LONDON - Global law firm Reed Smith represented Channel Rescue, on a pro bono basis, in a claim for judicial review of the Home Secretary’s policy to push migrants in the English Channel back to France.

Channel Rescue is a volunteer-run organisation which was set up last year to ensure the safety of migrants when crossing the Channel. Channel Rescue opposed the “pushback” policy on the basis that it was unlawful under international and UK law, including specific maritime legal duties.

The case began at the end of December 2021. The week before the High Court hearing was due to start on 3 May 2022, the Home Secretary withdrew her policy. This is a very welcome result.

The team, led by partners Michael Skrein and Richard Gunn and senior associate Ellie Ruiz, harnessed Reed Smith’s public law litigation and maritime law expertise to bring this important challenge. They worked alongside the other claimants involved in this challenge: Public Commercial and Services Union, Care4Calais and Freedom from Torture, and their legal teams.

Skrein said: “This case was about upholding the rule of law. In the week before the Divisional Court was due to decide on judicial review, the Secretary of State withdrew the pushbacks policy. We are delighted with that outcome.”

Reed Smith instructed barristers James M. Turner QC of Quadrant Chambers and Chris Buttler QC and Jim Robottom of Matrix Chambers.