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*Law of Aliens

Published on March 27th, 2018 | by Georgia Archonti

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UK High Court: failure to act with reasonable diligence to review detention of vulnerable asylum applicant

On 8 March 2018, the England and Wales High Court ruled in case BS, R (on the application of) v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which concerned an Indian national who was detained when trying to reach Canada from South Africa via a connecting flight from London. He unsuccessfully applied for asylum at the airport and was detained on the grounds that he risked absconding, had presented false identity documents to the authorities and could be expected to be removed promptly. The applicant appealed against this decision on the allegation that his detention was contrary to the policy of presumption of release under the Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention Guidance, since he was a victim of torture and sexual abuse.

The High Court rejected the applicant’s plea that there had been a lack of explicit reference to the presumption in favour of release in the reviews of detention by the Home Office. The Court found that, at first, the Home Office was right to conclude that it was highly likely that the applicant would abscond if released, which was also supported by his past conduct. The first decision to maintain the detention was also appropriate in view of the likelihood of the removal taking place within a reasonable timescale.

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