. 

Adding fuel to the fire, a Conservative source pointed out that it could have been Russian judge, Michael Lobov, who still sits on the ECHR and will continue to hear cases until September, despite the war in Ukraine.

A Home Office source expressed disbelief that the ECHR will not reveal who made the ruling. ‘It could have been the Russian,’ they swiped. 

The source also slated the lack of detail in the decision, adding: ‘The Court of Appeal took three judges and over an hour to deliver grounds. Europeans just whack out half a page of A4 in a press release.’

Later, a second Home Office source added : ‘We cannot find out who this judge is. They won’t tell us… it is this absurd area where we don’t know who made the decision and why and on what grounds. I am not a tin hat person, but it could be the Russian.’ 

Tory MP Mark Francois, chair of the Eurosceptic ERG group, told MailOnline: ‘Now that we have left the EU it is deeply frustrating to see another group of European judges – sometimes even anonymous ones – telling us how to run our own country.

‘The Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab, has been planning a new Bill of Rights to restrict the reach of European judges, and if no other legal means is available then they should accelerate that Bill in order to tell these judges where to stop.’ 

Former MEP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told MailOnline: ‘There is no such thing as open justice there. It’s astonishing they haven’t named the person who made the decision – you have to wonder if they are trying to hide it.  We will see if the judge is even legally trained. 

‘The ECHR judgement is a kick in the teeth for all Brexit voters. We must leave the ECHR and take back control of our borders.’  

MPs are calling for the UK to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after the ‘out of hours’ intervention to stop an Iraqi citizen being deported – just before the Boeing 767 was due to leave a Wiltshire airbase.

The dramatic move came after days of wrangling in Britain’s highest Supreme Court over the plans, which upheld the government’s right to go ahead with the flight. 

Ministers have insisted the deal with Rwanda can deter migrants from coming to the UK and save lives – pointing to the fact that yesterday 444 more people crossed the Channel in flimsy dinghies. Priti Patel has vowed to start preparing another flight immediately, and will make a defiant statement to MPs later. 

But the bold strategy has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as ‘immoral’, while Prince Charles is said to have privately branded it ‘appalling’.

The injunction from the ECHR – which is not connected to the EU – meant lawyers representing the remaining six migrants on board including more Iraqis, an Iranian, a Vietnamese and an Albanian, then lodged their appeals to judges in London before the Home Office ultimately scrapped their removal orders. 

The ECHR decided to suspend Russian judge Michael Lobov in March after his country was expelled from its governing body, the Council of Europe, following the invasion of Ukraine. 

However, he is still listed among the court’s members and will continue hearing cases until September. 

Tory MPs have blasted the anonymous judges in Strasbourg ‘telling us how to run our own country’. Pictured: The European Court of Human Rights

Adding fuel to the fire, a Conservative source pointed out that it could have been Russian judge, Michael Lobov, who still sits on the ECHR and will continue to hear cases until September, despite the war in Ukraine

Crew members board the Rwanda deportation flight Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base. Legal wrangling continued throughout Tuesday evening before the first flight due to take UK asylum seekers to Kigali was dramatically grounded

Crew members board the Rwanda deportation flight Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base. Legal wrangling continued throughout Tuesday evening before the first flight due to take UK asylum seekers to Kigali was dramatically grounded

Why did the ECHR step in to block the flight?

The Rwanda flight was cancelled after the ECHR ruled in favour of a 54-year-old Iraqi man, understood to have travelled to the UK by boat in May and thought to have been tortured in the past.

An unnamed judge effectively barred the man, identified only as KN, from being sent to Rwanda under its rules which apply when there is an ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’.

The court pointed out that Rwanda was outside its jurisdiction, stressing ‘the fact that Rwanda is outside the Convention legal space (and is therefore not bound by the European Convention on Human Rights) and the absence of any legally enforceable mechanism for the applicant’s return to the United Kingdom in the event of a successful merits challenge before the domestic court’.  

It added that the UK Government must not remove KN until three weeks after the full judicial review by the UK High Court has taken place into the legality of the Rwanda policy.

