Detained Fast Track leads to unacceptable risk of unfairness

09 Jul 2014

A high court judge has ruled that a series of failings in the Detained Fast Track lead to an ‘unacceptable risk of unfairness’.

The judgment follows a legal challenge brought by charity Detention Action against the use of the Detained Fast Track System.

The decision highlights a series of failings within the system, including a lack of access to legal advice and inadequate screening process of asylum seekers’ suitability for entering Detained Fast Track.

However, the court disappointingly did not find the system itself ‘inherently unfair’.

We do not agree. We believe that the whole process is fundamentally flawed, with people being routed into a system where they have little chance of a fair hearing or access to legal advice.

Under the Detained Fast Track system, asylum seekers of any nationality can be detained if Home Office officials believe that a quick decision can be made on their case.

The judgement on whether or not should be placed in the Detained Fast Track system is taken at an initial screening interview which covers basic factual questions but not, importantly, any specific details of a person’s asylum claim.

The vast majority of asylum claims processed in the Detained Fast Track system are refused.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said:  “Today’s judgment is extremely significant. However, it fails to acknowledge the reality that the Detained Fast Track system is fundamentally unjust and can never achieve fairness.

“The whole purpose of the Detained Fast Track is to condemn innocent people to a Kafkaesque procedure, solely on the say-so of Home Office officials, because it’s politically and administratively convenient to do so.

“Locking up asylum seekers who’ve committed no crime and subjecting them to a profoundly and wilfully unjust decision making process is both shameful and demeaning.

“Tolerating such a grotesque caricature of justice, especially when the consequences of getting it wrong could be a death sentence, should have no place in a civilised country.”

The judgment comes just days after MPs announced they would hold a far reaching Inquiry into the use of detention in the immigration and asylum systems.

Read more about the ruling here.