The Court of Appeal has today finally brought to a halt the Detained Fast Track appeals process for asylum-seekers in detention.
The Court of Appeal has lifted with immediate effect the stay on the High Court Order of 12 June 2015 ruling that the Fast Track appeals process is unlawful.
As a result, the Home Office can no longer impose the tight Fast Track deadlines on asylum seekers making appeals in detention. Asylum-seekers can no longer be detained throughout the asylum process simply for claiming asylum.
The Fast Track has now been found to be unlawful three times by the British courts. Until now, on each occasion the Home Office has been permitted to continue operating it.
Any asylum seeker, from any country, can be placed on the Detained Fast Track if the Home Office considers that their case can be decided quickly. The Fast Track is not restricted to cases considered weak or without merit. Many asylum-seekers on the Fast Track are from countries experiencing conflict or violence like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
The High Court two weeks ago quashed the procedural rules governing the Detained Fast Track asylum appeals, under which appeals are processed according to severely truncated timescales. Mr Justice Nicol concluded that the Fast Track Rules ‘do incorporate structural unfairness’, and were therefore unlawful.
However, Mr Justice Nicol granted the government a stay on the Order until the government’s appeal is heard, on the grounds of the inconvenience to the government of suspending the process. This stay has now been lifted.
Speaking from outside the Court of Appeal today, our Director, Jerome Phelps, said:
‘We are delighted that asylum-seekers will no longer face a detained appeals process that is so unfair as to be unlawful. It is unfortunate that it has taken so many court rulings to finally suspend this deeply flawed process. People seeking protection from war and persecution deserve better from British justice. We hope that the government will take this opportunity to reflect and develop a different approach that is fair.’