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Judge J


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An entertaining couple of articles appeared in The Mail on Sunday over the weekend. I’m not exactly a regular reader of that publication, but was tipped off about it.

Immigration Judge “J” of Brazilian cleaner infamy gives an interview to the ‘Femail’ supplement. She comes across, rather unsurprisingly, as bitter and disillusioned. It’s quite a fun read. She has very little time for her ex-colleagues, who she dismisses as ‘complete prima donnas’. Some great self-image stuff on how she was the talented outsider battling away for true justice etc etc.

However, this interview is nothing in comparison to the ‘news’ piece that accompanies it, in which The Mail gets to impose its agenda properly. The tragic thing is that most of what Judge J says is true. I don’t like the spin The Mail puts on it, but some immigration judges have no idea at all about other cultures, don’t seem to engage with the sometimes life and death cases they are deciding and can have very strange expectations about human behaviour. The ‘one’ tier system is a complete joke. It’s all but identical to the two-tier system it was supposed to replace and has actually increased the number of cases having to be appealed to the Court of Appeal, not decreased the numbers of appeals. The Home Office is still a shambles, although they do seem to be making some progress at sorting things out, finally. She is also right about the need to simplify the legislation.

I think a 17% appeal success rate is pretty high, though. Especially when almost every single refused asylum seeker appeals. Only those with a 50:50 chance of success end up with public funding for their appeals. The success rate has fallen from 22% a few years ago, but if the tax system was so unfair and incompetent that 17% of appeals were successful, there’d probably be a revolution.

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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.