The ruling effectively overturned a series of decisions by British courts – including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court – that had allowed the Rwanda flight to go ahead. 

At 10pm the final migrant was on board the plane, which cost the taxpayer an estimated £500,000 to charter, when he was told he was not flying to Africa. 

Boris Johnson had already floated the idea of walking away from the ECHR earlier in the afternoon – a step that has previously been taken by Greece, who have since rejoined, and Russia. The UK helped found the international body, which now has nearly 50 members.

Mr Johnson – who will take PMQs later – is understood to have met Tory MPs last night and made no secret of his ire. ‘To say he is frustrated is an understatement,’ one of those present told MailOnline. 

However, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey played down the prospect of the UK quitting the ECHR this morning, saying there were ‘no decisions or even hints about that’. 

Pensions minister Guy Opperman said the ruling had merely been a ‘setback’. ‘I don’t believe it is our policy, nor would it be something I will be advocating for withdrawing from the ECHR.’ 

Another Cabinet minister told MailOnline that the best solution was simply to ignore the ECHR.

‘The ECHR decisions, unlike the European Court of Justice, do not have direct effect so can simply be overridden. 

‘When our own courts accept something is legal we should not allow an oddly constituted international court to overrule the democratic process. 

‘We should assert Parliamentary sovereignty.’ 

The government has previously looked at the possibility of leaving the body but shied away from it.

One major stumbling block is that the ECHR is written into the text of both the Good Friday Agreement and the EU trade deal.  

A dinghy sails perilously close to a massive tanker in the Channel yesterday as judges in Strasbourg intervened in the row over flights to Rwanda

A dinghy sails perilously close to a massive tanker in the Channel yesterday as judges in Strasbourg intervened in the row over flights to Rwanda

Priti Patel's Rwanda plan received a boost last night after judges refused to block today's flight. The Home Secretary is seen today

Home Secretary Priti Patel last night defiantly vowed to plough ahead with her Rwanda relocation plan despite a European judge’s extraordinary 11th-hour intervention blocked the first flight from ever leaving the runway

Ministers face a struggle to contain outrage on Tory benches, with the MP WhatsApp groups on fire last night. 

Who is Michael Lobov? Columbia graduate and ECHR veteran

Lobov was born in 1971 in Chelyabinsk, a city in central Russia close to the Ural Mountains. An online CV lists his first job as an internship in the diplomatic service at the Russian Embassy in Cameroon.

He took this role in 1991, the year in which the Soviet Union finally collapsed. After gaining a degree in Law at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, he gained further qualifications at the University of Strasbourg before becoming a legal officer at the European Court of Human Rights.

After further study at Columbia University in New York, he returned for several more roles at the ECHR before being named as a judge on January 2, 2022.

Earlier this year he was part of a panel of judges who found Russia had violated the rights of one of its citizens by subjecting them to secret surveillance.

The ECHR decided to suspend Lobov in March after his country was expelled from its governing body, the Council of Europe, following the invasion of Ukraine.

However, he is still listed among the court’s members and will continue hearing cases until September.

One said of the ECHR: ‘It’s time we kicked these b*****ds  into touch. For once I won’t apologise for my French’. 

James Sutherland, an aide to Environment Secretary George Eustice, is said to have told a group: ‘Did we expect any less? Outrageous that the UK is still beholden to the ECHR as a sovereign nation’.

Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns said: ‘Yes let’s withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights and stop their meddling in British law.’ 

Another Conservative, Greg Smith, said: ‘What last night showed is we now need the same speed and urgency to bring in a UK Bill of Rights and remove all power of the European Court of Human Rights over our sovereign decisions.’ 

A Downing Street source told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s an abomination that after domestic courts have repeatedly ruled in the Government’s favour, that an out-of-hours judge in the European Court has intervened to block the removal of illegal migrants to Rwanda.’

Another insider said: ‘European judges grounded the whole thing despite the Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Appeal ruling in favour of the Government. It is appalling. One out-of-hours European judge has overruled days and days of debate in the UK courts on the papers alone’.

