All Articles: Procedure

The problem with “simplifying” immigration law

Immigration law is complicated. This will probably not be a surprise to readers of this blog. There has, over the last couple of years, been a concerted effort to simplify it. This is a good thing. But has it been successful? Different types of compli ...

30th December 2020 By

How new visa rules on invalidity will create more overstayers

The Home Office recently introduced a set of new validity requirements for visa applications under the Points Based Immigration System, such as the Skilled Worker route. This is significant because an invalid application doesn’t extend your permissi ...

23rd December 2020 By

Country guidance changes affect pending decisions if not already sent out to the parties

Pending asylum appeals in Scotland can be affected by changes to country guidance right up to the point when they are sent out to the parties to the case, even if the judge has already signed off on his or decision, according to the Upper Tribunal in ...

22nd December 2020 By

New Civil Procedure Rules on translating witness statements catch claimant out

In April 2020, the Civil Procedure Rules were updated with significant changes made to the rules about witness statements filed by non-English speakers. The new rules are of obvious interest to immigration lawyers and Diamond v Secretary of State for ...

9th December 2020 By

Immigration and nationality fees unchanged for 2020/21

The list of fees for immigration and nationality applications was updated on 1 December 2020 to reflect the new or rebranded visa routes introduced on that date. The actual amounts are unchanged, though, and indeed application fees have mostly been f ...

8th December 2020 By

Number of immigration cases heard by the Court of Appeal to be radically cut

The government wants to make it much harder to appeal from the tribunal system to the Court of Appeal. The Ministry of Justice is consulting on changes — sorry, “reforms” — where appeals that have already been heard in both the ...

3rd December 2020 By

Six ways the pandemic has actually improved the immigration system

2020 has presented huge challenges for people trying to navigate the immigration system, for immigration advisers trying to support them, and for the Home Office and the courts. At Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) we’ve analysed six i ...

2nd December 2020 By

How to make complaints against the Home Office

Bill Gates once said that your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. If the same applies to the Home Office staff who have the unenviable job of fielding complaints about their colleagues from irate migrants and their lawyers, t ...

30th November 2020 By

Court of Appeal reverts to Home Office-friendly approach to service of decision letters

The Court of Appeal has decided in Alam v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1527 that sending a decision letter to a person’s last known address will generally be sufficient proof that the letter has been received. To prove ...

23rd November 2020 By

Pandemic rules for immigration appeals declared unlawful

The High Court has declared that the arrangements for dealing with Upper Tribunal immigration appeals during the coronavirus pandemic are unlawful. Mr Justice Fordham held that the President of the Upper Tribunal’s guidance leans too heavily in ...

20th November 2020 By

No procedural unfairness in refusing work visa where sponsor doesn’t engage

In the recent case of Topadar v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1525 the Court of Appeal considered two questions: At what point is an immigration application decided by the Home Office? Is it procedurally unfair for the Hom ...

18th November 2020 By

Supreme Court finds treatment of skilled worker unfair

The Supreme Court held today in R (Pathan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 41 that the Home Office’s treatment of a Tier 2 skilled worker, Mr Pathan, was unfair. Mr Pathan had applied for an extension of his visa as ...

23rd October 2020 By

New, improved English language requirements for immigration applications

The joy of working in immigration law is writing a 4,000 word briefing on the English language requirement, only to see a new provider added to the list three days after it is published, before an entirely new English language section of the Immigrati ...

23rd October 2020 By

Inner House ducks test case on judicial review time limits

In Odubajo v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] CSIH 57, it was hoped that the Inner House of the Court of Session would provide some much-needed guidance on the vexed issue of when the three-month clock starts ticking to lodge applicat ...

15th September 2020 By

Fee waiver policy: who qualifies and what does the Home Office guidance say?

Fees for immigration applications have increased sharply in recent years. Most applications for leave to remain submitted from the UK (other than under the Points Based System) now cost £1,033. In addition, applicants may need to pay an Immigration H ...

10th August 2020 By

When are costs in a Cart type judicial review decided?

The case of JH (Palestinian Territories) v Upper Tribunal [2020] EWCA Civ 919 builds on the principle that the Home Office can be found liable for expenses in Cart/Eba type judicial review cases. The Court of Appeal has confirmed that the issue of co ...

31st July 2020 By

The new normal: what to expect in a socially distanced immigration hearing

As the immigration tribunal begins to reopen and cases are listed for what have become known as face-to-face hearings, lawyers, clients, witnesses and supporters, and any other court user, will need to know what to expect. Local practices may vary a ...

23rd July 2020 By

Appeals repair procedural unfairness in tax discrepancy cases

In the case of Ashfaq (Balajigari: appeals) [2020] UKUT 226 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal reiterates its previous findings that First-Tier Tribunal hearings provide appellants with the necessary opportunity to rebut findings of dishonesty by the Home Offi ...

21st July 2020 By

Judge orders Home Office to bring asylum seeker back to the UK

The President of the Upper Tribunal, Mr Justice Lane, has ordered the Home Office to pay for and facilitate the return to the UK of a man who was removed to Nigeria in March 2018. The judgment is R (L) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [202 ...

