Failed Iraqi asylum seekers should not be removed from the UK until a legal ruling that could allow them to stay is clarified, a High Court judge has said.
Failed asylum seekers should be advised of judicial review options
Lawyers for Abbas Amin, an Iraqi Kurd, were seeking an order blocking removals pending his urgent judicial review application against deportation.
Mr Justice Collins said he hoped his comments would give "protection".
But the Home Office later said it was "committed to commencing the enforced return of failed asylum seekers".
Mr Amin is not under personal threat of being removed, having issued judicial review proceedings against the home secretary seeking a declaration that he is entitled to a grant of indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
A Court of Appeal judgement will come under scrutiny in Mr Amin's case concerning a Home Office policy, in place from October 2000 until March 2003, that internal relocation to the former Kurdish autonomous zone "would not be advanced as a reason to refuse a claim for refugee status".
His lawyers on Friday sought an interim order "staying the removal to Iraq of those asylum seekers who have not issued judicial review claims", until the case clarifies that judgement.
Mr Justice Collins was told the matter was urgent because the Home Office had announced that removals of failed asylum seekers to Iraq were imminent.
The judge said all failed asylum seekers should be informed of their right to bring judicial review proceedings.
He said he was "clearly of the view" that it would be improper for removals to be carried out until the scope of the Court of Appeal ruling was "properly determined" by Mr Amin's case.
The judge said he did not think the Home Office "ought to be thinking" of removing in the meantime people that could be affected.
The Home Office "know they have held over them the sword of Damocles and if they do anything that contravenes the desires that I have expressed they may find themselves brought back to court with a dim view taken", he said.
But a Home Office spokesman later said: "We remain committed to commencing the enforced return of failed asylum seekers to Iraq.
"It is important for the integrity of our asylum system that any individual who is found not to be in need of international protection should be expected to leave the UK."
He added: "Enforced returns will be taken forward on a case by case basis and we will only enforce returns to areas assessed as sufficiently stable and where we are satisfied that the individual concerned will not be at risk."