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The Detained Fast Track will not be striking back

Date posted: 18 June 2019

The Tribunal Procedure Committee has announced that it will not introduce procedure rules under which detained appellants have their asylum and immigration appeals processed under accelerated timescales. The decision comes in the Committee’s response to the consultation on the Detained Fast Track procedure it launched in July last year, which was published on 11 June.

 

The previous Fast Track Procedure Rules were found to be unlawful by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in 2014 in seminal cases brought by the charity Detention Action. The courts concluded that the fast-track appeals system was structurally unfair as it did not allow individuals and their legal representatives enough time to prepare for their appeal hearings. The accelerated timetable meant that in a significant number of cases the appeal was unfair. Justice, quite simply, was not being done.

 

Under pressure, the government suspended the Detained Fast Track procedure on 2 July 2015. However, the suspension was only said to be temporary, and since then the government has made no secret of its wish to re-introduce a system for processing appeals more quickly when an appellant is detained.

 

The Tribunal Procedure Committee said it agrees with the government’s stated policy objective of ensuring that appeals are resolved as quickly as possible so time spent in detention is minimised. However, it reaffirms that a desire for speed must not come at the expense of fairness. Although it would, in theory, be possible to create a fast-track appeals system with sufficient safeguards to ensure its fairness, in practice this is neither desirable nor necessary. The need for an oral case management hearing would be resource-intensive, and it is likely that many cases would be removed from the accelerated process because of the risk that they could not be decided fairly within its timeframes, which would in turn create rather than reduce delay in a substantial number of cases.

 

Wilson Solicitors wholeheartedly welcomes the Tribunal Procedure Committee’s decision. We have witnessed the injustices created by the Detained Fast Track system that operated between 2000 and 2015 in countless clients’ cases. Many of our clients are still now – almost four years after the system was suspended – waiting for the Home Office to reconsider their asylum claims after they were unfairly handled. While our clients wait their lives are on hold, their futures uncertain, and the many who have been tortured and persecuted in the past are unable to start the long process of recovering from the trauma they have suffered.

 

Our Public Law department assists clients to bring claims against the Home Office seeking compensation for unlawful detention in the Detained Fast Track system.

 

If you require advice or representation in connection with any other public law matter, please contact Penny Visram on 0208 885 7924 or p.visram@wilsonllp.co.uk