13th July 2020 By

Appealing a refusal of permission for judicial review in Scotland

Scottish litigation would not be the same unless we had fancy words for everything. “Judge”? – too plain. We have “Lord Ordinary”. “Appeal”? Pah! We have the “reclaiming motion”. “Court of Appeal ...

30th June 2020 By

General grounds for refusal: owing a litigation debt to the Home Office

Statement of changes HC877, of 11 March 2016, gave the Home Office yet another power to refuse applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK. For all applications made on or after 6 April 2016, having a “litigation debt” to the Home Office m ...

25th June 2020 By

When is a policy not a policy? Tribunal tackles law on disclosure

BH (policies/information: SoS’s duties) Iraq [2020] UKUT 189 (IAC) was the case of an Iraqi Kurd, heard by the Upper Tribunal sitting in Edinburgh. The issue was whether the First-tier Tribunal judge had erred in law because he had not considere ...

22nd June 2020 By

Immigration appeals are much more likely to succeed if there’s an oral hearing

With statistical assistance and input by George Symes. A person whose immigration application to the Home Office has been refused sometimes has a right of appeal. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, people essentially had a choice. Their appeal could be h ...

8th June 2020 By

Immigration application fee destitution policy found unlawful

The Upper Tribunal has found that the Home Office’s policy for waiving the immigration application fee for destitute immigrants — the fees can add up to thousands of pounds for a family — is unlawful and needs to be widened. The judg ...

21st May 2020 By

Legal aid changes for online immigration appeals “will do irreparable harm”

Immigration lawyers are warning that changes to legal aid for appeals lodged online during the coronavirus pandemic “will do irreparable harm”. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) says that adjustments to legal aid ...

19th May 2020 By

“Slip rule” can be used to allow an appeal dismissed by accident

“Devani” in my native language of Punjabi/Urdu roughly translates as “crazy” or “mad”. An apt name for the case of Devani [2020] EWCA Civ 612, because it’s never promising when a judgment starts by saying “this appeal has a complic ...

14th May 2020 By

You can carry on with an old-style EU law appeal even if granted settled status

The abandonment of an ongoing appeal seems to be a hot topic for the Upper Tribunal recently, with the case of Ammari (EEA appeals – abandonment) [2020] UKUT 124 (IAC) following on the heels of MSU and Aziz. This time the facts concern an appeal ...

5th May 2020 By

Fellow worshippers can’t give “expert evidence” on religious conversion, tribunal holds

Two important (but completely different) points arise from the Upper Tribunal’s decision in MH (review; slip rule; church witnesses) Iran [2020] UKUT 125 (IAC), one concerning religious conversion cases and the other concerning clerical errors in a ...

24th April 2020 By

Judge rebuked for adjourning case during cross-examination

The Upper Tribunal has reprimanded an immigration judge for granting an adjournment during the cross-examination of an appellant. In WA (Role and duties of judge) Egypt [2020] UKUT 127 (IAC), the President and Vice President of the Upper Tribunal prov ...

22nd April 2020 By

Costs against the tribunal after it tries to ban solicitors from Birmingham

D, P and K v Lord Chancellor [2020] EWHC 736 (Admin) is a rare example of the High Court making a costs order against a lower tribunal. The context is a dispute between a well-known immigration law firm, Duncan Lewis, and the President of the First-ti ...

9th April 2020 By

Section 104 abandonment still kicks in for appeals resurrected by Cart judicial review

The Upper Tribunal has again considered section 104 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Following on from the case of MSU, which I wrote about here, we have Aziz (NIAA 2002 s 104(4A): abandonment) [2020] UKUT 84 (IAC). The official he ...

8th April 2020 By

Not unfair to proceed with hearing after appellant’s lawyer stormed out, tribunal finds

Arshad Bano’s appeal for leave to remain in the UK on human rights grounds was listed for 13 December 2018, with documents to be submitted no later than five days in advance. She provided a statement on 10 December, a couple of days late. In res ...

2nd April 2020 By

What happens when a variation application is invalid?

This was the question answered by the Upper Tribunal in R (Bajracharya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (para. 34 – variation – validity) [2019] UKUT 417 (IAC). Mr Bajracharya made an application to remain in the UK on the basis of hi ...

1st April 2020 By

Home Office can ignore human rights claims bolted on to normal immigration applications

The case of MY (refusal of human rights claim) Pakistan [2020] UKUT 89 (IAC) represents yet another cutback in the rights of migrant victims of domestic abuse, and in appeal rights more generally. The Upper Tribunal has ruled that the Home Office can ...

30th March 2020 By

Remote hearings in the immigration tribunal: what could possibly go wrong?

Over recent weeks we have all had to spend more of our personal and professional lives online. The justice system is also shifting towards holding hearings via live video or audio link wherever possible. Taking stock of what we stand to lose from the ...

27th March 2020 By
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