The Ministry of Defence has revealed that a total of 444 people were detected crossing the English Channel in small boats yesterday. That was the highest since 562 were recorded on April 14.

Some 11 boats were detected with an average of 40 people on each.

Ms Patel last night defiantly vowed to plough ahead with her Rwanda relocation plan.

In a strongly-worded rebuttal of the Strasbourg justice’s ruling, she said she would not be ‘deterred from doing the right thing’. 

Ms Patel admitted the policy ‘will not be easy to deliver’ but expressed optimism that the Government would be able to overcome left-wing lawyers’ repeated legal challenges. 

In a round of interviews this morning, Ms Coffey said she is ‘highly confident’ the Government will be able to go ahead with other Rwanda flights. 

A private charter jet (believed to be empty of passengers) leaves MOD Boscombe Down after it was refused permission to take-off for Rwanda

A private charter jet (believed to be empty of passengers) leaves MOD Boscombe Down after it was refused permission to take-off for Rwanda

Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt Tuesday's first flight transporting UK asylum seekers to Rwanda

Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt Tuesday’s first flight transporting UK asylum seekers to Rwanda

Ms Coffey said ministers were ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the ECHR rules – swiping that she had never known it to act so quickly.

‘The Government is disappointed by the decision. I have never known such a quick decision made by somebody at the ECHR. 

‘I think the public will be surprised at European judges overruling British judges,’ she told Sky News.

‘Nevertheless I know the Home Office is already getting ready for the next flight and we will continue to prepare and try and overturn any future legal challenges as well.’

Asked if how confident she was the next flight would be able to go ahead, she said: ‘I am highly confident.

‘This decision was taken at a rapid pace yesterday. As a consequence it is right that the Government continues to try and make sure we deter unsafe, illegal routes of trying to enter the country because the only people who benefit are unscrupulous people traffickers, often trying to put people into modern slavery as well.’

One senior Tory MP told MailOnline that the migrant issue is far bigger than Partygate and Mr Johnson will be in deeper trouble if he does not ‘fix’ it.

‘They have got to do something. If not the government will look incompetent,’ the MP said.

‘In my inbox, consistently for months, the biggest thing by far has been Channel boats.

‘The government has to fix it.’  

Six people are due to be transferred on tonight's first flight to Rwanda, after one asylum seeker's removal was called off by the European Court of Human Rights

Six people are due to be transferred on tonight’s first flight to Rwanda, after one asylum seeker’s removal was called off by the European Court of Human Rights

Boris Johnson, pictured at Cabinet yesterday, turned his fire on lawyers whom he accused of 'abetting the work of criminal gangs'

Boris Johnson, pictured at Cabinet yesterday, turned his fire on lawyers whom he accused of ‘abetting the work of criminal gangs’

Although by yesterday just seven migrants were due to be sent to Rwanda, defiant ministers had insisted the flight would go ahead even if there was only one person on board.

Home Secretary Priti Patel hits out at European judges thwarting her Rwanda relocation plan at the 11th hour

Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted the Rwanda policy is vital to prevent a repeat of tragedies such as the drowning of 27 men, women and children on November 24 last year. 

She said: ‘Earlier this year, I signed a world-leading Migration Partnership with Rwanda to see those arriving dangerously, illegally, or unnecessarily into the UK relocated to build their lives there. 

‘This will help break the people smugglers’ business model and prevent loss of life, while ensuring protection for the genuinely vulnerable.

‘Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. The demands on the current system, the cost to the taxpayer, and the flagrant abuses are increasing, and the British public have rightly had enough.

‘I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart.

‘It is very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened despite repeated earlier success in our domestic courts. 

‘These repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other removals flights and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.’

The High Court is due to hold a judicial review in July to decide on the legality of the Rwanda scheme.

However, the Supreme Court had refused to step in to block the flights in advance. 

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy dismissed the idea of leaving the ECHR, saying it would be a ‘grave thing’ to do.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘It protects all of our rights, our rights to privacy, our rights at work, our rights if we’re in rented accommodation with landlords, all sorts of things that affect all of our lives.

