THE Court of Appeal is set to hear challenges over the UK Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in April, a senior judge has said.

Two judges at the High Court dismissed a series of legal bids against the Home Office’s policy in December after hearings in September and October.

Lord Justice Lewis and Justice Swift previously gave the go-ahead to several individual asylum seekers and the charity Asylum Aid to appeal against their decision.

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The Court of Appeal will be asked to consider a range of issues, including whether the High Court judges were wrong to find there were sufficient safeguards to prevent asylum seekers from being returned to a country where they were at risk of persecution, and whether the scheme is “systemically unfair”.

At a preliminary hearing on Monday, Lord Justice Underhill said the Court of Appeal hearing is currently due to begin on April 25 and is set to last three days.

He said: “A number of individual asylum seekers brought claims last year challenging the decision of the Home Secretary to transfer them to Rwanda and some interested organisations also brought claims.

The National: Former home secretary Priti Patel agreed the deal with Rwanda in April 2022Former home secretary Priti Patel agreed the deal with Rwanda in April 2022

“In December last year, the High Court dismissed all those claims. The claimants can only appeal to this court, that is to say, the Court of Appeal, if either the High Court or Court of Appeal gives permission.”

On Monday, lawyers for some of the asylum seekers made bids for permission to widen the scope of their challenge against the High Court’s decision, with Lord Justice Underhill expected to give a ruling on these bids at a later date.

The hearing comes as the Government is expected to set out plans on Tuesday set to make asylum claims from those who travel to the UK on small boats inadmissible, with the migrants removed to a third country and banned from returning or claiming citizenship.

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Details about how the policy will be implemented are scarce, and critics have warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak he was putting forward “unworkable” plans which would leave thousands of migrants in limbo.

In April last year, then-home secretary Priti Patel signed an agreement with Rwanda for it to receive migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally”, and therefore inadmissible under new immigration rules.

Several challenges were brought against the proposals, which were described at the time as a “world-first agreement” in a bid to deter migrants from crossing the Channel.

The first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was then grounded amid a series of objections against individual removals and the policy as a whole.

At the High Court in London in December, senior judges rejected arguments that the plans were unlawful.

Lord Justice Lewis, sitting with Justice Swift, dismissed the challenges against the policy as a whole.

However, they did rule in favour of eight asylum seekers, finding the Government had acted wrongly in their individual cases.