High Court rules UKBA policy to delay support for asylum seekers is unlawful - Refugee Council
July 10, 2012

High Court rules UKBA policy to delay support for asylum seekers is unlawful

The High Court has today ruled that it is unlawful for the UK Border Agency to have a policy that delays offering support to asylum seekers who are making fresh claims for asylum.

People make fresh claims because their situation, or that of their country of origin, has changed, and are legally entitled to be in the UK until a decision is made on their claim. Unless the decision takes longer than 15 days, applicants have not been able to access accommodation or financial support (called Section 4 support) until that decision has been made.

In the case of MK/AH, the two asylum seekers were forced to wait 27 days and 36 days respectively, before they could access accommodation and financial support. The High Court has found that the failure to consider the applications for Section 4 support and the delay in offering it was in breach of their rights under article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The charity Refugee Action, who had been supporting these clients, intervened in the case, represented by the Migrants’ Law Project. The Refugee Council submitted a witness statement to the case using evidence from clients they support.

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We welcome the judgment from the High Court today that says it is unlawful for the UKBA to delay giving support to people who are waiting for a decision on their fresh claim for asylum.

Like the applicants in this case, too often at the Refugee Council we come across clients, including vulnerable women, children, and survivors of torture, who have been forced into destitution for weeks while they wait for a decision.

We have consistently raised this with the UKBA, so we are pleased this judgment will ensure a significant number of people will now be able to access the support they are entitled to.”