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Upper Tribunal procedure rule amendment on service

Upper Tribunal procedure rule amendment on service

The Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008 are to be amended from 30 June 2014 to ensure that one party to proceedings gets notice before the other and indeed is responsible for serving the other party. Because the proceedings are immigration ones involving asylum seekers, the obvious bias in treatment of the parties, supposedly equal before the law, is not apparently generally considered to be problematic. There might be more of an uproar if the same approach were applied in housing possession proceedings, for example: you only find out you’ve lost when the bailiffs or police appear to forcibly evict you.

In fact this service provision has existed in one form or another since 2000 and was unsuccessfully challenged in the case of Bubaker v Lord Chancellor & Ors [2002] EWCA Civ 1107.

Umpire appeal at cricket match
Umpire appeal. Photo by Prescott on Flickr

The latest iteration of the rule expands the type of asylum decision that must be sent to the Home Office for service on the asylum seeker to include decisions  to refuse (or not to admit) an application for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal made by the person who appealed to the First-tier Tribunal. For some reason this had been left out of previous versions of the rule.

The power is very seldom if ever used to detain an asylum seeker as far as I am aware. Watch this space for my new FOI question on this, although perhaps more in hope than anticipation. The change hardly deserves The Telegraph‘s attention, and the aptly named Mark Reckless MP is likely to be sorely disappointed:

Delaying notification about their decision until they are ready to deport them and not giving them notice should result in many more deportations and is something I strongly support.

Finally, do remember that there is still the possibility of a Cart-type judicial review, so this is not necessarily the final stage in any event. And I doubt the High Court would tolerate the imposition of biased service procedures.

UPDATE: good spot by Rich Greenhill:

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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