The Immigration Tribunal

The ‘Factual Accuracy of Statements* recorded in this letter has been assessed** for immigration purposes only’ 

In this case in the Hostile Environment context reality and truth are commonly dispensed with for “immigration purposes only”: clearly in this case the Home Office (and by extension the Tribunal as the latter is the setting where such Home Office document material is considered) this rider on Home Office/UKVI decision documents is stating that there are factually accurate statements, and there are immigration purposes only ‘factual’ statements.

* This is an admission that one those involved can and may be ‘economical with the truth’ – in other words selective of facts that suit Hostile Environment implementation, and completely opposed to any reference to facts that conflict with the latter in the given case.  ** By whom?  

The above sets the scene for understanding that under the Hostile Environment the Immigration Tribunal is no ordinary tribunal or judicial mechanism, it is one where special factors are at work and approaches on de-facto ignoring key evidence in support of the Appellant and revealing about their experience of being victims of abuse of process and worse by the Home Office loom large.  Of course there are honourable exceptions still but the Tribunal has under the Hostile Environment been losing many of the best, objective and not able to be partisan/favourable to Home Office perspectives in how they approach cases.  This problem has been well documented elsewhere.

We include below an excerpt from a recent Guardian news article that sets the scene so well on the quality and experience level of all too many judges (specifically Hostile Environment de-facto supportive ones inclining to be less than effective in challenging Home Office decisions and perspectives on cases where motivations of unstated prejudice against certain population groups compete with unstated often relating to the latter, target population groups refusal incentives) on those different to themselves.  The final sentence notes the separate major point elsewhere in this information resource that the Tribunal is ‘procedurally unfair.’

… The challenges faced by LGBT asylum seekers were further highlighted by a case in which a first-tier immigration tribunal judge rejected the claim of a man because he did not have a gay “demeanour”.

The judge said he did not accept the man applying to stay in the UK was gay and contrasted his appearance with that of a witness who “wore lipstick” and had an “effeminate” manner, who the judge accepted was gay.

And in July the high court ordered the Home Office to help a woman who was refused asylum on grounds of sexuality and deported to Uganda to return to Britain. The judge on the case said it was “procedurally unfair”…’


The Tribunal is, de-facto, at the very heart of the Hostile Environment as often extremely poorly handled genuine cases: it provides the basis through its hearings for in terms of quantity and seriousness unjust decisions give the necessary legal basis for very major human rights abuses and even in some cases, deaths. 

Moreover, the Tribunal often plays a key role in illegal deportations and attempted illegal deportations as its victims are not told of decisions on their cases but only the Home Office and by extension IE and police station staff servicing asylum check-ins are. Thus, the Tribunal’s administrative staff – doubtless through a concealed ‘operating mandate’ (with secret instructions on targeting particular communities) of kinds similar to the Border Force and UKVI ones – have, by default, an active revealed role in supporting & enabling illegal deportations.

Judges in the Tribunal take cases on a rota basis – the Home Office (and NOT the appellant) has the very important power to choose when to register an appeal hearing (on the Papers or as an Oral Hearing).  As such they can therefore de-facto select judges on the tribunal cases hearing circuit, who will be more likely to be supportive to the Home Office desired result for a case hearing. The Appellant has no such access to timing or judge selection.

There are some excellent, independent judges, an excerpt from a decision & reasons paper of one of them — who was even professional and experienced enough to impose an anonymity order on mention of the appellant’s name, as they perceived from reading the Appellant’s Bundle thoroughly, imposed one for safety reasons – is included below:

Of course, this NOT the type of detail compatible with the goals and methods of the Hostile Environment supporting portion, very large portion of the Tribunal.  After such a result (ruling in favour of the Appellant and noting how badly/unprofessionally they had been treated by the UK Immigration services, in their decision & reasons paper) the mechanism of timing when an appeal case goes in to be scheduled for hearing, detailed above has been applied in every case with the individual in question, ensuring they have their time wasted and the Home Office gets the decision it wants.

Hearings on the papers are NOT preferred by the Home Office as the opportunity for abuses of process, and especially artful avoidance of demonstrating actual thorough consideration of the Appeal main points (itemised, and in response to the refusal decision numerated sections document provided to the applicant by the ECO or UKVI Caseworker), and especially thorough study and response to supportive evidence, are greatly restricted (compared to oral hearings). 

The Immigration Tribunal has a de-facto, operational level through treatment of cases/hearings, special very interconnected relationship with the UKVI, and in practice is more important than the latter in enforcing the Hostile Environment. 

