Today the UK Government has announced [PDF] the temporary suspension of the Detained Fast Track process. The Government’s intention is to suspend for only a few weeks, with the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire stating that they “will only resume operation of this policy when I am sure that the right structures are in place to minimise a risk of unfairness“.
The operation of Detained Fast Track, in which asylum seekers are held in detention while their cases and appeals are being considered at a faster pace than in the community, has been the subject of several legal challenges, and was ruled last July to have an unacceptable risk of unfairness. Last week, the Court of Appeal lifted a stay on a High Court ruling that the appeals process was unlawful.
The Refugee Council has argued for a long time that the Detained Fast Track system is flawed and should not continue as part of the asylum process. Until an asylum claim is properly examined, it is not possible to tell whether or not it can be determined quickly, and people need time to disclose relevant information and gather evidence to support their asylum claim.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said
“We are delighted at the news of the suspension of the Detained Fast Track, though this is long overdue. We hope that this move is the first step towards consigning this shameful process to the history books.
“Detaining people that for administrative and political convenience simply because they asked for refugee protection in the UK is inhumane and deeply unjust, and should never form part of our asylum system. “