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Court of appeals quashed a major Home Office policy of removing migrants from the UK

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A major policy for the United Kingdom removing failed migrants has been ruled illegal because it prevents the courts from considering their cases.

In a significant ruling, the Court of Appeal said the policy risked removing people from the UK even if they had a right to be in the country.

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Campaigners who brought the challenge said the Home Office had endangered lives by short-cutting the law.

The unanimous judgment against the Home Office was taken by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, and two other senior British judges.

It’s not yet clear whether ministers will attempt to go to the Supreme Court but a Home Office spokesman said it is going to reform a failing immigration system.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our immigration and asylum system is fundamentally broken and we are determined to introduce a new system that is fair, firm and will expedite the removal of those who have no legitimate claim for protection.”

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has repeatedly accused called “activist lawyers” of slowing down immigration removals.

However, the judgment from the lord chief justice Lord Burnett, Lord Justice Hickinbottom and Lord Justice Coulson stressed the importance of the right of access to justice under common law: “The right to access the court is an absolute and inviolable right … the right to access to the court is not a relative right to be balanced against other rights and interests.”

A Medical Justice spokesperson said: “One of our society’s most precious treasures is access to justice. Chillingly, away from the public gaze, this policy denied that fundamental right on a massive scale causing serious harm to extremely vulnerable people and risking life. It was effectively a shortcut to removal. Quashing the policy brings us back towards equal access to justice for all.”

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