UK court declares key part of asylum policy unlawful

UK court declares key part of asylum policy unlawful
The Court of Appeals in UK on Wednesday upheld a ruling by a lower court that declared as unlawful the government fast-track system for processing asylum claims in Britain.
2 min read
29 July, 2015
Border Force check the passports of passengers at Gatwick airport, near London. [Getty]

The Court of Appeals in London on Wednesday dismissed the British governmnet appeal against an earlier ruling by a lower court, and declared unlawful so called Detained Fast Track (DFA) process.

UK authorties had suspended this system on 2 July 2015 following the eaerlier ruling from the High Court. 

According to campaigning website Detention Action, under the Fast Track system, appeals are processed according to severely truncated timescales while the asylum-seeker is in detention.  Detention Action Director Jerome Phelps said:

‘The Detained Fast Track is a fundamentally flawed process.  The courts have repeatedly found that it is structurally unfair towards people who are seeking protection in the UK.  Despite repeated changes, it has continued to be unlawfully unfair." 

Asylum-seekers and the government have a common interest in a system that is both fast and fair.  We hope that the government will work with civil society to find a different approach that does not sacrifice fairness on the altar of speed."  

The British Home Office on Tuesday revealed that 323 asylum-seekers had been released from the Fast Track since the suspension of the appeals process on 26 June, following the  judgment in the High Court. 

Until the process was suspended, any asylum seeker, from any country, could be placed on the Detained Fast Track if the Home Office considered that their case could be decided quickly.    

The Fast Track was not restricted to cases considered weak or without merit.  Many asylum-seekers on the Fast Track were from countries experiencing conflict or violence like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. 

The Britrish government said it was disappointed with the outcome and will now seek to appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United Kingdom.