Islington Law Centre stops 'fast-track' asylum seeker detentions

Friday, June 26th 2015

The Court of Appeal has today upheld an appeal from the Migrants' Law Project at Islington Law Centre, acting on behalf of charity Detention Action. This requires the Home Secretary to immediately suspend asylum seeker detentions under the Detained Fast Track (DFT) programme. 

The programme, ruled 'indefensible' by the High Court last year,  had been in operation for over a decade. It locked away asylum seekers who were appealing Home Office decisions where the Home Office considered that their appeals could be decided quickly. DFT was part of the government's drive to deport failed asylum seekers: originally it was aimed at those at risk of absconding, but has been expanded to encompass over 4,000 detainees last year. 

In fact, DFT has been found to be unlawful by UK courts three times, most recently earlier this month - but each time the Home Office was also allowed to continue it. Today's decision by Lord Justice Sullivan ends this delay and requires an immediate stop to the use of DFT.

Jerome Phelps, director of Detention Action, said: 

"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."

Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, head of policy and profile at Law Centres Network, said: 

"This is an important achievement benefiting all asylum seekers, ensuring they get fair and timely access to justice.  It is a testament to the tenacity of the Law Centre and the power of charities working together for the common good."

Congratulations to the Migrants' Law Project and to Detention Action! 

Click here for a report by BBC News.

Click here for a report by the Guardian.