The Home Office has been ordered to bring back a deported Nigerian family, in a groundbreaking court ruling that threatens to undermine the Government's "deport first, appeal later" policy. The ruling by Mr. Justice Cranston, from the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, forces Theresa May's office to locate and bring back the family of two, until Thursday, to avoid facing contempt of court charges.

The judge criticised the Home Office's "flawed" decision to send a child and its 45-year old Nigerian mother back to their native country, in January, citing evidence of the woman's poor mental health and the potential risk, of such a decision, to her and the child.

The woman came to the UK illegally, in 1991, and applied for asylum in 2010, eight months after her child was born, claiming fear of destitution in Nigeria but her asylum claim has been repeatedly denied.

Justice Cranston found that "the Secretary of State failed to have regard to the child's best interests as a primary consideration" which could set a precedent that places the interests and well-being of a child as "the primary consideration" in deportation orders, even if their parents' cases have been rejected or quashed.

Charities and campaigners welcomed the decision that can undermine the Government's election pledge to extend a "deport first, appeal later" scheme to all immigration appeals and asylum claims under judicial review.

This scheme was initially introduced, last July, to prevent foreign offenders appealing their sentence to delay their removal from the UK. The Government has announced that more than 300 people have already been removed since then and proposes, in their election manifesto, to extend the same scheme to all asylum seekers and migrants, that would be automatically sent back to their native country unless they could prove being at risk of "irreversible harm".

Justice Cranston's ruling raises new questions over the practicality, credibility, and legality of such a policy.

The Home Office has been granted an appeal to Mr. Justice Cranston's decision, to be heard today, at the Court of Appeal.