The Court of Appeal (Master of Rolls Lord Dyson, Briggs LJ and Bean LJ) has unanimously dismissed the Lord Chancellor and the SSHD's appeal against the High Court ruling that the Detained Fast Track ('DFT') system is structurally unfair.
Nicol J's ruling that the DFT system is ultra-vires and structurally unfair lead ministers to suspend the entire system for review, a process that Immigration Minister James Brokenshire hoped would last only a few weeks. (Please see our recent blog article published on 16 July Asylum seekers to be released after the Government announces suspension of the fast-track detention).
This latest decision to uphold the suspension of the system and reject the appeal against it, will be a blow to The Chancellor and those who hoped that DFT process would be reinstated following a victory at the Court of Appeal. The Respondents are the charity Detention Action, whose director, Jerome Phelps has described DFT as 'a fundamentally flawed process'.
While Lord Dyson recognised that the SSHDs objective of 'placing asylum appeals in the fast track is entirely laudable' and done 'so that they can be handled quickly and efficiently' he stated that 'justice and fairness should not be sacrificed on the altar of speed and efficiency.' Lord Dyson concluded that 'the FTR do not strike the correct balance between (i) speed and efficiency and (ii) fairness and justice. It is too heavily weighted in favour of the former and needs to be adjusted. Precisely how this is down is a matter for the TPC and Parliament.'
A government spokesperson has indicated that the unsuccessful appellants are seeking further permission to appeal.
The full judgment can be read here.