A dangerous reduction in 'access to justice' within the UK immigration system...
18th November 2016
It seems that the topic of immigration these days can be used to achieve any political goal and purpose in Britain today. Some have suggested that the ‘Leave’ campaign fed this country misleading figures and statistics about immigration to achieve the result for which there was never any plan or preparation. Since BREXIT we have seen the former Prime Minister resign from his post, ‘leave’ voters apparently wishing for a second referendum, and EU migrants and others becoming victims of hideous hate crimes. The list goes on.
The Government for years has increased fees for immigration applications to the Home Office every year and many migrants have no choice but to pay these fees. However, the biggest fee increase in history was seen on Monday 10 October 2016 when the court fees for appeals lodged to the First-tier Tribunals were increased to:
- £490.00 for each Appellant to have a Paper Hearing (a 612.5% increase)
- £800.00 for each Appellant to have an Oral Hearing (a 571.43% increase)
This means that a family of four people (consisting of say, a mother, father, and two children) will have to pay £3,200.00 to have their appeal heard by a Judge in the First Tier Tribunal. This of course is if they are granted a right of appeal in the first place.
A consultation of the fees proposals was carried out and 46 responses were received for the question below:
Do you agree with Government’s proposal to increase the fees charged for proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)?
Only nine respondents agreed with the proposal arguing that the increases seemed reasonable, whilst a staggering 37 respondents did not. One law firm even expressed the sensible view that in a situation like the above where there are linked family members, a smaller nominal fee should be chargeable.
However, despite the majority of the respondents disagreeing, the Government has decided to proceed with most of the proposals for fee increases set out in the consultation.
Unfortunately, access to justice always came with a price, but with increases such as above, that access may well be beyond the reach of the average migrant. The question now is whether this is simply an ill-conceived and dangerous costs-balancing exercise, or actually part of a more insidious attempt to reduce immigration by other means.
Aston Brooke Solicitors are specialists in immigration law and help a wide-variety of clients across a range of immigration issues. If you wish to discuss any immigration-related issue, or feel that you require any legal advice, you are encouraged to contact Aston Brooke Solicitors for a free, no-obligation, initial consultation.
Shikha Gambhir is a Trainee Solicitor in the Immigration Department at Aston Brooke Solicitors. Please do not hesitate to contact her on 020 3475 4321 for any queries that you may have in relation to any immigration-related matters.
This article does not present a detailed statement of the Law and does not constitute as legal advice. This is a summary only and legal advice should always be sought on an individual case basis.
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