There was another story on the scarcity of Home Office Presenting Officers, this time in The Sunday Times. I’ve blogged about this before. They do seem to be a bit of an endangered species at the moment, and unlike most animals on the endangered list also seem to be well aware of the issue. The decline in numbers continues, though: I have had two asylum cases in the last fortnight where no PO turned up.
I disagree with the two quoted barristers, if that is what they actually said and meant. I still prefer there to be a PO at hearings. As I wrote previously:
My fear is that the immigration judge will feel he or she has to do the cross examination him or herself, which almost inevitably leads the judge ‘into the arena’, as we say. Personally participating in the proceedings inadvertently causes the judge to start seeing those proceedings from the perspective of a party. It is one thing to hear a witness fudge someone else’s imperfectly asked question; it is quite another when the bugger dodges one’s own brilliantly composed query.
And I sort of miss some of them, I find myself surprised to admit. Seeing one of the few remaining ones induces an unholy combination of fondness for old times and the satisfaction of the Twitcher in seeing a rare foreign migrant on a bleached Hebridean beach. I try to be especially nice these days, at least before the hearing commences.