Immigrants to be stripped of right to challenge deportation using judicial review

·3 min read

Immigrants and refugees will be stripped of the right to challenge deportation orders in the High Court, under a new crackdown to speed up “removals”.

A Judicial Review Bill will overturn a Supreme Court ruling – nearly a decade ago – which allows tribunal decisions to be put forward before the court.

Around 700 such appeals are pursued every year, with fierce disputes over how many are won outright while many other cases reach a settlement.

The government admits it does not know the success rate, the Queen’s Speech stating: “We are investigating how many of these cases result in a successful outcome for the claimant.”

It has briefed Tory-friendly papers that the crackdown is to stamp out “hopeless claims that have already been adjudicated by tribunal judges which frustrate removals at the last minute”.

But the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) attacked “a grave injustice, not least because the Home Office regularly gets decisions wrong”.

“People seeking protection in the UK deserve to have their voices heard, and their claims calmy and fairly assessed,” said Minnie Rahman, the organisation’s campaigns director:

“These plans will deny refugees rights and status and leave many more people in limbo as government’s asylum return deals with third countries appear completely mythical.”

Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, said: “The government’s plans mean that a significant number of those who would have won their claim in the High Court could be deported.

“The government is taking legal rights away from people who need protection - with individuals deported to countries where they are at risk of harm or persecution. What does this say about us as a country?”

And the Free Movement website pointed out the government had admitted that abolishing the so-called Cart Judgement “may cause some injustice”.

“The Cart safeguard is an important supervisory check on the immigration tribunal and the Ministry of Justice should not be in the business of causing avoidable injustice,” said CJ McKinney, its deputy editor.

The Judicial Review Bill will also “protect the judiciary from being drawn into political questions and preserve the integrity of judicial review for its intended purpose,” the Queen’s Speech document says.

But critics see the legislation as an attack on the power of people to mount legal challenges, in revenge for embarrassing court defeats during the Brexit saga.

Theresa May was humbled over invoking the Article 50 exit notice without MPs’ approval and Boris Johnson humiliated when judges ruled his shutdown of parliament was unlawful.

A claim that just 0.22 per cent of immigration judicial reviews are successful – made in a review for the government – has been discredited, lawyers say.

In fact, up to one in 11 result in victories, it is now thought, after more complete data was used.

Downing Street defended the shake-up, insisting it is necessary to “increase the efficiency of the court and tribunal system and clarify the status of the upper tribunal”.

“We want fair access to the legal system for all, but it is right we take action to clarify any issues that need reviewing and make sure we are running an efficient system,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

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