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Immigration judicial reviews to be transferred


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The Government is amending the Crime and Courts Bill to allow transfer of any or all immigration, asylum and nationality judicial review cases from the High Court to the Upper Tribunal. This seems to have pretty much universal support from Government, Opposition, the High Court and the Upper Tribunal. It is therefore very likely now to become law.

Many thanks to ILPA for the heads up on this. The relevant part of the debate can be found here.

Immigration judicial reviews form a very large part of the workload of the High Court so this reform will have a significant impact on listings and the general workload of High Court judges. The proposed reform will not deal with the causes of the high number of judicial reviews, though: frequent illegality on the part of the immigration authorities. It will simply shunt the cases a little lower down the judicial pecking order.

It is unclear at this stage what types of immigration judicial review will be transferred. All that the responsible Minister, Lord McNally, would say at this juncture was as follows:

The further categories of cases that would be transferred to the Upper Tribunal would have to be set out in a direction, or directions, made by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor under the provisions in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. We envisage that the transfers will take place in a staged fashion to increase slowly the types of judicial review dealt with by the Upper Tribunal.

It could be that all immigration cases will ultimately be transferred, as seems to be implied, or it may well be that some categories of case are retained in the High Court, such as unlawful detention and damages claims. It seems to be the way of the world that further information will emerge but in the form of correspondence and assurances to Members of Parliament (i.e. the fantastic, amazing, indefatigable Lord Avebury). Much of this will be available to ILPA members only.

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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.


8 Responses

    1. Follow the link. It is to Hansard. They debated it 3 days ago and the Act has not yet been passed. It is not immediate, no.

  1. In the interests of balance isn’t it also appropriate to mention that ‘frequent illegality on the part of the immigration authorities’ may account for some of it but so does a lot of the spurious JR’s pursued by claimants who are simply trying to protract matters and also by numerous lawyers who see it as a cash cow?

    But I suppose this website is more a China than a flourishing democracy!

  2. But I’ve seen Admin Court judges sitting in the UT dealing with JR’s and at least one UT Judge (Ocko) sitting in the Admin Court doing the same? Is this actually new?

    1. It is new because it is only a very limited range of JRs that can currently be heard in the UT. Parliament specifically legislated previously to prevent transfer of immigration JRs to the UT, so, yes, it is new and it is quite a big deal constitutionally and both for immigration and non-immigration litigants in the Admin Court who will all be affected. Non immigration litigants will probably be quite pleased as this will free up Admin Court resources, although it will bung things up in the UT unless considerable new judicial resources are found.