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Black belt barrister among new First-tier Tribunal judges


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Eleven salaried immigration judges have been appointed to the First-tier Tribunal. They are as follows:


  • Neeti Haria, 55, solicitor. Previously held various fee-paid roles, including in the immigration and asylum chamber.
  • John Keith, 43, solicitor. Head of employment law at BT, also with experience as a fee-paid immigration and employment judge.
  • Siew Loke, 37, barrister. A government lawyer specialising in immigration, previously in criminal practice at Lamb Buildings. Also accomplished in martial arts.
  • Charlotte Welsh, 45, barrister. Joined the Crown Prosecution Service in 2006, progressing to the private office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • Hina Rai, 39, solicitor turned barrister. CPS prosecutor specialising in extradition, with non-criminal experience on the Valuation Tribunal for England and Work Permit Appeal Tribunal on the Isle of Man.
  • Stephen Smith, 36, barrister. Also a government lawyer.


  • Lucy Murray, 49, barrister. A fee-paid immigration judge for over a decade.
  • Gareth Wilson, 43, solicitor. An in-house solicitor with the Welsh government.


  • John Bristow, 41, solicitor. Began in civil litigation before working for the CPS, latterly as a senior crown prosecutor in the West Midlands. A legally qualified chair of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal.


North Shields

  • Carl Gumsley, 51, barrister. Moves from the IPCC, where he was a commissioner. Before that spent time as the resident judge on the Falkland Islands. A criminal practitioner and a Recorder since 2008.

Congratulations to all those appointed. There is plenty for them to do, with rising waiting times for immigration and asylum appeals. Last month’s tribunal statistics from the Ministry of Justice confirm that the average wait is 52 weeks. The issue is not necessarily a lack of judges, though, so much as a lack of allocated hearings and under-resourcing generally.

In other judicial news, Paul Southern departs from the Upper Tribunal to the Circuit bench from 22 January, bringing with him 15 years worth of immigration law experience.

It was announced before Christmas that Frank Appleyard would become the resident immigration judge in Birmingham with immediate effect. Judge Appleyard, 61, has been making immigration appeal decisions since 2003.

Finally, I understand that Dr Amir Majid, the fee-paid immigration judge so harshly criticised by the Upper Tribunal last year, has stood down. A spokesman for the judiciary confirmed that he retired as a judge on 7 December.

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CJ McKinney

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.