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Home Office plans to accelerate asylum appeals forced to a halt

13 June 2019

Law Society opposition has helped halt Home Office proposals to accelerate appeals by people seeking asylum and others held in immigration detention centres.

"We are hugely relieved an independent committee has listened to all those who opposed the government’s proposals, which could so easily have led to unjust decisions and people being removed from the UK unlawfully,” Law Society of England and Wales president Christina Blacklaws said.

"The Windrush crisis has shown how devastating an incorrect Home Office decision can be.”

Most claims would have been on asylum grounds and we know 44% of those appeals succeed. Appeals could have extended to human rights grounds, where 59% of appeals succeed.

Asylum and immigration claims may be complex and gathering evidence can take time. If the claimant is detained there are also significant barriers to consulting a solicitor.

“Rushing through appeals when there are so many unreliable initial Home Office decisions could have been catastrophic for some very vulnerable people,” said Christina Blacklaws.

“When the stakes for appellants are so high, the UK must maintain the highest standard of fairness and make every effort to ensure just decisions.

“There must be effective judicial oversight of asylum and immigration appeals. Quicker, fairer hearings can be achieved under the existing rules with a better-resourced judiciary and court system."

Notes to editors

A fast-track system for appeals by people in immigration detention was ruled unlawful in 2015. The new proposals merely extend the fast-track ruled unlawful from 12 to 25-28 days, which still imposes an inappropriately restrictive schedule for the determination of often complex appeals.

Read the full consultation response

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | harriet.beaumont@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 3854