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Failed asylum seekers win legal battles with Home Secretary

Published 14/09/2015

High Court judges have ruled in favour of two asylum seekers in separate cases recently
High Court judges have ruled in favour of two asylum seekers in separate cases recently

Home Secretary Theresa May has lost two court fights with failed asylum seekers in the space of a few days.

One High Court judge has ruled that Ethiopian Gadisa Ararso, 27 is entitled to compensation because he had been unlawfully held in immigration detention for about seven weeks pending deportation, and another has ruled a woman who has been deported should be allowed to return to the UK so she can attend an appeal hearing.

Both cases have been analysed at High Court hearings in London.

Mr Justice Kerr concluded Mr Ararso's detention had initially been lawful because his removal from the UK was imminent. But the judge said circumstances had changed when Mr Ararso announced his intention to mount a legal challenge to Mrs May's decision to deport him.

The judge concluded Mr Ararso had been unlawfully detained between September 16 and November 7, 2014. He said he hoped Mr Ararso would be able to agree a compensation figure with Mrs May but gave no indication of the size of any award.

Mrs May had fought Mr Ararso's unlawful detention claim. Lawyers representing her argued there was a risk he would abscond if released.

Mr Justice Collins did not identify the woman in the case he analysed, nor name the country she came from.

He said her asylum claim had been refused and she had been deported. She had appealed against the decision and wanted to travel back to Britain to attend the appeal hearing.

Lawyers representing Mrs May argued the woman might abscond if she was allowed back into Britain.

But Mr Justice Collins ruled in the woman's favour and said she should be allowed to return to attend the hearing.

Mr Justice Kerr heard that the plan had been to remove Mr Ararso to Malta where he had first set foot on European soil.

Home Office officials had detained Mr Ararso in late August 2014 - and the judge said that move was lawful because there were ''reasonable grounds'' for supposing that ''removal could be imminent''.

But the judge said shortly afterwards Home Office officials were ''put on notice'' that the decision to send him to Malta was ''likely to be challenged''.

The judge said lawyers representing Mr Ararso had requested his release - and he concluded that there had been a ''material change of circumstances'' which ought to have led Mrs May to ''reconsider the position''.

Mr Justice Kerr ruled that Mrs May had been right to decide to deport Mr Ararso to Malta - and dismissed a judicial review claim Mr Ararso made against that original decision.

Mr Justice Collins said the woman at the centre of his case had been deported after admitting conspiring to control prostitution.

She had challenged her deportation and an appeal was scheduled before a tribunal.

The judge heard it had not been possible to arrange a "secure" way by which she could participate in the appeal through "electronic means" from the country where she was living.

And he ordered Mrs May to ensure that the woman could enter the UK and attend the appeal.

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