Government proposals to curtail the timeline for appeals by people held in immigration detention centres could lead to injustices, the Law Society of England and Wales has warned.
The proposals would mean the time between an initial decision and conclusion of an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal would be capped between 25 and 28 working days. The current average for an appeal determination is about 36 working days.
Who would be affected?
According to the government’s proposals, the new rules would affect detained foreign criminals and failed asylum seekers. This could speed up about 2,000 cases every year and save the taxpayer an estimated £2.7million.
Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said:
“If people in immigration detention are forced to make appeals through a fast-track system there is a real risk of unjust decisions leading to people being removed from the UK unlawfully.
“Asylum and immigration claims may be complex and gathering evidence can take time.
“Accelerating the appeals process when there are so many unreliable initial decisions by the Home Office risks riding roughshod over people’s rights.”
Human rights grounds
Many claims diverted to the fast-track would be on human rights grounds, and Home Office figures show 56% of appeals on these grounds succeed. Other claims would be for asylum where 41% of appeals are upheld.
The plans would replace the old detained fast track appeals system, which was brought to an end in 2015 after a Court of Appeal ruling, however, the Court did not disagree in principle to an expedited appeals process.