The right to appeal, but for a fee: UKBA

Approx 197,000 appeals filed in 2009-10

22nd October 2010: Challenge to decisions against asylum seekers and migrants are going to cost them dear.
For asylum seekers and migrants wishing to appeal against such decisions will be charged under new plans.

As of now the Ministry of Justice meets the costs through funds and from fees on visa applicants levied by the UK Border Agency.

The development is significant as about 197,000 appeals were filed in 2009-10.

Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said it was reasonable for non-UK citizens to be asked to contribute to the administration costs of appeals, particularly when two-thirds of appeal cases were annually turned down.

As per the Ministry of Justice consultation paper, £125 will be charged for oral hearings and £65 for document hearings. Onward appeals to the Upper Tribunal will cost about £250

It would appear that this is a route for the Ministry of Justice to increase their revenue and reduce the burden on the tax payers.

It is important to note that not everyone will be expected to contribute towards the system; people who will be excluded from paying a fee are: those who qualify for legal aid, those who are receiving asylum support and applicants who are in the asylum "detained fast track" process.

In addition,  those with appeals relating to deportation; revocation of leave; or deprivation of citizenship or right of abode, will not be charged a fee and further, where there are certain exceptional or compelling circumstances, there will be a discretionary power for the lord chancellor to exempt payment of appeal fees.

‘It should be noted that the cost of the immigration appeals system is in no small part a product of the poor quality of decision making by the UK Border Agency,’ say Senior Immigration Solicitor Raheela Husseini, of Greenfield Solicitors.

‘Applicants would be penalised for appealing decisions that often concern life and death scenarios or fundamental human rights and would be charged regardless of whether or not their appeals are successful”. 

No visas for Tier 1 (General) applications from overseas till November 2010


Roll call of deaths: 77 asylum seekers and migrants, UK 2006-2010