Last month Boris Johnson presented a new policy for dealing with asylum seekers who enter the UK unlawfully, such as via small boats and lorries.
From this, Johnson has been condemned as “misleading and dangerous” for saying “liberal lawyers” are seeking to halt plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
He was also accused of “name-calling” by the Law Society.
Law Society President Stephanie Boyce said: “Anyone at risk of such a life-changing order has a right to challenge its legality with the assistance of a lawyer, who had a duty to advise their client on their rights.”
“It is misleading and dangerous for the prime minister to name-call lawyers who are doing their job and upholding the law.
Boyce reiterated that attacks like this from the highest politician in the land undermine the rule of law and can have real-life consequences.
The first flight was due to fly in May, but Downing Street has suggested that the first asylum applicants might be relocated to Africa months later.
Two distinct legal letters – known as pre-action letters – have been issued to the Home Office, which could pave the way for a formal legal challenge to the policy.
They criticise the government’s plans’ legality and focus on creating the conditions for removing asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The Home Office has also been requested by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration to disclose the reasons for declaring Rwanda a safe nation.
One of the pre-action letters has been sent on behalf of the UK charity Freedom from Torture.
Its Chief Executive Sonya Sceats said: “It seems impossible that this cruel policy can possibly comply with our international legal duties, which is why we and other organisations are preparing to challenge it in court.
“This legal action is just one part of a wider popular mobilisation against this government’s anti-refugee agenda and we are confident that compassion will prevail.”
Signing the deal in the Rwandan capital Kigali in April Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Evil people smugglers and their criminal gangs are facilitating people into Europe, resulting in loss of life and huge costs to the UK taxpayer.
“The tragic loss of life of people in the Channel and in the Mediterranean at the hands of these evil smugglers must stop.
“We have agreed that people who enter the UK illegally will be considered for relocation to Rwanda to have their asylum claim decided.
Patel continued, “And those who are resettled will be given support, including up to five years of training to help with integration, accommodation, and healthcare, so that they can resettle and thrive.”