Drafting in judges and freeing up courtrooms to speed up migrant appeals show the Government is “taking every conceivable step” to get Rwanda deportation flights off the ground, Downing Street insisted.
It is understood 150 judges could be brought in to deal with cases, as part of efforts to quell concerns from rebel Tory MPs over the Rwanda Bill.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that while the Bill would ensure the bar for legal challenges is “set extremely high”, it is “also right to ensure that we have the resources to deal with the minority of claims should they arise”.
When it was put to him that some rebels argued the move was an acknowledgement that the Bill would not put a stop to legal challenges, the Number 10 official replied: “No, I think it demonstrates that we are taking every conceivable step to ensure that we can get flights off the ground as quickly as possible.
“The spurious challenges we have seen before will be blocked through the Bill, the systemic challenges will be blocked.
“We have heard from leading judges, leading lawyers, who say the Bill will do the job that it needs to do, whether that is blocking challenges on modern slavery, on asylum — those sorts of spurious challenges will not be allowed.
“But it is right, in the small minority of cases, that we have resources put in place if needed.”
Justice secretary Alex Chalk said he had asked more judges to be appointed to the First-tier and Upper Tribunal to speed up courts dealing with migrant appeals.
He told the Commons recruitment would “conclude in the next few months and new judges will be appointed, trained, and start sitting from this summer.”
In the meantime the judiciary had identified judges which could provide 5,000 additional sitting days while extra space had been prepared, making a total of 25 courtrooms available for hearings.
In a written ministerial statement to Parliament, he said: “We are confident that, with the additional courtroom and judicial capacity detailed above, in line with projected levels agreed with the Home Office the vast majority of Illegal Migration Act appeal work will be dealt with by the courts in an expedited manner.”
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