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Tribunal caseworker powers expanded in new Practice Statement


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A new Practice Statement adds to the list of immigration tribunal powers that can be exercised by members of staff rather than judges. The Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Ernest Ryder, issued the document on 15 May 2018.

Colin commented on the last version of this Practice Statement, issued in June 2017, that “some of the functions are definitely ones I would consider to be judicial rather than administrative”. The new document admits as much: unlike its predecessors, it declares itself to be a “Practice Statement authorising Tribunal Caseworkers First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) to carry out functions of a judicial nature“.

The additional powers delegated to caseworkers — employed lawyers — are:

  • to consolidate or hear together two or more sets of proceedings or parts of proceedings raising common issues
  • to provide for a particular matter to be dealt with as a preliminary issue
  • to decide the form of any hearing
  • to direct a party to show cause why an order for wasted costs should not be made under Rule 9 (but not to actually make that order)

The full text of the revised Practice Statement is below. Most of it is the same as the June 2017 edition but new text is highlighted in bold.

Having conducted an interim review of the Tribunals Caseworker delegation scheme in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), I am content that the previous authorisations should remain in place for a further period of twelve months, together with the additional authorisations and subject to the amendments underlined. I will conduct another review in due course.

1. The Senior President of Tribunals hereby approves that a member of staff appointed under section 40(1) of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and designated as a ‘Tribunal Caseworker’ by the Chamber President may carry out the following functions of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal under the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum) Rules 2014 to the extent that that Tribunal Caseworker has been authorised to exercise those functions by the Chamber President.

a. Case management powers under Rule 4(3)(a), 4(3)(b), 4(3)(c), 4(3)(d), 4(3)(e), 4(3)(f), 4(3)(g), 4(3)(h), 4(3)(i), and 4(3)(k);

b. Striking out of an appeal for non-payment of fee and reinstatement under Rule 7;

c. Treating an appeal as abandoned or finally determined under Rule 16;

d. Withdrawal functions under Rule 17 (with the exception of Rule 17(2));

e. Notice of appeal functions under Rule 19 (with the exception of Rule 19(7));

f. Late notice of appeal under Rule 20; 2

g. Circumstances in which the Tribunal may not accept a notice of appeal under Rule 22;

h. Issuing directions consequent upon any failure to comply with the mandatory requirements under Rules 23 and 24 in relation to entry clearance and other cases;

i. Clerical mistakes and accidental slips or omissions under Rule 31;

j. Bail applications under Rule 38;

k. Directing a party to show cause why an Order for wasted costs should not be made under Rule 9 but NOT the making of the actual Order.

2. All functions must be exercised in accordance with guidance issued by the Chamber President.

3. In accordance with rule 3(4) of the Tribunal Procedure (First Tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014, within 14 days after the date that the Tribunal sends notice of a decision made by a Tribunal Caseworker pursuant to an approval under paragraph 1 above to a party, that party may apply in writing to the Tribunal for the decision to be considered afresh by a judge.

4. This practice statement is issued for a further period of twelve months (from the expiry of the practice statement dated 7 June 2017) and a review will take place on or before 12 May 2019.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Ryder

Senior President of Tribunals

4 May 2018

Caseworkers have been authorised to carry out certain functions of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) since April 2016. The list of delegated powers has been reviewed and renewed periodically since then, but this is the first time that the list has been expanded.


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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.