The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal handles immigration related appeals, including appeals from refused asylum seekers.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal is independent of the British government, and any appeals it considers are examined by a judge who will take into account both sides of the appeal, that is, evidence provide by both the refused asylum seeker and the Home Office.
The Tribunal will make its decision based on the rules and process laid out in the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 and relevant immigration legislation.
When would an asylum seeker use the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal?
An asylum seeker would apply to the First-tier Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to make an appeal when:
- your application for asylum in the UK has been denied
- further to an unsuccessful application for asylum, your appeal to remain in the UK for humanitarian reasons has been denied
- you face deportation
- your application for asylum was originally successful but since that decision your refugee status has been revoked
Do all asylum seekers have the right to appeal their asylum decision?
Not all refused asylum seekers will be able to appeal. When you receive your decision, it will be made clear to you whether or not you have permission to appeal the decision.
If you have not been given permission to appeal but you believe there is a case for doing so, you should contact the First-tier Tribunal to ask for permission.
Appeals from inside the UK
If you are in the UK when you make your appeal to the Tribunal, you must do so within 14 days of your asylum application decision.
You may apply through the online system or by sending your application in the post. The online application system can be found at https://immigrationappealsonline.justice.gov.uk/IACFees/
Where you wish to apply in writing, use form IAFT-5.
A third alternative is to fill out the IAFT-5 form and forward it by fax.
You can find your nearest tribunal by visiting https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/
The cost of an appeal judged by your form and supporting documents only is £80. The cost of an appeal that involves a hearing is £140. Payment can be made by credit or debit card. If you are receiving asylum support, legal aid or assistance from your local council as an under-18-year-old, you may not need to pay this fee.
However you make your appeal, you should indicate whether you wish the appeal decision to be made only on the appeal form and any supporting documents, or that you, or a representative in your place, wish to attend a hearing in person.
The Tribunal will decide whether a hearing takes place or not and may arrange for a hearing even where you have not requested one.
A hearing will generally be held in public, although you may request that it is held in private or that you or your representative attend the hearing by video link. Any request such as this must be supported by valid reasons.
If you feel it is necessary due to the details of your appeal, you may request a male or female judge, although this does not mean that your request will be granted.
If you have any special needs such as the provision of a wheelchair, wheelchair access or an interpreter, contact the Customer Enquiry Unit in advance of your hearing.
Appeals from outside the UK
If you are outside the UK when you make the appeal, it must be submitted within 28 days of the decision. Where you were in the UK when the decision was made but you were forced to leave before you could appeal, you have 28 days from leaving the UK to make your appeal.
As with an appeal from within the UK, you can make your appeal online, through the post or by fax. However, the forms to use for your appeal are different:
Where you are denied entry clearance into the UK on the basis of human rights, use form IAFT-6.
Where you are denied asylum or to remain in the UK on the basis of human rights, and can only apply once outside the UK, use form IAFT-7.
As with an appeal from within the UK, you may request that your appeal is decided simply on the form and supporting documents you submit, or at a hearing that your representative will attend on your behalf.
An appeal based on your form and supporting documents only costs £80. An appeal that involves a hearing costs £140.
Write to the Tribunal with your reasons for needing your appeal to be considered urgently and any supporting evidence, such as information from your doctor.
Address your letter to Expedite Requests The First-Tier Tribunal.
What happens if you are granted a hearing with the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal?
If the Tribunal decides to hold a hearing to decide on your appeal, you will receive written notification of the time, date and location of the hearing. It is always recommended to check the daily courts lists in the run up to the hearing to make sure the date and time haven’t been changed.
The Tribunal may request that a pre-hearing take place. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that you are fully prepared for the actual hearing.
Where you can’t attend the hearing yourself, you may ask for a representative to attend in your place. Whoever attends the hearing, you or a representative, it will be necessary to provide evidence and answer questions.
At the hearing, the following people will be expected to attend:
- judge, or judges
- you or your representative
- interpreter, if needed
In addition to the above, an official from the Home Office may attend. If you have a sponsor, they may also attend the hearing.
If either the hearing cannot be held on the arranged date, or a decision cannot be reached at the hearing, a second date will be arranged.
What happens if you win your appeal?
If the Tribunal rules in your favour and you win your appeal, the Home Office will amend its decision. For instance, where you applied for asylum but were refused, the Home office will now grant you the status of refugee or protection for humanitarian or other reasons.
You may receive a fee award to go towards or pay in full the cost of the appeal.
What happens if you lose your appeal?
If the Tribunal rules against you, the Home Office will not amend its decision.
If you feel that a legal error has been made by the Tribunal in deciding on your appeal, then you may ask to be allowed to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
Legal mistakes include a lack of evidence against your appeal or a misinterpretation of the relevant law.
What help can an asylum seeker get during the period of appeal?
Legal advice is available from a solicitor or immigration adviser. Where you cannot afford to pay for legal advice, you may be eligible for legal aid, that is, assistance to help pay legal fees.
After your application for asylum has been denied and during the period of appeal, you may be eligible for asylum support (financial and housing assistance).
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.