Immigration appeal fees to increase on 10 October 2016
The Ministry of Justice has recently published responses to the consultation on the government’s proposal to increase tribunal appeal fees in the Immigration & Asylum Chamber, First–tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunals. 147 responses to the consultation were received of which 142 respondents disagreed with the proposal while 5 respondents agreed. Those respondents who disagreed argued that the large fee increases proposed would deny access to justice for vulnerable people wishing to challenge a decision of the Home Office. However, the government will press ahead with the changes, which come into force on 10 October 2016.
Currently, fees to the Tribunal are only charged in the First-tier Tribunal, and not the Upper Tier where an appellant requests an application for a decision on the papers (£80) or for an application for an oral hearing (£140). Proposed fee increases are in the table below.
There will be a 6-fold increase on an application for a decision on the papers and 5-fold increase on an application for an oral hearing. Significant fees will also be introduced for applications to the First-tier Tribunal where seeking permission to the Upper Tribunal, a renewal application to the Upper Tribunal and a fee to request an appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal. A table of the proposed fees is below. There is no differentiation between “in country” and “out of country” appeals.
|Appeal type||Current fee||Proposed fee|
|Application for a decision on the papers||£80||£490|
|Application for an oral hearing||£140||£800|
|Application to the First-tier for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal||Nil||£455|
|Application to the Upper Tribunal for
permission to appeal (made when the application to the First-tier Tribunal for permission has been refused)
The Immigration & Asylum Chamber often hear appeals from individuals and families who have extremely limited access to legal aid funding to make their initial case to the Home Office and have already had to pay, in many circumstances, significant fees to the Home Office, UK Visas & Immigration to submit an application in order to enter the UK or regularise their status while here. Often, appeals need to be brought as decision makers at the Home Office, UK Visas & Immigration fail to either correctly consider the evidence submitted in support of an application or apply increasingly complex immigration law to an application.
Despite the overwhelming concern regarding the fee increase given in the responses to the consultation, the implementation of higher appeal fees in the First-Tier tribunal and the likely introduction of new fees in the Upper Tribunal will proceed.
Exemptions will continue to apply to those people in particularly vulnerable positions, including:-
- Those who qualify for legal aid or asylum support;
- Those who are appealing against a decision to deprive them of their citizenship
- Those subject to removal under the European Economic Area Regulations; and
- Those children bringing appeals to the tribunal who are being supported by a local authority.
Exemptions will also be extended to cover those individuals appealing decisions to revoke their refugee or humanitarian protection status and those with parental responsibilities for, or children who are being housed or supported by local authority under either sections 20 or 17 of the Children Act 1989 or equivalent legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The consultation response suggests that the Government will also proceed with an exemption to appeal fees for appellants who are in receipt of a Home Office destitution waiver. It is not yet clear if this is to be formalised. The response does confirm that the Ministry of Justice does not intend to make assistance for appellants further with a scheme similar to HMCTS “help with fees scheme” or exempt certain types of appeals. Clearer guidance is awaited in relation to the implementation of fees and exemptions.
It remains the case that the tribunals in the Immigration & Asylum Chambers have the power to order the Home Secretary to reimburse a fee where the appellant is successful.
If you require any further information on immigration appeals generally or specifically in relation to the proposed increase to appeal fees please contact our specialist solicitors on 0161 975 1900 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to help.