HL Deb 24 July 2002 vol 638 cc78-9WA
Lord Tomlinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make an announcement about the personal delivery of appeal determinations to asylum seekers. [HL5538]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Under the Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2001, the Home Secretary has been responsible since 7 January 2002 for the delivery of asylum appeal determinations to appellants who have no further rights of appeal within the Immigration Appellate Authorities (IAA). While the majority of these determinations have been served by post, some determinations have been deemed suitable for delivery in person either by a home visit or at a reporting centre.

A pilot scheme to test the effectiveness of personal delivery procedures commenced on 7 January in the areas covered by Croydon, East Midlands and Leeds Local Enforcement Units and more recently Eaton House (Heathrow). The primary focus of the pilot scheme has been to establish that the correct procedures are in place to ensure that determinations are delivered promptly and that asylum seekers have access to their legal representatives and to the courts.

The Home Office has set targets of 48 hours for posting determinations and six weeks for those being served personally. This allows the Home Office, where appropriate, to serve the determinaton at a time when the appellant attends a reporting centre, in line with any reporting conditions, or by home visit. Where the Home Office is unable to deliver the determination in person within six weeks, it is posted to the appellant.

The first evaluation of this pilot has now been completed and the results are as follows. Between 7 January and 31 May 2002 the average time taken to deliver a determination in person (including those delivered at reporting centres when a person attends for their regular appointment) has been 19 days. A copy of the determination has been forwarded to the appellant's representative within a maximum of two and a half hours of personal delivery. For those appellants who were removed by 31 May, the average time between delivery of the determination and removal has been 13 days and the minimum time was one day.

Failed asylum seekers who have been taken into detention or removed have been informed of their right to contact a legal representative and given reasonable opportunity to do so. Those wishing to apply for judicial review have had three working days in which to submit an application and a day in which to obtain the High Court reference number. During this time removal directions have been suspended.

Two such applications for judicial review were made between 7 January and 31 May. There have been no applications for a review (under rule 16 or 19 of the Immigration and Asylum (Procedure) Rules) by the chief adjudicator or president of the tribunal respectively.

As of 31 May 2002, of the 76 determinations deemed suitable for personal delivery, 34 were succesfully delivered in person and 24 people have been removed from the country.

The Home Office is now considering expanding the scheme in the light of the evaluation results.

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