The Migrants' Law Project at Islington Law Centre has won a significant legal challenge to the Home Office's 'Detention Fast Track' programme, which was ruled unlawful. This follows two previous unsuccessful legal challenges.
Under the programme, asylum seekers whose cases were identified for fast-tracking were detained for the duration until a decision on their case - sometimes waiting for weeks before being allowed access to legal advice.
The Migrants' Law Project represented charity Detention Action in bringing this Judicial Review. In his judgment, Mr Justice Ouseley reasoned that the DFT programme 'carries an unacceptably high risk of unfairness'. He said that depriving asylum seekers of liberty and legal advice was 'indefensible'.
The judge also praised the value of early legal advice, commenting that the 'crucial safeguard' for fairness in the DFT process was ‘the prospective use of lawyers, independent, giving advice, taking instructions having gained the client’s confidence."
An order following this judment is expected on 17th July.