Increased fees for Asylum and Immigration Tribunals to greatly affect Human Rights
A drastic increases for immigration and asylum tribunals could severely affect the rights of many vulnerable people to challenge decisions to deport them or to come to UK as family member.
Following a consultation paper by the Ministry of Justice, the Government has announced plans to increase fees for immigration and asylum tribunals by 500% to assist in the repayment of the Ministry of Justice’s debts. These plans involve increasing the application fee for a paper decision from the First-tier Tribunal from £80 to £490; increasing application fee for an oral hearing at the First-tier Tribunal from £140 to £800; a new application fee of £455 to the First-tier Tribunal for permission to make a second appeal to the Upper Tribunal; and a new appeals fee of £510 for appeals in the Upper Tribunal. Justice minister Dominic Raab has defended the necessity of the steep increases, saying, “We must reduce the burden on the taxpayer of running our courts and tribunals. In meeting our spending review settlement, all parts of the Ministry of Justice must contribute to the national effort to reduce the deficit and restore the government’s finances to surplus.” Another justification for these increases is efficiency. Currently, a huge number of decisions are overturned on appeal, but with these changes, the Government intends on focusing on getting the decision right the first time round to save both time and money.
However, these increases could severely affect the rights of many vulnerable people detrimentally. Under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), applicable in the UK, everyone has the right to access a lawyer and a fair trial. Dramatically increasing appeal fees will likely obstruct many vulnerable people with limited financial resources from accessing immigration and asylum lawyers and tribunals, thus affecting their human right under Article 6. Under Article 8 of the ECHR, everyone has the right to respect for private and family life. However, the increased fees could significantly contravene this right as appeals become less accessible, people with rejected applications for asylum in the UK may be forced to leave family members living in the UK with no reasonable chance of an appeal. Furthermore, the increased fees also means that joint appeals will also substantially increase by the number of joint applicants and thus, family joint appeals may be discouraged. Lastly, the Governments proposed plan could seriously conflict with the right to enjoy our human rights free from discrimination as captured in Article 14 of the ECHR. There is a potential that these increased fees will discriminate unlawfully against certain races and those less financially well off. Many vulnerable people who have arrived in the UK with limited financial resources will not be in the position to enforce Article 6 and Article 8 rights and thus be discriminated against.
Thus, although the Government’s intentions to increase immigration and asylum tribunal fees dramatically may be good, this monumental move will leave many vulnerable individuals unable to enforce their Article 6, 8, and 14 rights under the ECHR, and ultimately, unable to challenge deportation decisions made against them.
We strongly advise applicant to make correct application and submit relevant supporting documents and always ask for professional help in making application. You can save a substantial amount of money and a lot of time. Waiting for Appeal hearing can be months, before you know the hearing date. If you get a refusal on spouse visa, please come to us and we can advise you on the best course of action. Appeal may not be the best option.
For further information in regards to the new increases in application fees for immigration and asylum tribunals, or anything else related to the application process for immigration and asylum tribunals in the UK, please contact our our immigration lawyers in Glasgow on 0141 332 9888 or via our online enquiry form.