The Judicial Appointments Commission is advertising for 41 new salaried judges to fill vacancies in the immigration and asylum chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. The salary is an attractive £108,171 (slightly more in London).
These piecemeal additions have obviously been insufficient to address a growing shortage. In 2005 there were 152 salaried judges sitting in the tribunal’s immigration and asylum chamber, according to its President, Michael Clements. By last year, that was down to just 57. A report by Justice earlier this year found that “morale among First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) judges is not as it should be”.
Increasing the number of judges available to hear immigration and asylum appeals may help to address lengthy waiting times. Despite some recent improvement, cases are still taking an average of 42 weeks before hearing. There were around 36,000 cases outstanding at the end of the 2017/18 financial year, although that has dropped considerably as the erosion of appeal rights reduces the number of fresh appeals being launched.
Sir Ernest Ryder, the overall head of the tribunal system, has also said that there is a “pressing need for more salaried Upper Tribunal judges” to hear immigration cases. A competition to recruit nine Upper Tribunal judges is ongoing.
The advertisement for immigration and asylum judges is part of a larger recruitment drive for 100 First-tier judges covering various specialist subjects across England, Scotland and Wales. The closing date for applications is 1pm on 20 November 2018.