20 August

Readers who have an interest in asylum law will be well aware of the fate of the asylum “detained fast track” (DFT). This was, as the name suggests, a speeded-up process for processing asylum claims and keeping asylum claimants detained in immigration detention units whilst their claims were considered.

After extensive litigation the detained fast track was last year eventually declared unlawful by the courts; not because a fast track process is necessarily unlawful in every case but because in this case the features of the system did not provide a fair process for dealing with the difficulties and complexities of asylum claims.

Now a new challenge has arisen, against the detained asylum casework (DAC) process in general. In many cases asylum claimants still are detained whilst their asylum claims are being considered. Some claimants have challenged the lawfulness of features of the process by way of Judicial Review, and this case will be heard in the High Court later this week.

This case could turn out to be very significant for asylum-seekers, and especially those who are liable to be detained and who allege torture or who have serious health issues. If the Court rules that features of the process are so flawed as to be unlawful the Home Office will have to make changes to it.

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