Fast track asylum system ‘unlawful’

Published: Friday 12th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The Government’s fast track appeal system for processing asylum applications has been declared unlawful by the High Court.

A judge ruled the system, which has been in use for a decade to speed up the processing of asylum seeker claims, is “structurally unfair”.

Mr Justice Nicol, sitting in London, said the system must be quashed but put a stay on his order taking effect to give the Lord Chancellor and Home Secretary time to appeal his decision to the Court of Appeal.

The ruling is a groundbreaking victory for the charity Detention Action, set up in 1993 to support and campaign on behalf of individuals held in immigration detention.

The group states: “Many asylum seekers on the detained fast track are confused and distressed.

“Held in conditions equivalent to a high-security prison, they struggle to understand a complex procedure in an unfamiliar and hostile environment in which clear information is not always easily available.

“Such circumstances pose considerable obstacles to asylum seekers’ ability to engage effectively with the asylum process.

“Time is always against the asylum seeker on the detained fast track.”

The judge said in his ruling: “What seems to me to make the fast track rules structurally unfair is the serious procedural disadvantage which comes from the abbreviated timetable and curtailed case management powers, together with the imposition of this disadvantage on the (asylum seeker)…”

Published: Friday 12th June 2015 by The News Editor

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