Home Office suspends Detained Fast Track Asylum Process

02.07.15 | |

Today the Minister of State for Immigration suspended the Home Office policy of detaining asylum seekers for the purposes of processing their asylum claims and appeals under accelerated timescales.  This policy, known as the Detained Fast Track, has been in place since 2000. It was initially found to be lawful by the House of Lords and Court of Appeal in two judgments in Saadi [2002] 1 W.L.R. 3131 and Refugee Legal Centre [2005] 1 W.L.R. 2219. In 2013, however, the charity Detention Action commenced a series of legal challenges to its fairness and lawfulness. After three judgments in which the High Court and Court of Appeal declared that various aspects of the Detained Fast Track, including the appeals process, were unlawful (see  Detention Action v SSHD [2014] EWHC 2245 (Admin)Detention Action v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 1634, and Detention Action v First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) & Ors [2015] EWHC 1689 (Admin)), the Home Office has finally taken the decision to suspend it, albeit temporarily. The Minister announced as follows:


Recently the system has come under significant legal challenge, including on the appeals stage of the process. Risks surrounding the safeguards within the system for particularly vulnerable applicants have also been identified to the extent that we cannot be certain of the level of risk of unfairness to certain vulnerable applicants who may enter DFT.


In light of these issues, I have decided to temporarily suspend the operation of the detained fast track policy. I hope this pause to be short in duration, perhaps only a matter of weeks, but I will only resume operation of this policy when I am sure the right structures are in place to minimise any risk of unfairness. 


Please see the announcement here:


Charlotte Kilroy together with Nathalie Lieven QC was instructed on behalf of Detention Action by Migrants Law Project.


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