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Immigration tribunal starting to cancel appeal hearings where bundles served late

Immigration tribunal starting to cancel appeal hearings where bundles served late

The immigration tribunal is piloting a new system of automatically “de-listing” (judge-speak for cancelling or adjourning) appeal hearings where an appellant serves their bundle late. I’ve run into the pilot at Newport, but responses on Twitter suggest that it is taking place all over the country.

At Newport, at least, it seems to have started without notice. Meaning that a case I was going to do tomorrow is now cancelled and I probably won’t be able to cover the re-listed date.

I’m all for encouraging compliance with the procedure rules. But only telling people about your attempts to encourage them after you have punished them seems a little… counterproductive? Arthur Dent would recognise this methodology.

My case is a case in point; the solicitors could have served the bundle on time but were waiting for a final piece of evidence before sending it off. It was a day late.

As I understand it, judges do not receive bundles until the morning of hearing when they arrive at court, so it is hard to understand why the judiciary is suddenly so interested in enforcing compliance for its own sake. I wonder whether the idea for this comes from the Home Office, which does have an interest — a legitimate one — in receiving appeal bundles in good time so that they can be allocated to Presenting Officers and a decision can be made on whether to defend the appeal.

This is the notice received:

NON-COMPLIANCE NOTICE

This appeal has been automatically delisted and the hearing of [date] will no longer proceed as the Appellant has failed to file and serve their bundle according to directions.

Bundles should be submitted in accordance with Rule 11 of the Tribunal Procedure Rules 2014.

In accordance with Rule 11(1), this means that if the hearing were to be on a Friday, a hard copy of the bundle should be in on Thursday of the preceding week by Midnight.

The case will be re-listed at short notice and parties will be notified by fax/letter.

It is the parties’ responsibility to ensure once the case is relisted representation is available.

The bundle should be filed and served immediately.

Clerk to the First-tier Tribunal

And this is notice of the pilot, apparently received at the same time as the non-compliance notice, after the deadline had passed for filing the bundle:

PLEASE NOTE:

Newport IAC are currently running a compliance pilot.

If a party fails to submit their bundle 5 clear working days prior to the hearing, the case will automatically be delisted and placed on a short-warned list, whereby the Tribunal will relist the case at short notice.

If a case is delisted and then for any reason cannot proceed on the new date provided, the Tribunal may, without further notice, convert the Full Hearing into an Oral Case Management Review Hearing.

In addition, the Tribunal may require you to show cause why an Order for Costs pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tribunal Procedure Rules 2014 should not be made against the party in default.

For reference the following is an example of when the bundle should be in by;

Rule 11(1) of the Tribunal Procedure Rules 2014 states, “a direction must, unless otherwise directed, be done by midnight on that day”.

Ie. if the hearing were to be on a Friday, a hard copy of the bundle should be in 5 clear working days prior to the substantive on Thursday of the preceding week by Midnight.

I look forward to news of automatic (or at least presumed) non-compliance action of some sort against the Home Office, such as automatic costs sanctions, where it breaks procedural rules. But I’ll be waiting a long time, I suspect.

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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