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Anonymity orders in First-tier Tribunal and Court of Appeal immigration cases

Anonymity orders in First-tier Tribunal and Court of Appeal immigration cases

Further to the recent update to Upper Tribunal anonymity rules, we now have fresh guidance on the issue from the First-tier Tribunal and Court of Appeal.

President Clements’s note contains this important passage:

10. There is a need for caution where the Tribunal is considering making an [anonymity] order of its own motion, where neither party has made an application. There is a risk that such an order might prevent a party, likely to be the appellant, from discussing his or her case with the media (in some circumstances the appellant and his or her representatives might see this as a desirable step).

11. There has been some concern in recent years that more anonymity orders are made by the Tribunal than are necessary and that the terms of these orders are wider in scope than they need to be. This may cause difficulties for the parties as it is far from clear that the Tribunal has the power to vary or amend such a direction after appeal proceedings are completed… For this reason, an anonymity order for an indefinite period (one that continues beyond completion of the proceedings) should be made only exceptionally and where there is strong justification for doing so.

We have raised exactly this concern, highlighting that the previous First-tier Tribunal guidance lacked fervour on open justice. The new guidance on this point is very welcome and tribunal judges considering anonymity orders where nobody has asked for one should take note.

The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.