Friday, April 21, 2017

Fast-track asylum appeal system to be reintroduced to speed up removals

The Justice Secretary will reintroduce time limits for the appeals of detained asylum seekers and foreign criminals against removal from the UK, as part of proposals to bring back a fast-track appeal system.

Judges said the previous fast-track appeal rules were unlawful in 2015, but the government will implement safeguards and a case management system, which will be considered by the independent Tribunal Procedure Committee.

The new rules, if implemented, will affect detainees (including foreign offenders and failed asylum seekers) appeal against a Home Office removal (deportation) decision to remove them from the UK.

The previous fast-track appeal system, meant that cases before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) were governed to time limits, and could be decided in as little as 12 working days of an initial decision. Appeals heard by the Upper Tribunal were given more time under the system eventually ruled unlawful by judges.

Under the government's proposals, the time between an initial decision and conclusion of an appeal to the tribunal would be capped at between 25 and 28 working days.

The Justice Secretary Liz Truss said: "It is vital that foreign nationals who have no right to remain in the country should be removed as quickly as possible.

"We must ensure that foreign criminals and failed asylum seekers are not exploiting the justice system by attempting to stay in the UK after their claims have been rejected.

"Our proposals are also better for detainees as it will see their detention time cut."

The Home Office said the new procedure will expedite 2,000 cases a year saving the taxpayer an estimated £2.7 million. State legal aid has funded appeals to the tune tens of millions of pounds in the past, which excludes the costs of running the courts and tribunals, and paying immigration judges over £100,000 per year taking into account pensions and benefits.

The Law Society, which represents the legal profession, claims the fast-track system puts speed before justice.

The have been a number of changes to the Immigration Rules this month. To find out how you may be affected by the April immigration changes click here.

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May

The previous Home Secretary, Theresa May, slashed the number of appeals available in order to help clear the backlog of thousands of cases clogging up the courts for years.

Now Prime Minister, Mrs May has announced a surprise June general election this week and has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reduce net migration to “sustainable numbers” below 100,000 per year.

The Conservatives want to increase their majority in Parliament and strengthen their hand in the Brexit negotiations following the triggering of Article 50 on 29 March 2017, which will take the UK out of the European Union.

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