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English courts can’t hear immigration appeals from Scotland


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Immigration law is the same across the United Kingdom, but the legal systems are not. Normally that doesn’t matter. Sometimes, as in the case of Khurshid v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 1515, it does.

Mr Khursid is involved in legal proceedings to secure his right to remain in the UK. He lives in Scotland, but uses English solicitors. There have long been problems with English-qualified lawyers being unable to argue cases in Scotland, even in the UK-wide immigration tribunal. The tribunal stage doesn’t seem to have been an issue for Mr Khursid, but when he sought to appeal his case further to the Court of Session, officials told his solicitors:

you must have a right of audience should you wish to appeal to the Court of Session. As you do not you must therefore instruct Scottish solicitors to lodge on your behalf.

Mr Khursid’s solicitors went instead to the Court of Appeal in their home jurisdiction of England and Wales, asking it to hear the case.

Lord Justice Dingemans refused, pointing out that this isn’t the first time the issue has come up. The case of KP (Pakistan) [2019] EWCA Civ 556 established that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear an immigration appeal earmarked for the Court of Session. Dingemans LJ also rejected a bid to use Cart judicial review powers to redirect the case to England: Mr Khursid’s “trust and confidence in his current solicitors” did not justify such a move, only possible in “exceptional circumstances”.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.