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MP asks Justice Question on immigration appeals process

30th June 2011
MP asks Justice Question on immigration appeals process

Local MP Gordon Henderson has raised in Parliament concerns about the immigration appeals process, which he claims is slow, unwieldy and routinely abused by applicants and their legal advisors.

The full parliamentary question and answer given by Mr Djanogly is below:

Gordon Henderson: Does my hon. Friend agree that the coalition Government inherited an immigration appeals process that is slow, unwieldy and routinely abused by applicants and their legal advisers? Does he further agree that the system needs a root-and-branch overhaul to make it fit for function?

Mr Djanogly: A number of the consultations did address this issue, including those with the judges, so we are acting to contain an avenue for abuse which my hon. Friend identifies. The Government intends to remove legal aid for immigration and asylum judicial reviews, where there has been an appeal or judicial review to a tribunal or court on the same issue or a substantially similar issue within a period of one year, as well as for judicial reviews challenging removal directions, subject to certain exceptions.

Mr Henderson said:

“It is quite scandalous that the immigration appeals system inherited from the previous government allows some applicants to drag out the process for many months, and in some cases years, running up huge legal costs that have to be funded by hard pressed taxpayers.

“I am delighted that the minister has confirmed that the Coalition Government intends to cut down on this abuse by stopping the use of legal aid in immigration cases that have dragged on for twelve months or more.

“However, I would like to see the Government go further by ensuring that unsuccessful applicants are removed from Britain immediately their application for asylum has been turned down and one subsequent appeal has been rejected.”

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