I’ve been working on new training notes and having fun (noooooo!) deleting all of the references to the unlamented Asylum and Immigration Tribunal for the next edition of the HJT Immigration Manual. I thought I would share some of the fruits of my labours with you all. I’ll be delivering training for HJT on 25th February covering an analysis of the changes, so what follows are links to the relevant documents, collected into one place for ease of reference:
- The Asylum and Immigration (Procedure) Rules 2005 have been amended and now stand as the procedure rules for the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal. A consolidated version can be found here.
- The Asylum and Immigration Chamber of the Upper Tribunal will operate under the main Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008. A consolidated version of these rules with the amendments for immigration appeals can be found here.
- The AIT Practice Directions have been replaced with a single set of Practice Directions for the Immigration and Asylum Chambers of both the First Tier and Upper Tribunals. These can be found here.
- One of the pre-existing Practice Directions of the First Tier and Upper Tribunals is relevant to immigration and asylum appeals. This is the PD relating to child, vulnerable adult and sensitive witnesses, and can be found here.
- The Practice Directions are now supplemented by Practice Statements, again in the form of a unified document for both the Immigration and Asylum Chambers of both the First Tier and Upper Tribunals, which can be found here.
- Most of the old AIT Guidance Notes have been retained on the Tribunals Service website and continue to be relevant to the hearing and determination of immigration and asylum appeals in the new system. The retained Guidance Notes can be found here.
While on this subject, the inspirational speech last week to the Upper Tribunal by the new President, Mr Justice Nicholas Blake, is well worth a read. There are some interesting snippets and pointers on the future, including his ambitious aspirations for the new body and its decisions:
My vision for the [Upper Tribunal] is a body of case law of high quality, consistency and clarity, so it will be a useful tool for all immigration judges and stakeholders. We must maintain and develop high standards of judicial decision-making and earn the respect of the CA, SC, the profession, and other stake holders and ultimately politicians and the public.
He goes on to state that the reporting committee (criticised only yesterday here on FM) will in future work to ‘open and published criteria and with a circulating membership to identify significant cases of broad utility.’ There is a suggestion UKBA might finally have to get serious about complying with directions:
We must expect that the legal profession and UKBA representatives will respond to these directions and be imaginative in sanction if they don’t. Although this chamber of the UT may not have the power to strike out cases for non-compliance, there are other measures available in terms of identifying the issues and how they will be determined that may sorely disadvantage defaulting parties [whoever] they are.
We glean some information about who decides initial and renewed applications for permission to the UT, more or less confirming an earlier rumour:
I have decided that in the first instance a panel of up to 9 SIJs selected by the SPT on advice from myself should take decisions on renewed PTA applications together with the Vice Presidents and nominated judges… A smaller group working collegially seems to me to best promote the aspirations that have been publicly identified in this process. In particular it helps to:
–distinguish between First tier and Upper Tribunal considerations;
–focus on common approaches and standards; and
–ensure consistency and the engagement of High Court and equivalent judges without a public perception of dissipation of these standards at the outset.
Although nothing seems terribly different so far, gradual but far reaching changes are hopefully on their way.