Fees for immigration and asylum appeals are set to jump up by a whopping 500% in an attempt by the Government to recoup the cost of proceedings. My view is that, similar to what happened when fees were introduced in the Employment Tribunal, we are likely to see a massive drop in appeals.
While it is true that not all appeals brought in the First Tier Tribunal have fantastic merits, as it was the case with claims brought in the Employment Tribunals, my concern, and I am sure I am not alone, is that there are many that do have merits and it is right and proper that decisions regarding immigration and asylum matters and which are often life-changing to applicants and their families, should be challenged.
How many applicants, who may not be seen as 'vulnerable' and therefore exempt from paying the fees, will simply be put off challenging wrong or questionable decisions made by the Home Office?
We will await the outcome of the consultation.
Fees in the first-tier tribunal will rise from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision on the papers, and from £140 to £800 for an application for an oral hearing. The Ministry of Justice also proposes a new £455 fee for an application to the first-tier tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal. In the upper tribunal, an application for permission to appeal, where permission had been refused by the first-tier tribunal, will cost £350, while a £510 fee will be imposed for an appeal hearing where permission is granted. The fees, expected to raise £37m a year, are subject to a consultation which will run until 3 June.