Priti Patel has been told she will lose a lawsuit over her plan to return migrant boats to the other side of the Channel, according to reports.
Government lawyers have reportedly told the Home Secretary that she has a “less than 30%” chance of successfully defending the policy if challenged in court.
The legal assessment comes from internal Home Office documents obtained by The Guardian. The leaked documents reportedly said the Interior Ministry should expect a legal challenge over planned tactics to force small boats carrying migrants back into French waters.
They also say any challenge would be “damaging to reputation” and could force the Home Office to release other documents, the Guardian reported.
The tactic has already been rejected by the French government, which has warned that advancing the plan “would risk having a negative impact on our cooperation.”
They declared that “the safeguarding of human lives at sea takes priority over considerations of nationality, status and migration policy”.
British border forces personnel have already been trained in the use of ‘turnaround’ tactics, but said they would only use them if deemed safe to do so.
Priti Patel’s “turnaround” tactic would involve the border force blocking the passage of a migrant boat through British waters. The Border Force would then contact the French coast guard to tell them that there was a ship in their territorial waters that needed to be rescued.
This would then place the legal obligation for migrant boats on the French. If the migrant boat was already in British waters, border forces officers on jet skis would force it to turn around.
A Home Office tactics document reportedly explained that the legality – or vires – of the plan could be successfully challenged. He said: “While confirmation that the tactics are legal would be welcome, legal advice is that a ruling against the government is the most likely outcome with regard to ledges.”
“The lawyer indicated that the probability of successfully defending a claim on ledges is less than 30%.”
He continued, “The attorney general said the government should expect a legal challenge on the tactics. A challenge could be brought by the representatives of any migrant subjected to the tactic or by a pressure group of migrants to the police themselves.
“Although the chances of success of the challenge are the highest with regard to the ledges, a challenge would likely be brought on grounds of proportionality and the fulfillment of the government’s obligations under the Human Rights Act. ‘man. “
He also described a successful court challenge as “damaging to reputation”, saying “this must be factored into presentation consideration”.
He was also warned that “tactics may have to be put on hold pending the outcome of the court’s decision, causing months of delay.”
At least 853 people arrived in the UK on small boats last Wednesday, the highest daily number making the crossing this year.