‘And it’s a very grave thing to suggest that those courts should not look at this scheme properly.’

London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan immediately celebrated the news as it was confirmed the flight had been called off. 

He tweeted: ‘Tonight’s inhumane deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda has been stopped by the ECtHR – minutes before it was due to depart.

‘Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous. It’s now potentially unlawful too.’

Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon added: ‘Whilst we are relieved to hear the flight to Rwanda did not take off as planned tonight it is clear that the Government remain determined to press on with this deal. 

‘The fact that the final flight could not take off is indicative of the inhumanity of the plan and the Government’s complete refusal to see the face behind the case.’

A group of protesters had gathered outside Colnbrook Detention Centre in Heathrow yesterday afternoon and lay on the ground in an effort to halt the flight. 

But the cancellation was eventually forced after the ECHR ruled in favour of a 54-year-old Iraqi man, understood to have travelled to the UK by boat in May and thought to have been tortured in the past.

An unnamed judge effectively barred the man, identified only as KN, from being sent to Rwanda under its rules which apply when there is an ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’. 

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and demonstrators protest outside the Home Office in London against plans to send migrants to Rwanda

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and demonstrators protest outside the Home Office in London against plans to send migrants to Rwanda

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: 'Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous'

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: ‘Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous’

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper highlighted the £120million fee paid to the Rwanda government over the scheme, which has so far failed to resettle any migrants

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper highlighted the £120million fee paid to the Rwanda government over the scheme, which has so far failed to resettle any migrants

Demonstrators gathered in George Square, Glasgow, earlier today against the government plans to send migrants to Rwanda

Demonstrators gathered in George Square, Glasgow, earlier today against the government plans to send migrants to Rwanda

The court pointed out that Rwanda was outside its jurisdiction, stressing ‘the fact that Rwanda is outside the Convention legal space (and is therefore not bound by the European Convention on Human Rights) and the absence of any legally enforceable mechanism for the applicant’s return to the United Kingdom in the event of a successful merits challenge before the domestic court’.  

It added that the UK Government must not remove KN until three weeks after the full judicial review by the UK High Court has taken place into the legality of the Rwanda policy.

The ruling effectively overturned a series of decisions by British courts – including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court – that had allowed the Rwanda flight to go ahead.

Left-wing activists and lawyers had launched a string of legal challenges against the Home Office. Some had prevented individuals being placed on the passenger list, but attempts to win an injunction blocking the whole policy resoundingly failed.

At that stage, lawyers for KN went to Strasbourg. As the complex series of last-minute legal wrangles unfolded, hundreds of migrants crossed the Channel on small boats yesterday. 

The controversial plans are due to undergo a Judicial Review in July and have attracted criticism from church leaders, lawyers and left-wing politicians (Pictured: today's protest in Glasgow)

The controversial plans are due to undergo a Judicial Review in July and have attracted criticism from church leaders, lawyers and left-wing politicians (Pictured: today’s protest in Glasgow)

Protesters gathered at the perimeter of MoD Boscombe Down, near Salisbury, where the Boeing 767 aircraft was due to embark on a flight to Rwanda with seven asylum seekers

Protesters gathered at the perimeter of MoD Boscombe Down, near Salisbury, where the Boeing 767 aircraft was due to embark on a flight to Rwanda with seven asylum seekers

The protesters waved banners saying'refugees welcome' and gave interviews to the media assembled outside the military base

The protesters waved banners saying’refugees welcome’ and gave interviews to the media assembled outside the military base

Timeline of defeat: How the first flight to Rwanda failed to take off 

Tuesday was meant to mark the first flight of the Government’s much-vaunted Rwanda resettlement scheme for UK asylum seekers.

At the start of the day, just seven names remained of the 130 on the original passenger list after a series of legal  challenges. So how did the day unfold?

12.42pm – The Supreme Court rejected an appeal over a judge’s refusal to call off the removal of an asylum seeker due to be deported. 

