Fees for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal increase from Monday 10 October 2016

In a previous blog post in April, I highlighted the Government’s proposal to increase fees for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) from £140 to £800. It was also proposed to introduce a fee of £455 for an application to the First-tier Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, a fee of £350 for an application to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal, and a fee of £510 for a hearing in the Upper Tribunal.

Unfortunately, despite widespread condemnation and criticism of the dramatic increase and the adverse effect this would have on access to justice, the Government are implementing the proposals. The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Fees (Amendment) Order 2016 will come into force on Monday 10 October 2016 with the result that the fee for appeals against decisions made after that date will be £800. As far as I am aware, the legislation introducing fees for applications for permission to appeal and for a hearing in the Upper Tribunal is yet to be introduced.  However, such legislation will most likely be introduced and implemented relatively soon.

As noted by Colin Yeo on the Free Movement blog:

"EU migrants are those most likely to be affected by this change; many appeal rights have already disappeared with the Immigration Act 2014 and there is likely to be a huge surge in the number of EU migrant tribunal appeals as some European nationals struggle to establish their right to remain in the UK in their aftermath of Brexit."

In April, I highlighted the possibility that the increase in fees may be short lived in Scotland as the Scotland Act 2016 allows for the administration and management of certain Tribunals (including the Immigration Tribunal) to be devolved. However, anecdotal evidence suggests these functions are unlikely to be devolved until at least 2019. Even then, it is unclear whether the power to vary fees will be devolved. As such, we will be stuck with the UK Government’s astronomical increase in fees for quite some time.