It is always wisest given the variable quality of immigration advisors and immigration solicitors, to make a draft document in which you note down all of areas you feel the refusal decision is wrong. You should go through the refusal document (Decision & Reasons paper) item by item. Having such a document will be invaluable too for any solicitor or immigration advisor you engage, if you choose to use the legal representation route
Please be aware that under the Hostile Environment era Immigration Tribunal processes are pushed to almost breaking point regarding their credibility for being fair and professional: in particular on the basis of many experiences of real life cases, if it is clear that having an appeal success could harm the implementation of the Hostile Environment through adding to anti-Hostile Environment case law, then the Home Office will utilise all its means to ensure the appeal is unsuccessful, at whatever cost to the asserted but untenable claim that the Tribunal is independent in any meaningful and transparent way, from the Home Office. Appealing against an adverse decision where the treatment by the judge has been less than credible for balance and thoroughness.
We provide below an example of some point by point excerpts from an appeal against an Immigration Tribunal judge’s decision: this constitutes a review of the judge’s competence and degree of impartiality/favour.
The appeal process against a Tribunal decision:
What happens when you lose your case — most commonly through the phenomenon of the case judge either ignoring or only superficially considering vital details and supportive evidence you have provided — is that you have a short period of time (10 – 14 days usually) to submit an appeal against the decision. You can do this electronically and/or in signed for delivery [within the submission deadline period] hard copy version of your appeal.
What then happens is the Tribunal sends the appeal to the judge who turned down your original appeal; an incredible stage of the process, as it is almost unheard of for the judge who turned down your appeal to then support your appeal to take your case to the Upper Tribunal, as it would simply confirm they made a bad initial decision. You then have to wait, and despite Tribunal emails saying your communication has been received and will responded too within 10 days or so, you will probably be left waiting and waiting and waiting.
This may be 50, 60 days or more and may require you to call the Tribunal to ask what is happening, and in particular for you to ask their helpline exactly where your appeal request is and with whom at the time of your call. Don’t be surprised to learn that the judge that ruled against your appeal and in favour of the Respondent/Home Office, may simply be sitting on your request; that they have received it and haven’t yet found the courtesy of the time to respond. Once you do receive news of that judge’s [inevitable] turning the request down, you will be informed that you then have the right to submit your request directly to the Upper Tribunal (UT). As a general rule, at this stage, to give the best opportunity for the UT to accept your request, you may need legal advice. However, you can also be successful in making your own appeal directly – although don’t expect the Upper Tribunal judge making the decision to be necessarily particularly supportive, or even polite in how they express themselves. This is because ultimately there is in the Hostile Environment era HMCTS Immigration Tribunal in particular a tendency for First-Tier and Upper Tribunal judges to close ranks where one of their number is exposed for perhaps being less than fair and impartial.
If your case is turned down at Upper Tribunal level you will in most cases be given the right to go to the Court of Appeal. This is something of a ‘glass ceiling’ as the costs can be prohibitive, and the UT notifies you that if you lose in the Court of Appeal you may be liable to pay for major legal fees.
However, the Court of Appeal IS actually truly independent of the Home Office/Whitehall directed Hostile Environment and can reach some very important decisions in which the latter is strongly censured. See the first part of our Appeal deadlines — http://needtoknow-immigrationuk.com/appeal-deadlines/ — page for evidence of this independence.