Campaigners say they will seek judicial review if an ‘unlawful’ policy of detaining people claiming asylum continues to be used, following a Court of Appeal ruling last week.
Detention Action, a voluntary organisation which provides support and advice to detainees, argued that the Home Office’s practice of detaining all asylum claimants pending their appeals in a fast-track system, rather than only those who met general detention criteria, was unlawful.
The Court of Appeal ruled that although detention in the fast-track by the application of ‘quick processing criteria’ after the secretary of state’s decision and pending appeal was not objectionable in principle, and did not breach Detained Fast-Track Processes Guidance, it did not satisfy clarity and transparency requirements.
‘Had it been necessary to decide the point I would have also concluded that, on the evidence before the court, it cannot at present be said to be justified,’ Lord Justice Beatson said.
Islington Law Centre and The Migrants’ Law Project, writing on behalf of Detention Action, have sent an ‘urgent letter before claim’ to the presidents of the First-Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) requesting them to immediately suspend operation of the fast-track rules, and consider all outstanding appeals under the principal First-Tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal rules.
An application for judicial review will be made if the fast-track rules continue to be applied or considered in appeals or applications for permission to appeal.
The Home Office said detained fast-track was an important part of the immigration removal system and ‘speeds up the process of removing those with no right to be here and saves money for the taxpayer’.
‘The principle of detaining applicants as part of an accelerated process for a quick decision was upheld at the High Court and it will remain part of our approach,’ a spokesman said.
The Home Office would not comment on the letter before claim, but said it was considering the judgment ‘as to how we provide greater clarity to our policy in line with the judgment’s recommendation’.