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Code of conduct for Presenting Officers unveiled

Code of conduct for Presenting Officers unveiled

The Home Office has published a code of conduct for the cadre of civil servants who represent the department in the immigration tribunal, known as Presenting Officers or HOPOs.

The document is similar to a draft version that was circulated and discussed with stakeholders earlier in the year. A few points have been fleshed out and firmed up a little. For example, draft bullet point 5:

You must take reasonable steps to ensure that the court has before it all relevant and up to date legislation, case law, information, documents and policy.  

Has become:

You have a duty of candour to the Tribunal. This means that you must take reasonable steps to ensure that the court has before it all relevant and up to date legislation, information, documents and policy and case law. This must include case law that tends to support the appellant’s case or that may have an adverse impact on the Respondent’s case.

In addition to these “guiding principles”, there is an Annex on “professional standards”. This includes a reference to carrying out a “sustainability check” when preparing for appeals to make sure the decision is actually defensible. It also covers issues of style rather than substance: “formal footwear” is to be worn in court, and male Presenting Officers should wear a tie.

Lest anyone dare show up tieless, the document adds that formal complaints can be made about Presenting Officers who fail to live up to the code of conduct.

CJ is Free Movement's deputy editor. He's here to make sure that the website is on top of everything that happens in the world of immigration law, whether by writing articles, commissioning them out or considering pitches. When not writing about immigration law, CJ covers wider legal affairs at the website Legal Cheek and on Twitter: follow him @mckinneytweets.

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