Ruling ‘frustrated’ aim of new law

A High Court judge’s ruling last month that denying asylum seekers
automatic support was a breach of their human rights “plainly
frustrated” the intention of the Nationality, Immigration and
Asylum Act 2002, the Court of Appeal was told this week.

Attorney general Lord Goldsmith QC, representing the home
secretary, said the new legislation was intended to help the
government deal with the 80 per cent of asylum seekers whose claims
were found not to be genuine.

“In interpreting an act of parliament, the courts will seek to give
effect to the intention of parliament – not frustrate or make it
unworkable,” he said.

The appeal follows the successful legal challenge last month of six
asylum seekers against section 55 of the act, which states that
only asylum seekers who make applications “as soon as reasonably
practicable” are entitled to support from the National Asylum and
Support Service.

Mr Justice Collins granted a judicial review of the decision,
saying that the new law breached the European Convention on Human
Rights and said “insufficient consideration” had been given to the

But Lord Goldsmith argued that the use of article 3 and article 8
of the European Convention on Human Rights was inappropriate in
this case as neither provision required the state to provide homes
to the destitute. The articles state that no one should be
subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
and everyone should have the right to a private and family life.

The case continued as Community Care went to press.

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