2.05pm – The first of four appeals before the High Court was rejected by Lord Justice Swift.

2.30pm – The second and third asylum seekers’ appeals were also refused at the High Court by Lord Swift.

3.30pm – The Prime Minister admits it may be ‘necessary to change some laws’ in an interview with Sky News to allow the Rwanda resettlement scheme.

4.30pm – A fourth asylum seeker’s claim is also rejected at the High Court by Lord Swift. 

4.35pm – A Boeing 767 aircraft is spotted on the runway at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

4.40pm – Rwanda government spokeswoman Yolande Maloki defends the resettlement scheme in a press conference and insists it is not a punishment.

6.10pm – Protesters from ‘Stop Deportations!’ block the exit routes from Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow.

6.40pm – In a decisive turning point, the European Court of Human Rights passes an injunction preventing a 54-year-old Iraqi man from being transferred on the flight. 

6.55pm – Around five Home Office vans are spotted at MoD Boscombe Down. 

7.20pm – Speculation mounts whether the flight will go ahead after the ECHR’s ruling.

7.45pm – Demonstrators gather at the front of Mod Boscombe Down waving banners. 

9.30pm – There are reports of just three asylum seekers on the plane, which was due to take off shortly.

10pm – Reports emerge that there is just one asylum seeker left on the plane amid confusion over whether it will depart.

10.10pm – The final asylum seeker is removed from the Boeing 767 aircraft, at which point it  is announced the flight has been cancelled.

An estimated 400 people – including a heavily-pregnant woman, babies and small children – risked their lives to reach Dover in the perilous crossing from northern France. 

Yesterday’s unconfirmed number of arrivals is thought to have brought the total since the start of the year to more than 10,600.

Ms Patel has insisted the Rwanda policy is vital to prevent a repeat of tragedies such as the drowning of 27 men, women and children on November 24 last year.

In her statement last night she said: ‘Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now…

‘Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. The demands on the current system, the cost to the taxpayer, and the flagrant abuses are increasing, and the British public have rightly had enough.

‘I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart.

‘It is very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened despite repeated earlier success in our domestic courts. 

‘These repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other removals flights and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.’

In an interview with BBC’s Newsnight, former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption said it was unclear if the Strasbourg ruling should stop flights and that the enforceability of the interim Strasbourg judgement is a controversial question.

Lortd Sumption added: ‘This isn’t a final judgement of the Strasbourg court, it’s an interim judgement and what is more, that particular article is not one of the ones incorporated into UK law of the Human Rights Act. A more difficult question is what position is there in international law.

‘On the face of it there is nothing in the convention that gives effect to orders of the Strasbourg court.’

Four men who challenged their removal at the High Court in London had their cases dismissed yesterday, while a fifth man lost a bid to bring an appeal at the Supreme Court. 

Baroness Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty and former Labour shadow attorney general, condemned the Government for going ahead with the plan before the Court of Appeal’s final verdict on the lawfulness of offshore processing, because of an ongoing ‘culture war’.

She said: ‘Would it not have been open to the Home Office to hold off removals until then or is it a confected culture war so that other ministers make these remarks about ‘leftie lawyers’ thwarting the will of the people, and that these souls, these seven or so souls, are collateral damage in that culture war.’ 

Lord Coaker, shadow spokesman for home affairs and defence, branded the Government’s Rwanda policy ‘unethical, unworkable and expensive, and flies in the face of British values’.

Why are European judges ruling in Britain despite Brexit? What will happen to the next Rwanda flight? Your questions about today’s migrant drama answered

By Mark Duell for MailOnline 

The first deportation flight of migrants to Rwanda which had been due to take off yesterday was cancelled at the last-minute following a major intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

All migrants were removed from the plane at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire after the court granted an urgent interim measure in regards to an Iraqi national, and was considering a number of further requests.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the European Court of Human Rights intervention as ‘very surprising’, adding that ‘many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next’.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted the Government would not be deterred from its policy, here are some of the key questions surrounding the European court and how it relates to the UK and this case:

Why does a European court have jurisdiction in the UK after Brexit?

