Supreme Court due to deliver it's verdict
The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on the Chagossian case next Wednesday (29 May). Chagossians and their supporters will be present , both inside the courtroom watching and outside showing solidarity and speaking to the media. UK Chagos Support Association will be contributing a coach to bring Chagossians down from Crawley. If you'd like to directly support Chagossians attending, please give what you can. Confirmed just a few days ago, the case formally challenges the 2009 House of Lords Verdict which found that the 2004 Orders-in-Council (Royal Prerogative), which banned Chagossians from living in their homeland, were legal.
The 2004 laws were brought in in spite of a High Court verdict four years previously which had found the UK's expulsion of Chagossians illegal, and restored their right to live in their homeland. As the laws were brought in using Royal Prerogative, they avoided Parliamentary scrutiny.
Chagossians successfully challenged the legality of these orders in the High Court in 2006 and the Court of Appeal in 2007. In a final appeal, however, the House of Lords Appellate Committee (the predecessor of the Supreme Court) narrowly found the orders legal. You can read more about the significane of this case and the legal history in our latest Guest Blog by Chagos legal scholar Kinnari Bhatt.
The only hearing for the current Supreme Court case took place just over a year ago, making it the longest wait for a verdict in Supreme Court history. The verdict is due to be the first delivered by the court, so is likely to happen very early in the day-perhaps before 10AM.
The previous hearing attracted mass media attention owing to the involvement on Amal Clooney, the world famous human rights lawyer (pictured above with Chagos Refugee Group Leader Olivier Bancoult). And remember, regardless of the verdict, we need to keep pressing the Government to support a Chagossian return programme. With a new Prime Minister likely within months, the decision may be delayed or it may be rushed through. Either way, we need to show Ministers Chagossians and their supporters will not give up.