‘Last year’s Supreme Court decision in R (AAA) v Home Secretary – which found the British government’s Rwanda policy to be unlawful – has reignited broader debates about the position of a government which commands a majority in Parliament vis a vis the judiciary, the separation of powers, the extent to which legislating against judicial decisions is constitutionally proper or compatible with the rule of law, and the appropriateness of disapplying sections of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998). This post does not restate or reengage with such topics; substantive attention has already been given by Tom Hickman KC, Professor Mark Elliott, Adam Tucker, Professor Sarah Singer, and Richard Ekins KC et al. Neither does it take a position on the feasibility or desirability of any specific government policy, the continued operation of HRA 1998, or membership of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Instead, this post will argue that the backlash to and disapproval of the British government’s response to R (AAA) – the introduction of the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which, amongst other measures, allows Parliament to diverge from the Supreme Court’s judgment – neatly evidences the intended effect of New Labour and Lord Derry Irvine’s HRA 1998 system and judicial reforms.’
UK Constitutional Law Association, 15th January 2024