The European Court of Human Rights is an international court set up in 1959 to rule on individual or state applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.

While Britain officially left the European Union on January 1, 2021, it did not leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

That means judgements by the European Court of Human Rights are still binding on Britain, because it is one of the 46 Council of Europe member states that have ratified the Convention.

While Brexit stopped European Union law superseding UK law, including on areas such as agriculture, it did not affect the standing of the European Convention on Human Rights in Britain.

The Human Rights Act of 1998 – when Tony Blair’s New Labour government was in power – enshrined the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, allowing the rights guaranteed by the Convention to be enforced in UK courts.

The Government has previously vowed to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new Bill of Rights, after a pledge to reform human rights laws was included in the Tory manifesto in 2019. 

So why did the European Court of Human Rights intervene in the Rwanda flight?

Left-wing lawyers appealed through the UK court system in the case of an Iraqi asylum seeker, referred to as KN, who was due to be on the first flight to Rwanda last night.

They appealed on the grounds of whether Britain’s policy is in accordance with the Human Rights Act, whether   the Home Secretary has the right to carry out the removals, the rationality of her claim that Rwanda is generally a ‘safe third country’ and whether there is enough malaria prevention in the country.

Having exhausted High Court and Supreme Court routes in the UK to prevent KN being put on the flight, the man’s lawyers went to the European Court of Human Rights, which they could do because Britain is still a member of this despite Brexit.

The European Court of Human Rights then issued an interim measure in a last-ditch intervention, which said KN should not be sent to Rwanda until a full decision on the legality of the Government’s policy has been reached in the domestic courts. 

The court also said it was effectively barring KN from being sent to Rwanda under its rules which apply when there is an ‘imminent risk of irreparable harm’.

The appeals are understood to have been considered by an out-of-hours judge on papers, overruling the UK rulings. It is understood the European Court of Human Rights was considering a number of further requests.

The European Court of Human Rights added that the UK Government must not remove KN until three weeks after a full judicial review by the UK High Court has taken place into the legality of the policy – which is due in late July.

What happens next in the courts?

A full High Court review of the Rwanda policy is expected in July.

In its ruling, the European Court of Human Right acknowledged concerns about access to ‘fair and efficient procedures for the determination of refugee status’ in Rwanda.

It also considered the fact that Rwanda is not part of the European human rights framework and the absence of ‘any legally enforceable mechanism’ to return KN to the UK if there is a successful legal challenge to the policy.

The court ruled that KN should not be removed until three weeks after the delivery of the ‘final domestic decision in the ongoing judicial review proceedings’ – something which could put the Government’s Rwanda policy on ice for months.

Can the UK ignore the European Court of Human Rights?

Some ministers are calling for the UK to ignore the ECHR ruling, arguing that its ruling can simply be overidden. Previously, the UK ignored ECHR rulings on prisoner voting.  

One Cabinet minister told MailOnline: ‘The ECHR decisions, unlike the European Court of Justice, do not have direct effect so can simply be overridden.’ 

‘When our own courts accept something is legal we should not allow an oddly constituted international court to overrule the democratic process. We should assert Parliamentary sovereignty.’

A decision to ignore the ECHR could prompt further legal challenges and protests.  

The grounded Rwanda deportation flight EC-LZO Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base in Wiltshire last night

The grounded Rwanda deportation flight EC-LZO Boeing 767 at Boscombe Down Air Base in Wiltshire last night

What will happen to the next Rwanda flight?

The Government still intends to go ahead with the next deportation flight to Rwanda – with Home Secretary Priti Patel saying that preparation ‘begins now’, adding that she will ‘not be deterred from doing the right thing’.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she is ‘highly confident’ that the Government will be able to go ahead with the policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda. She told how the Home Office is ‘already getting ready for the next flight and we will to continue to prepare and try and overturn any future legal challenges as well’.

Ms Coffey also said ministers were ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and she has ‘never known such a quick decision made by somebody at the ECHR’.

