A gay woman wrongly deported from the UK five years ago has been told she can return in a landmark court ruling that could open the door to thousands of similar challenges.
The 25-year-old woman arrived in the UK in 2011 and claimed asylum on the basis that she was a lesbian and would be at risk of persecution in Uganda. She was refused and removed in 2013 on the grounds that the Home Office did not believe she was gay.
But a High Court judge has now ruled the government’s decision to refuse her claim was reached by an unfair process which did not give her sufficient time to obtain evidence to support her case.
The woman is one of thousands of asylum seekers whose immigration cases were decided under the Home Office’s “detained fast-track” system, which was introduced in 2005 and came to an end in 2015 after the High Court ruled that it was “structurally unfair”. Her case is the first successful appeal allowing a claimant to return to the UK.
The fast-track system, which aimed to make asylum decisions within two weeks and required that people were kept in detention during the process, had a 99 per cent rejection rate. Many on the fast track were from countries experiencing conflict or violence, such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.