Refusals and Appeals in the UK

This article examines the UK appeal system and its procedures and attempts to simplify the process to the individual appealing. There are always times when the Home office chooses to refuse an application for reasons which may or may not be fair or reasonable.

The system of appeals in UK immigration law is very complex. Some refusals carry a right of appeal, others do not. A further complication is that even where it is stated in the refusal that there is no right of appeal, this does not mean that there is no right of appeal on the grounds of human rights or race discrimination. Some people who are refused have a right of appeal, but one that can only be exercised after they have left the UK, also known as an ‘out of country’ appeal.

Where an administration decision, and that includes not only a decision from the UK authorities such as the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) of the Home Office but also a decision of a tribunal such as the AIT, does not carry a right of appeal, then a person can apply to have the fairness and propriety of the decision scrutinized by the UK High Court, by making an application for judicial review.
A successful appeal or review may be the end of the case, or the Home Office may try to appeal or challenge the decision further. In some cases, the result of a successful appeal or review is that the case goes back to the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) or to the immigration judges of the AIT to be decided again.

The first thing to do when you receive a refusal is not to panic. This does not mean that you have to immediately leave the UK. You should immediately obtain legal advice about your rights to appeal from a solicitor.

Even if we did not deal with your original application you can still come to us for help on an application that has been refused or a case that has run into difficulties. If you have received a refusal, do not delay getting advice and help.

We can advise you on the possibility obtaining a review of a decision, or of appealing, on the prospects of success, the costs implications, and on your alternatives.

The appeal procedure is as follows:

1. Refusal of your application
2. 10 working days to appeal from the date you received the refusal notice. The date you receive the notice of decision by post is two days after the date on the notice
3. Appeal received by the court who will arrange the date of the hearing and any directions to the appellant and respondent

The hearing
You will be notified in writing of the date, time and place of your appeal hearing(s) with a guide to the hearing centre and directions where your appeal is to be heard. If you live outside the United Kingdom the hearing will take place in your absence.
In the hearing room with you will be:

  • The immigration judge or judges / non legal members (if any);
  • Your representative (if any);
  • The Home Office presenting officer;
  • An interpreter (if you have asked for one);
  • Witnesses (if any, when called);
  • Witnesses (when they are called, if any); and
  • Members of the public (if any).

The Immigration Judge, representative and Home Office Presenting Officer will refer to the documents you have provided in support of your appeal and those against your appeal. You may be asked questions to support the evidence you have provided. Your interpreter will translate the questions and answers and translate any other discussions if necessary. The setting is not as formal as the higher courts. The immigration Judge will inform you about the hearing and what the roles of each of the parties are so that you will understand the process.

Once all the submissions have been heard from both sides, the immigration judge will inform all parties about his role in making a decision. The immigration judge’s written decision is called a determination. Where there is an oral hearing, the determination should be sent to all parties within 10 days from hearing date although this may take longer; up to a month depending on the complexity of the case.

Further appeals to the higher courts in the UK and internationally, including judicial review in the UK courts and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, may be necessary when your case can only succeed if you succeed in changing the existing law.

However difficult things look at the moment, to give yourself the best possible chance of sorting things out, contact us for realistic advice on your options, prospects of success and how we can represent you.

Remember, legal advice should always be sought before proceeding on any application. It pays to have your application approved the first time.

Please speak to our Immigration specialist Alvyn Kee on 020 7998 7777 or email him at for more information.

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