As OISC level 3 advisers we are deemed to be advocates/specialists and are fully qualified to represent clients in front of Judges at appeal hearings at the Immigration Tribunal, both First and Upper Tribunals, or in meetings with the UK Border Agency/Home Office.
We regularly handle appeals on behalf of solicitors and OISC Level 1 or 2 qualified firms as well as private individuals who have often used a visa agency or have done the application for the initial visa by themselves.
Fees depend on the complexity of a case and the whereabouts of the hearing. Our fees are in two stages, firstly the preparation of the grounds for appeal and then the preparation and attendance at Court. We are always pleased to discuss a case at no cost and then quote a fee when we are in possession of the relevant facts.
It is untrue that following the Immigration Act 2014 appeals can only be brought under the Human Rights Act.
Frequently it is not necessary to go for the long winded process of a full appeal when the Embassy are in the wrong. We are legally entitled to challenge the decision by the Embassy and ask them to review it without launcing a full appeal. This is obviously a less expensive and quicker route. Please contact us to discuss your case and the best way forward.
The new 2014 Act removes the full right of appeal for some visas on many grounds leaving only appeals on Human Rights grounds, Refusal of Protection, Revocation of Protection Status and EEA based claims as the only grounds for appeal to the Tribiunal. All other appeals will be dealt with by way of administrative review which means the grounds for appeal will be dealt with by the relevant visa section who will look again at the case. The cost of this will be £80.00 payable to UKVI. They are trying to say this will be a cheaper and quicker method but this is to be proven. Our fee for preparing a review case will vary depending on the complexity but will be in the region of £200-£250.
Settlement visa applications are still subject to a full appeal to an Immigration Judge.
The Court fees are £80 for a papers only hearing and £140 for an oral hearing at which you can be represented or represent yourself or the appellant. These fees are as from 10th October 2016 and apply to all new appeals lodged regardless of the date of refusal or original application. Please see our news section for recent changes to these fees which may only be temporary.
For entry clearance (settlement visa) appeals the stages are as follows:
The Entry Clearance Officer issues a notice of refusal. For an application made outside of the UK there is a strict deadline of 28 days after the receipt of the refusal to lodge an appeal.
The ECO will have issued an official appeal form along with the refusal notice. This needs to be completed which we do on your behalf and to it must be added the Grounds for Appeal which can be quite lengthy which we also prepare. The grounds must state in legal terms the reasons why the refusal is incorrect and refer to relevant legislation and quote relevant case law. This is then submitted to the Tribunal in the UK only. There is a fee to pay depending on whether you choose an Oral hearing £140 or a paper hearing £80 for appeals against a refusal dated on or after 19 December 2011. This is in addition to our fees. The appeal fee is payable for each notice of refusal to be appealed.
The papers will be sent to the UKVI office concerned and the Entry Clearance Manager can decide to overturn the original decision or allow it to stand. It is not true that an ECM will not overturn a decision and this does happen, but in most cases they just support the original decision.
If the ECM does not decide to accept the Grounds then they are forwarded on to a senior caseworker who will decide if the case should continue to the Tribunal. If the decision is not to proceed the ECM will be instructed to issue the visa. Otherwise the case will be forwarded to the Home Office/UKBA Presenting Officer’s Unit (HOPO) who will prepare their case for trial. They can also decide not to proceed if they believe the case is weak and instruct the ECM to issue the visa.
Assuming the case continues to trial the appellant or representative such as ourselves must supply a Skeleton Argument along with a ‘bundle’ of all documentary evidence in support of the Appeal together with any prepared Witness Statements. There are very strict rules as to what evidence may be included in the ‘bundle.’
Often the HOPO will drop the case on receipt of these and instruct that the visa be issued.
However if the matter continues to trial the legal representative, such as ourselves, will prepare evidence in chief, arrange discovery of any relevant documentary or other evidence, opening and closing arguments and appear at the Tribunal to represent the appellant. A pre-hearing briefing will be arranged between us and the sponsor and any witnesses. Legal arguments will be made before the Judge and arguments will be made directly with the Advocate appearing for the Home Office/UKBA. The sponsor will normally be expected to attend the hearing and will be asked to present a Witness Statement which will have been prepared in advance by us in conjunction with the sponsor. This will be in non-legal language that the sponsor understands and is happy with.
The Judge will normally give an indication of his decision and this will be followed approximately two weeks later by a formal written determination of the case. Assuming that this is in favour of the appellant a copy will be sent to the ECM who must then issue the visa-normally within eight weeks.
It takes roughly six to eight months from the start of the appeal to a Court date and the UKBA can drop the case and issue a visa at any time before the hearing. If they do so the Court date and any further work by the Tribunal automatically cease and the appellant needs to take no action.
It is a serious criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment, for anyone who is not a qualified and duly registered advocate to represent a person in Court.