UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Fees Set to Increase by 500%

It has been announced that the government are set to go ahead with a rise of up 500% in court fees for asylum and immigration cases. This move comes following a consultation in which just 5 out of the total 147 responses agreed with the move.

Confirmation of the decision came from the MoJ (Ministry of Justice) last week. The MoJ stated that despite being thankful for the responses to the consultation, they believe that the policy should remain that, where fees were charged to access public services, they should be set at such a level to recover the full cost.

This change will mean that any fees for an application to the first-tier tribunal who deal with these immigration or asylum cases. It will now go up from £80 to £490 for a ‘decision on the papers’, and from £140 to £800 when it comes to oral hearings. New fees are also set to be introduced for to appeals to the upper tribunal, these will be £350 for an application and also £510 for the appeal hearing.

In review of the consultation, the ministry estimates that the charges will raise £34m a year on top of the £7 brought in each year by existing fees. This compares with the estimated annual running costs of a total of £86m for both of the tribunals.

There was one concession that was made by the ministers following the consultation. They revealed that any applicants who’ve already been assessed as destitute by the Home Office won’t have to pay the tribunal fees. In addition, exemptions will continue to apply for those who receive asylum support or qualify for legal aid.

The move has already sparked outraged with the Public and Commercial Services Union speaking out to say ‘It is utterly reprehensible that this government is pressing ahead with a 500% increase in tribunal fees, despite overwhelming opposition from law firms, judges, professional bodies, charities and unions.’ However, in response the MoJ argued that the fee rises would secure the funding of immigration and asylum tribunals, whilst ‘protecting access to justice and the most vulnerable appellants through extension of the fee exemption scheme’.

The increases will take place for the first-tier tribunals as soon as possible, with the upper tribunal fees following thereafter.

If you would like any more information on this change, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialists here at IAS.

UPDATE: The UK Government have made a u-turn on the proposed increase in immigration tribunal fees.

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