Written by Mahfuz Ahmed.


Asylum seekers flee their home country to travel to the United Kingdom to seek protection. They sometimes go through tremendous suffering, adversity and hardship in their travels.


Once they arrive in the United Kingdom and claim asylum, the UK have a responsibility to consider their claim.


Detained fast track (‘DFT’) rules


Due to the large amount of asylum claims, the Detained fast track (DFT) procedure was introduced in 2000 to facilitate these claims. DFT is a process, defined in policy, for the speedy processing of asylum claims whilst the applicant remained in detention.


In 2003, the DFT procedure was expanded to allow the Home Office to detained asylum seekers from the start of their claim, and if unsuccessful until their removal from the UK. Their cases where expedited and therefore claimants were given very limited time.


Detention Action brought a legal challenge against the DFT 2005 rules and in 2015 the Court of Appeal found in favour of Detention Action and held that the system was unfair and unjust. Accordingly, DFT 2005 was suspended by the Home Office in July 2015.


In 2017, Justice Ouseley held in the case of TN (Vietnam) & US (Pakistan), R (On the Applications Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2017] EWHC 59  that rules introduced in Detained fast track 2014 were not too dissimilar from the rules in 2005 and therefore were unlawful and ultra vires. This meant that that almost a decade of cases (2005 to 2014) considered under the DFT rules could potentially be unlawful.


This leads to the question, what options do you have now if your case was considered under these rules?


R (TN (Vietnam)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] UKSC 41


Recently the Supreme Court considered the matter. They were asked to decide as to whether all of the decisions of asylum cases processed under the unfair DFT rules were unlawful and should therefore automatically be set aside.


The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision, that is to say that each case should be considered on an individual basis to assess whether the case was considered unlawfully.



Our comments


The 2005 Detained Fast Track rules were rightly found to be procedurally unfair. Many of the applicants who claimed asylum under these rules were not able to present their cases fairly or seek legal representations due to the limited timeframes imposed.


It appears that the recent judgement by the Supreme Court saves the Tribunal from reviewing all related previous judgments and it further deters relevant appellants from requesting an overturn of their cases.


If your asylum case was considered under the DFT Rules between 2005 and 2014, then please do contact us as there may be merits to set the decision aside.


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