Asylum seekers expected to flood Australian courts to appeal failed bids

17:09, January 07, 2011      

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A flood of asylum seekers are expected to appeal their failed bids to live in Australia, after Australian federal government on Friday announced to allow asylum seekers in offshore detention, whose claims are rejected, to appeal in the full range of Australian courts.

The changes came after a High Court judgment in November last year found some asylum seekers who arrived by boat were not treated with procedural fairness.

It has opened the door to judicial reviews for offshore asylum seekers and the federal government has introduced a range of measures to ensure the process is as efficient as possible.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday announced that appeals will first be considered in the Federal Magistrates Court, then the Federal Court and finally applicants will be able to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said in Sydney.

According to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, the government is bracing for a "large proportion" of failed asylum seekers to appeal their rejections, regardless of the merits of their case.

"Certainly in the first instance, and then they may see if a number of appeals are rejected, we may see a change," he told Australia Associated Press on Friday.

Under the changes, two new federal magistrates would be appointed to deal with the expected increase in the number of court challenges from asylum seekers, at a cost of 800,000 U.S. dollars.

Refugee advocate Jamal Daoud, from the Social Justice Network, said he expected all detainees will apply for judicial reviews.

He said this will flood the judicial system with cases, and the minister should have gone further and declared the death of offshore processing regimes.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the government was floundering.

"This is just yet another bureaucratic reshuffle in response to a problem that has only one solution, and that is to stop the boats," he told Australia Associated Press on Friday.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the government's response fails to address the major criticism that underpinned the High Court judgment, that asylum seekers should not be treated differently because of the way they arrive.

Young said this is allowing a two-class system to continue to exist.

Source: Xinhua

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