Last updated:2023-09-18
Five-fold fee increases proposed for immigration tribunals
A consultation paper (Cm 9261) published last month by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) proposes large fee increases for immigration and asylum tribunals. Under the government’s preferred option of full cost recovery, fees for First-tier appeals would rise from £80 to £490 for paper applications and from £140 to £800 for oral hearings. Fees of up to £510 are proposed for appeal hearings in the Upper Tribunal.
In the introduction to the consultation paper, Dominic Raab, minister for human rights, argues that it is not ‘sustainable or right’ to continue with a fee structure that only recovers nine per cent of the cost in the First-tier Tribunal and none of the cost in the Upper Tribunal. Raab confirms that people who qualify for legal aid and asylum support will still be exempt from the fees. The exemption will also be extended to children and families being supported by local authorities.
Jawaid Luqmani (pictured), a partner at Luqmani, Thompson and Partners, believes introducing the fee hike would deter many clients who want to bring family members into the country. The fee would be £1,530 in a typical case of a man wanting to bring his wife and two children: ‘Raising this in a short period will be beyond the means of many ordinary people,’ he said. He also fears that someone with refugee status and living on income support, who wants a family member to join him or her, might not be exempt from the fee.
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The MoJ predicts the fee rise would result in a 20 per cent reduction in the number of cases going through the system. Luqmani believes these projections are made on a ‘dangerous and imprecise basis’ and that a fall-off in cases of up to 40 per cent could be possible. He pointed out that the Home Office will be picking up the bill for the fees in successful appeals, so much of the income from fees for the MoJ will be a ‘transfer from another part of the government’. Many suspect the government aims to deter appeals by increasing the costs of bringing them.
The consultation closes at 11.45 pm on 3 June 2016.