A High Court judge has ruled that fast-track deportations of foreign nationals in the UK as unlawful.
Emma Ginn, of Medical Justice, said the UK Border Agency (UKBA) admitted that the fast track removal process was used in 24 cases in its first year but that the figure had then risen to 145 a year. The practice was growing, she said.
“The UKBA were only using it in exceptional circumstances,” Ginn said, “for example when they were dealing with unaccompanied children or those at risk of suicide. What’s so vile is that it was the most vulnerable who were being targeted by this policy.
“They will now have to give 72 hours notice but since they can give it on a Friday night it will still only provide people subject to immigration controls with one working day’s notice of deportation.”
The BBC reports:
A judge ruled that the Home Office policy meant people were being given “little or no notice” of removal and were deprived of access to justice.
The policy was quashed by the High Court in a victory for Medical Justice.
The organisation provides independent medical and legal advice to detainees in immigration removal centres.
At a hearing last month, Dinah Rose QC, appearing for Medical Justice, told the High Court that the general practice was to give those facing deportation 72 hours’ notice of removal.
But she said an “exceptions policy”, introduced in March 2007 and widened in January this year, created cases in which the timeframe involved was much shorter.
In some cases, she said, immigration officers were swooping late at night and escorting people to flights leaving only a few hours later.
Home Office lawyers argued that the deportation policy was “sufficiently flexible” to avoid any human rights breaches, and that detainees were given as much notice as possible before removal.