Air travelers queue at border control at Heathrow Airport.

Public Law Project, jointly with JUSTICE, has briefed the House of Commons for the Committee Stage of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

As drafted, the Bill risks creating a system where people with a legitimate basis to stay in the UK – and genuine grounds to fear removal – can be removed without effective access to justice.

As such, our briefings address specific changes that are needed within this Bill for effective access to justice and protection of the rule of law. We also highlight fundamental flaws in the overall approach of the Government to its purported aim of “increasing the fairness and efficiency of our system”.

Briefing 1: Legal Aid

This briefing focuses on the legal aid provision for a new “Priority Removal Notice” in the Bill (clause 22), highlighting the role legal aid plays in ensuring the constitutional right of access to justice and a fair and efficient immigration system.

We recommend that:

  • A new clause be inserted to provide for civil legal aid to be available in respect of all immigration matters at all stages (subject to financial eligibility and merits criteria) (see Amendment 1), or alternatively for those who are liable to removal or deportation (see Amendment 2)
  • Existing legal aid provision in the Bill (clause 22) be amended to ensure the new legal advice offer is available when a person is served with notice of removal directions under clause 43(1), and not only when they are served with a Priority Removal Notice under clause 18. (Amendment 3)

Briefing 2: Threats to access to justice

The second briefing addresses four further provisions of the Bill in Clauses 21, 24, 25, and 43.

Of particular concern are the ‘no notice removals’ in Clause 43 which remove the courts’ ability to supervise the Home Secretary’s use of her power to enforce removal.

These provisions are unjustified and if enacted could give rise to serious injustice.

Read all three briefings to the House of Commons:

legal aid

suggested amendments to legal aid services

threats to access to justice