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  • AQA Component The judiciary: the role of the Supreme Court and its impact on government, legislature and policy process

  • Edexcel Component 2 (UK Government): 4.1: The Supreme Court and its interactions with, and influence over, the legislative and policymaking process

Background: what you need to know

This article is about the UK Supreme Court’s ruling against the Sunak government’s plans to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Court stated that there is a risk of them being returned from Rwanda to their country of origin, where they might face ill-treatment. Migration is a totemic issue for right-wing Conservatives. They have pushed for the UK to go ahead, defying the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. However, the Supreme Court ruling is not based solely on the ECHR but also on the UN Refugee Convention.

Sunak proposes to negotiate a treaty with Rwanda, which Parliament would vote on, that would address the Supreme Court’s concerns and enable the deportation flights to commence. However, it seems unlikely that this can be achieved before the general election, and Labour have said that they would cancel the policy if elected next year.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Sunak pledges to change the law after Supreme Court rules against Rwanda policy

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which the UK Supreme Court influences the legislative and policymaking process in the UK. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the Supreme Court exercises considerable influence over the UK legislative and policymaking process.

     In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK Politics and Core Political Ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: Discussion of other landmark Supreme Court cases can be found here: for the Shamima Begum ‘jihadi bride’ citizenship case (2021) and for the Scottish independence referendum ruling (2022).

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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