Statement from Allens on High Court decision

The High Court held yesterday that refugees who do not have visas, but who have no prospect of removal to another country in the reasonably foreseeable future, may not be held in detention indefinitely.

It is a fundamental human right, acknowledged by Magna Carta and confirmed by the separation of powers in our constitution, that people should not be imprisoned unless they have been found by a court to have committed a crime.  The High Court has confirmed that, although there are some limited exceptions to this principle, those exceptions do not include the indefinite detention of refugees who do not have visas and who cannot be removed to another country.  Although the High Court has not yet delivered reasons for its decision, it is expected that those reasons will apply its earlier judgment in Lim, rather than its conflicting judgment in Al Kateb.

Allens acted pro bono for the plaintiff in this case and is very pleased to have played a role, together with a team of leading barristers, in enabling the High Court to confirm the importance of this crucial human right.