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Delays in Immigration Cases May Be Challenged By Judicial Review

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By Mr Oshin Shahiean of OTS Solicitors

Last week it was reported that a large backlog of Immigration cases was building up in the UK because the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are apparently at odds over who should pay for the tribunals.

Lawyers are describing chaotic scenes, where many tribunal rooms are being left unused, despite the fact that the number of cases number of hearings at Immigration and Asylum tribunal centres around the country has almost halved since the election due to cost cutting.

Damaging Report

According to a report released by the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman on the 10th November 2015, poor handling of Immigration-related complaints is a key reason why the office upholds almost seven in ten complaints about the Home Office.

As far back as 2013, the Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee believed the backlog of unresolved Immigration and Asylum cases had reached 500,000.

Separated Families

It has been reported that due to the mistakes made by the Home Office in cases involving separated families the rate of success on appeal is now 40%.

Delays are devastating for those who are living apart from their spouses and children, so-called ‘Skype families’.

Causes of the Delays

The slow response in the hearing of Immigration and Asylum cases appear to be caused by arguments between the Home Office and Ministry of Justice over who should pay for tribunal hearings. This allegation has been hotly disputed by the MoJ.

To relieve some of the pressure, the First Tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber has circulated a note detailing priorities for listing cases. They should be dealt with in the following order: detained appellants, deprivation of citizenship cases, appeals involving children, Asylum appeals and other appeals.

Relief Via judicial review

In some cases, long delays in receiving a decision may give rise to an application for judicial review. In many cases, failure of the Home Office to promptly make a decision will lead to a violation of a person’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and damages for compensation have been sought.

In certain cases judicial review may be instigated on the grounds that a decision or lack of decision is:

  • illegal;
  • irrational or unreasonable;
  • procedurally improper; or
  • in breach of legitimate expectation, either procedural or substantive

An example of a situation where judicial review could be used on the grounds of being unreasonable is where an applicant’s leave to remain application is delayed for months, or even years, thereby denying the applicant the opportunity to seek naturalisation and the certainty of British Citizenship.

OTS Solicitors are one of the UK’s leading Immigration solicitors working on cutting edge Immigration cases and pushing boundaries to achieve the best outcome for their clients. To find out more about seeking judicial review in your Immigration case whether it has been delayed or for any other reason, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.

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