Tribunal fees to go up by 500%

The Law Gazette today confirmed that fees for immigration tribunal cases are set to jump by up to 500% as the government seeks to recoup the entire cost of proceedings.

Dominic Raab, Justice Minister, and a son of a Jewish Czech refugee, said it was no longer fair that the taxpayer be expected to fund three-quarters of the costs of immigration and asylum proceedings. The article can be found here.

This means:

- First-tier tribunal fees will rise from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision on the papers,
- from £140 to £800 for an application for an oral hearing,
- a new £455 fee for an application to the first-tier tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal,
- an application for permission to appeal, where permission had been refused by the first-tier tribunal, will cost £350, and
- where the Upper Tribunal grants permission a further £510 fee will be imposed

This means, an appellant who proceeds through to the Upper Tribunal, may have to pay a total of £2,115. An average family of four, each with an immigration decision which must each be appealed against, could pay £8,460.

So, Mr Justice Secretary, you’re all for access to justice - so long as you’re rich. I wonder what your dad thinks about all this.

The Costs of an Appeal

From October 2011 the Tribunal Service will start charging fees for immigration appeals.

Fees will be set at £80 for an appeal based on the papers, and £140 for an oral hearing. However, the consensus is that, once these rates are accepted, they fees are likely to increase over time.

Where a person asks for a paper hearing, but a judge requests a oral hearing, there will be no charge. A person can apply for a refund where the opposite occurs.

The fees will be restricted to the First-tier Tribunal, so no fees are currently planned for appeals in the Upper Tribunal.

The Tribunal may award these costs against the UK Border Agency if it was clear that they should have accepted the initial decision, and the appeal could have been avoided.

Those in receipt of NASS support, child support, and who qualify for legal aid, will be exempt. Also exempt are appeals regarding deportation, removal, revocation, deprivation of citizenship, humanitarian cases, and detained cases.