JUSTICE, an “an all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system,” has released a new report making the case for significant reform in the immigration asylum appeals system.
The starting point for the report is the long-documented – and bemoaned – complexity of the appeals system (and of immigration law more broadly). JUSTICE also flag the danger of “the existing inefficient systems becoming entrenched through a process of automation and digitisation.”
Following a year of meetings with key stakeholders, including senior members of the judiciary, the report proposes the following top-line recommendations:
- Better communication between the parties at the decision-making, pre-hearing and hearing stages to ensure all relevant evidence is considered.
- Getting Home Office decision-making right first time and building in an effective review system as key to delivering a better appellate system.
- Ensuring the move to online processes enhances rather than reduces the ability of people to participate – through clearer forms, translation, security measures and careful consideration of video hearing roll out.
- Reducing unsupervised, unqualified and poor quality representatives purporting to provide advice and assistance to appellants through heightened scrutiny mechanisms.
- Promoting the important role of tribunal case workers and judicial case management to improve tribunal efficiency.
- Retaining rights of appeal as a fundamental safeguard but streamlining certain permission and review processes.
These overarching themes are supplemented by 49 concrete recommendations closing the report.