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#Quashed: Court of Appeal suspends UK’s Fast Track asylum processing system

The UK government’s system of fast-tracking asylum applications aimed at removing failed asylum seekers has been suspended following a court order.

The Court of Appeal on Friday removed a “stay” on a previous ruling by the High Court which found that the system was unlawful and was riddled with “structural unfairness”.

The system was launched in 2003.

Hearings of asylum applications were accelerated while the applicant was detained at all times.

The Court of Appeal ruling means that dozens of asylum claimants currently detained will be able to apply for bail.

At the High Court hearing earlier this month, Mr Justice Nicol found that despite safeguards, applicants were not able to properly prepare their cases whilst their lawyers were put in an “unfair position” under the Fast Track Rules (FTR).

Lawyers representing asylum seekers were expected take instructions, prepare statements, translate documents, make bail applications, arrange expert witnesses and make representations to be taken out of the fast track – all within seven working days.

“What seems to me to make the FTR structurally unfair is the serious procedural disadvantage which comes from the abbreviated timetable and curtailed case management powers”, Justice Nicol ruled.

The system was aimed at removing failed asylum seekers within 30 days.

The government says Detained Fast Track is an important part of the UK’s immigration system and contributes to effectively processing asylum applications.

The Court of Appeal ruling will also be a blow to Home Secretary Theresa May’s plan to implement her policy of “deport first, appeal later” to all immigration appeals and judicial reviews.

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