At this point it is important to state that there are certainly still employed by the Tribunal, judges whose integrity for complete impartiality and demonstrated ability to truly study in full detail appeals at point by point numerated level of appellants, and who consider fully supportive evidence for its relevance and quality regarding the latter. However, it is important to realise that many such judges have departed from the Immigration Tribunal as the Hostile Environment, Whitehall / Home Office directed, has deepened and deepened further – ‘directing from over the shoulder’ and bullying tactics making the dispensing of justice to genuine appellants with very strong cases and evidence increasingly not possible in the Tribunal, has lead such judges to leave the latter doubtless for professional integrity reasons. 

This as the Tribunal gives through its decisions the basis in law upon which deportations and/or unsuccessful genuine [visa, LTR, and asylum applicants] appellants are constrained to leave the UK voluntarily although their safety and intrinsic human rights are unquestionably in danger and compromised, or are forced to do so by Immigration ‘Enforcement’ (IE) often via detention and subsequent deportation.

The Tribunal is one of a number of different tribunals, and an entity in its own right, that is not a part of the Home Office family of Hostile Environment implementing agencies (UKVI, being the lead, IE another, and a number of others interconnected to lesser or greater extents).  It assesses UKVI refusal decisions, and it asserts that it is independent of the UKVI/Home Office, and carries out its duties professionally, and with the necessary objectivity and balance in hearing appellants cases. 

As such as scandals (Windrush cases, Gurkha DNA cases, LGBT cases, etc.)  as well as statistics on refusals of particular population groups have evidence ( have demonstrated, the Tribunal has a substantial, and clearly growing number of judges that are, so to speak, de-facto Hostile Environment ‘compliant.’  This is the only reasonable conclusion that can be reached from the statistics referred to and details emerging in Tribunal handing of scandals detailed in the news media and communities affected/targeted.

Of course, changes on this scale cannot happen by chance, there has been and will be central multiagency direct9on and coordination on this, perhaps through secret provisions of a Tribunal, Hostile Environment era ‘operating mandate.’  However, what we do know is that it is the Home Office, NOT the appellant that has the key power to select when a case will be heard, and as the Immigration Tribunal operated on a schedule of available judges on specific dates and locations basis, the Home Office can, having this extremely important information, de-facto pick the judge, or extreme probability of the judge most likely to give an unfavourable hearing of the given Appellant’s case.  This is, for example and evidence-based reasons detailed in this section of the information resource website, and elsewhere on the latter, why oral hearings are much more preferable for Hostile Environment implementation, than Hearings on the Papers. 

In an oral hearing presided by an – on the basis of their record of decisions on cases and analysis of the quality of their refusals information – Hostile Environment ‘compliant’ judge the detailed appeal document (which is the actual Appellant’s appeal) can be easily ignored and the oral hearing be conducted on a ‘lets hear about the case and why you feel the decision to refuse your application was wrong,’ basis: in practice a professional, fair, truly diligent judge will before an oral hearing have a detailed knowledge of the point by point appeal detail and supportive evidence, and with the onus placed on the Home Office to rebut these points at specific numerated items level and respond to the evidence the appellant has provided in support to these.  

In practice, at operational level, as revealed through many appellants experiences and formal letters from senior officials, the relationship with the UKVI is Tribunal independence-compromising, beyond any reasonable doubt.  We include some examples of this sooner or later learned, UK Immigration service user experience of the Tribunal in the era of the Hostile Environment, below:

For example, the UKVI/Home Office has offices actually in the Hatton Cross ‘IAC’ First-tier Tribunal building, and Tribunal judges at the highest level, have been revealed to take de-facto direction on approaches to appeals the UKVI/Home Office consider important for either effectively challenging or reinforcing the ‘Hostile Environment.’  The Tribunal will commonly not enforce its own mandatory requirements in regard to aspects of appeal submission material process (such as mandatory 7-day ‘bundles’ provision to the Appellant), when the Home Office/UKVI breach these.

At the highest levels within the Tribunal organisation structure there may come a point where Tribunal officials admit they will only answer some, not all of your questions you may need to ask if you have an oral hearing in particular where you feel processes were irregular or abused, or your appeal was not approached in an even professional way by the judge allocated to it.  This may relate to a similarly concealed Tribunal ‘Operating Mandate’ in the Hostile Environment era, as exist and are stoutly defended from independent scrutiny in unredacted or redacted forms, in the case of the UKVI and Border ‘Force’ operating mandates.