Lawyers told to give full disclosure in asylum cases

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HUMAN rights lawyers will in future face disciplinary action if they fail to reveal “all material facts” when applying for High Court injunctions to halt the removal of failed asylum seekers from the UK.

One of the country’s most senior judges has given a warning they must reveal everything, including facts that might lead to applications failing, it was 
revealed yesterday. The judge has also named solicitors responsible in three cases for “very grave failures” to comply with their duty to make full disclosure to the courts.

Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, said he believed that if the lawyers in all three cases had set down “the true points against the grant of an injunction”, it would have been so obvious the applications could not succeed that they would never have been made.

The problem highlighted by Sir John stems from legal representatives making “ex parte” applications, with only one side represented, to High Court judges in bids to keep failed asylum claimants in the country pending fresh legal challenges.

Judicial alarm is growing because this kind of application is increasing. Sir John said in a ruling it was “deeply regrettable” that, in each of the three cases, there had been grave failures to comply with the long-standing principle of full disclosure.