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Detained Fast Track operation ruled unlawful by High Court 9th July 2014

The Helen Bamber Foundation welcomes today’s landmark High Court judgment that the way the government operates the Detained Fast Track (DFT) asylum system is unlawful, after Helen Bamber and David Rhys Jones (of the Helen Bamber Foundation) both gave key expert evidence in the case, brought by Detention Action.

The Detained Fast Track is a system of deciding individuals’ asylum claims whilst keeping them in a secure detention facility. In the clinical experience of the Helen Bamber Foundation, this process often has a serious negative impact on victims of torture and inhumane treatment.

In her witness statement for the court, Helen Bamber said that: “My clients ([…] who have suffered torture, ill-treatment or other serious harm including rape and other forms of sexual violence[…]) have special needs and those needs cannot be met in detention. […] Such vulnerabilities are invariably significantly increased by periods (for some, however short) of detention.

TJ Birdi, the Executive Director of the Helen Bamber Foundation, says “For years we have worked with survivors of extreme human cruelty who have been routed into the detained fast track for administrative reasons – not because of any crime. We welcome this decision highlighting the unfairness of a system that compounds the psychological trauma of those who deserve to be protected, and recognises the injustices people have had to endure.”

The Helen Bamber Foundation has recently seen a significant increase in referrals of survivors of torture, human trafficking and other forms of human cruelty from the Detained Fast Track, which has put the organisation under immense strain. It is hoped that the operation of the Detained Fast Track will now be urgently reviewed by the Home Office and that the practice of maintaining detention in such a manner ends.

10th July – The Independent: Serious failings within Government system carry ‘high risk of unfairness’ for asylum seekers, says High Court judge