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Anonymous appellants and secret hearings
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The Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) has updated its guidance on exceptions to open justice. Guidance Note 2022 No 2: Anonymity Orders and Hearings in Private runs to 53 paragraphs, twice the length of its 2013 predecessor, issued under President Blake.
The note reminds judges:
Given the importance of open justice, the general principle is that an anonymity order should only be made by UTIAC to the extent that the law requires it or it is found necessary to do so.
Situations where “the law requires it” include to protect alleged victims of sexual offences or human trafficking, or children involved in Family or Youth Court cases.
Situations where it is “necessary” relate to human rights or the best interests of children. Such situations “may require the weighing of the competing interests of an individual and their rights (for example, under Articles 3 or 8 of the ECHR or their ability to present their case in full without hindrance) against the need for open justice”. Anonymity should not be granted merely because an appellant or witness has done something “social embarrassing” or committed a crime.
The guidance note also covers applications to hold all or part of a hearing in private.