Asylum Immigration Immigration Appeals

Fixed Fee Immigration Appeals Axed

The Government’s plans to introduce an unreasonable fee for all immigration appeals has been withdrawn after widespread criticism by Human Rights organisations and solicitors

The government has today (12 August 2020) dropped plans for new fixed fees for immigration appeals. This means people will continue to get the support they need to access the immigration tribunal, without having to pay a fee to get their case heard.

Earlier this year the Government had said that they planned to bring in a new fixed fee charge for anyone appealing an immigration decision. The fee was going to be £650 per appeal. It caused an outcry by Human Rights organisations and solicitors because it would have denied access to the courts and tribunals for many vulnerable people.

Immigration appellants are often some of the most vulnerable clients in the legal system. This can be because they often have limited English language skills, they are often from under-privileged backgrounds, many are not allowed to work and generate an income whilst they await the outcome of an appeal and some lack even basic education. Charging these people such a high fee just for the chance of getting redress from a court of law would have meant that many would be unable to get justice.

Access to justice and equality in law are both fundamental Human Rights Freedoms. To try and deny a vulnerable group access to justice by attaching a large fee to the appeals process would certainly amount to an abuse of basic Human Rights.

This is not the first time the UK Government has tried to charge a fee to immigration appellants. The last time they tried this they introduced a £600 appeals fee. However; a huge public outcry meant that the Government had to backtrack on that fast. This appears to have happened again.

The Government is aware that more than 50% of immigration appeals are successful. This is clear evidence that the quality of Home Office decision making is atrocious and does not stand up to legal scrutiny. Faced with a Home Office which is unfit for purpose, rather than fixing the system and and training immigration officers to make better more legal decisions, the Government instead chooses to further restrict and complicate the basic Human Rights of appellants. It is clear that today more than ever people must have recourse to the tribunal to challenge Home Office decisions that have a profound impact on their future.

It is good news the government has now agreed to pay appropriate fees for these cases and base any future changes on more comprehensive evidence and consultation. However; this also means that the Government assault on restricting the rights of immigration appellants will continue.