Human Rights Commission’s challenge to Illegal Migration Act 2023 heard by High Court

Law Statue canva

The High Court has this week heard a widescale challenge to the Illegal Migration Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 18 July 2023, brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The UNHCR has described the Act as “extinguish[ing] access to asylum in the UK for anyone who arrives irregularly, having passed through a country – however briefly – where they did not face persecution. It bars them from presenting refugee protection or other human rights claims, no matter how compelling their claim may be. In addition, it requires their removal to another country, with no guarantee that they will necessarily be able to access protection there. It creates sweeping new detention powers, with limited judicial oversight.”

The NIHRC argued that the Illegal Migration Act 2023 is in breach of Article 2 of the Windsor Framework (formerly NI Protocol) on the basis that it diminishes rights that were enjoyed before Brexit as a result of directly effective EU law and must, therefore, be disapplied. Such rights include those relating to: (1) the effective examination and grant of asylum claims; (2) an effective remedy; (3) prevention of removal from the UK; (4) non-refoulement; (5) detention; (6) protection from trafficking; and, (7) children. It also seeks a declaration that various aspects of the Act are incompatible with Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Media coverage includes this:




Yaaser Vanderman is acting for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, led by Adam Straw KC.

Download your shortlist

Download All Download icon