But human rights lawyer Frances Swaine, who represents a man due to be flown to Rwanda, said the Government should wait until a judicial review is heard before attempting another deportation flight to the country.

‘The European Court of Human Rights has recommended that there are no other flights proposals put together until the substantial judicial review hearing into the whole policy is heard’, she told the BBC. ‘We’re expecting that that would take place in about six weeks time during July although we don’t have a firm date for it yet.

‘And I think if I was the Government, which obviously I’m not, but if I was, I would be sitting back and thinking was it worth it, either from a financial or a legal perspective, to organise one of these very expensive flights again when they’ve been so unsuccessful this time around on legal grounds.

‘Because there will be a decision in July as to whether or not this policy can be extant, or whether there would need to be some changes to the law if the Government was absolutely determined to see it through. But wait until we have the decision first and then decide whether to go ahead.’

What is the European Convention on Human Rights?

The European Convention on Human Rights was developed amid the Second World War to ensure that governments would never again be allowed to dehumanise and abuse people’s rights with impunity.

It came into full effect in 1953 and intends to serve as a simple and flexible roundup of universal rights, which could be adapted over time.

Articles listed in the Convention include the right to a fair trial, right to liberty and security, and the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

How does the European Convention relate to the UK’s Human Rights Act?

The UK was the very first nation to ratify the convention in March of 1951.

The Human Rights Act of 1998 enshrined the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, allowing the rights guaranteed by the Convention to be enforced in UK courts.

However, the Government has vowed to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new Bill of Rights, after a pledge to reform human rights laws was included in the Tory manifesto in 2019.

The Government said the changes will strengthen ‘freedom of speech’ and bring ‘proper balance’ between the rights of individuals and effective politics.

Could the UK leave the European Convention on Human Rights to get the policy through?

The Government has already committed to a shake-up of human rights laws but the intervention of the European court will fuel demands for the UK to leave the convention entirely.

The Prime Minister did not rule out such a drastic measure when questioned about it yesterday, ahead of the Strasbourg court’s injunction. But leaving the ECHR – which emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War – would be a significant step which could have major knock-on effects on other international agreements.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, the ECHR underpins human rights guarantees in Northern Ireland. Remaining signed up to the ECHR also helps ensure judicial and legal co-operation with the EU under the terms of Brexit.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she doesn’t know of any moves for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, saying: ‘Right now I am not aware of any decisions or even hints about that.’

Ms Coffey told how she instead expected the Government would contest the ruling, saying: ‘The most important thing is that we tackle this issue right now. We will go back, I am sure, to the ECHR to challenge this initial ruling.’

Does this mean the Rwanda migrants plan is illegal?

This is a major issue of contention. Campaigners for the individuals selected for the first flight have already argued in court that if the policy is eventually ruled unlawful, anyone sent to Rwanda would have to be brought back. 

The United Nations refugee agency warned the Home Office twice that the move to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, saying that this was because of the risk of refugees being refouled by the African country.

Refoulement is where refugees or asylum seekers are forcibly sent back to a country where they could face persecution, and is illegal under international law – something the UN has responsibility for overseeing.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also described the policy as ‘potentially unlawful’, but the Home Office has defended it and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government had anticipated ‘a lot of teething problems’.

Court of Appeal president Lord Reed said yesterday there had been an ‘assurance’ that, if the Government’s policy is found to be unlawful, steps would be taken to bring back any migrants flown there in the interim.

Will the government have to pass a new law?

Passing a new law enacting the Rwanda policy through the Commons and Lords could bypass the current legal challenges to the policy. But left-wing lawyers could still try to argue that the Human Rights Act supersedes the new law.

What will happen to the asylum seekers who were meant to be on the flight?

The migrants are likely to have been returned to a detention centre after being taken off the flight, and Home Secretary Priti Patel said that ‘many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next’.

The ECHR ruling said the migrant known as KN should not be removed until three weeks after a full judicial review by the UK High Court has taken place into the legality of the policy

What would have happened to the migrants sent to Rwanda?

The first migrants to arrive in Rwanda were expected to have been flown into a private terminal at Kigali’s international airport before being taken straight to accommodation at Hope Hostel – where they will be given a chance to rest, eat and settle in, as well as being tested for Covid-19, before they are processed.

The Rwandan government said this is the only facility being used for initial accommodation under the plan so far. Hope Hostel can sleep 100 people, although plans for expansion could see another block built on the site.

A large tent has been erected next door and is understood to be where the processing will take place. Within 24 hours of arrival, migrants will get a three-month residency in Rwanda while their immigration status is decided. 

The immigration department will submit a file for the consideration committee within 15 days, after which a decision is expected to be reached within a further 45 days, the Rwandan Ministry of Justice said. The new arrivals will not need to submit an asylum claim, but those who do will have this considered in the first instance.

Anyone without an asylum claim, or one that is rejected, will then be considered under wider immigration rules with a view to provide a right to residency and to work. The government said it had boosted staff numbers and resources to make the process as efficient as possible and hopes to consider claims within three months.

While their immigration status is determined, migrants will take part in an ‘orientation’ programme to help them adjust to their new life in Rwanda – if they choose to stay – with information about the country such as the weather and geography as well as a tour of the area. Food and accommodation will be provided and paid for.

Migrants will also be given a monthly allowance of 100,000RWF a month (roughly £90) to help pay for essentials. Meanwhile they will be given access to language classes and translation services as well as legal advice.

What does Rwanda say about last night’s cancelled flight?

Rwandan government spokesman Yolande Makolo said that the country is ‘not deterred by these developments’.

She added: ‘Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many. Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country.’

The Rwandan government has already hit back at ‘insulting’ criticism of plans to send migrants there, saying  opponents were ‘missing the bigger picture’ about efforts to improve the standard of living and offer better opportunities so their young people do not move to Europe as well as provide a safe haven for refugees.

Schoolchildren walk along a street among pedestrians in Kigali, Rwanda, today following the dramatic flight cancellation

Schoolchildren walk along a street among pedestrians in Kigali, Rwanda, today following the dramatic flight cancellation

Why does the UK government want to fly the migrants to Rwanda? 

The Government says it welcomes refugees who come by approved immigration routes, but wants to put the criminal smuggling gangs who operate dangerous Channel crossings out of business.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that the ‘Migration Partnership’ with Rwanda aims to ‘see those arriving dangerously, illegally, or unnecessarily into the UK relocated to build their lives there’.

The Government has spoken about breaking the business model of people smugglers amid concerns over the demands on the current system and the cost to the taxpayer of regular crossings over the Channel.

At a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that what the ‘criminal gangs are doing and what … those who effectively are abetting the work of the criminal gangs are doing, is undermining people’s confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people’s general acceptance of immigration’.

Speaking earlier this week, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: ‘I think it’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the Channel is going to be broken – is being broken – by this Government.

‘They are selling people a false hope, they are luring them into something extremely risky and criminal.’

Ms Patel has said the ‘vast majority’ of those who arrive in the UK through means deemed ‘illegal’ – such as on unauthorised boats or stowed away in lorries – will be considered for relocation.

More than 28,000 migrants entered the UK across the Channel last year, up from 8,500 in 2020, and about 10,000 have arrived so far this year. Dozens have died, including 27 people in November when a single boat capsized. 

Why do some people object?

Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon said the threat of removal will cause ‘human suffering, distress and chaos’ with ‘far reaching consequences for desperate people who are simply in need of safety’.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said the policy is ‘inhumane’, while Prince Charles is also understood to have privately condemned the scheme as ‘appalling’.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and other senior bishops suggested the Rwanda scheme breached Christian values, writing in a joint letter to the Times: ‘Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.

‘The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.’

The letter went on to describe those facing removal as ‘the vulnerable that the Old Testament calls us to value’ and urged the creation of safe migration routes to combat ‘evil’ traffickers.

Migration and refugee groups point out that there are no approved legal routes for most people, with the exception of those fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine.   

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