Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Share this free course

Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor
Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

6.1 How tribunals work

There are many tribunals in the UK. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal operates UK-wide as either a First-tier or Upper Tribunal. They are administered by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), an agency of the Ministry of Justice. Tribunals are independent of Government. A panel listens to both sides of the argument before reaching a decision.

Level 1 immigration advisers are not permitted to advise on appeals or appear in the tribunal. However, they must have an understanding of the powers of the tribunal, the timing of appeals, and case progression for cases through the tribunal.

Level 2 immigration advisers are permitted to lodge notice of appeal and statements of additional grounds, but cannot appear alone in the tribunal; they must instruct a Level 3 adviser, barrister or solicitor.

The First-tier Tribunal hears appeals from citizens against decisions made by Government departments – in immigration matters, this is generally the Home Office. These include:

  • permission to stay in the UK
  • deportation from the UK
  • entry clearance to the UK
  • applications for immigration bail from people being held by the Home Office on immigration matters.

The Upper Tribunal reviews and decides appeals arising from the First–tier Tribunal. Appeals from the decision of a First-tier Tribunal can only be made on the grounds that that the Tribunal made an 'error of law'. Appeals are made to the Upper Tribunal, which is a superior court of record.

The rules for the First-tier Tribunal are set out by a Statutory Instrument: The Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 (2014 No. 2604 (L. 31)). These can be found on GOV.UK [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and The overriding objective of the Rules, which is stated in Rule 2, is to enable the tribunal to deal with cases fairly and justly. In addition, Rule 2(2) notes that judges of the chamber should:

  • deal with the case in a way that is proportionate to its importance (in terms of the complexity of the issues, or anticipated costs of resources of the parties and of the tribunal)
  • avoid unnecessary formality and seeking flexibility in the proceedings
  • ensure, so far as practicable, that the parties can participate fully in the proceedings
  • use any special expertise of the tribunal effectively
  • avoid delay, so far as compatible with proper consideration of the issues.

In addition to the Rules, presidential guidance notes can be issued to judges of the First-tier Tribunal on the interpretation and application of the Rules:

  1. This note is guidance to judges of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on the interpretation and application of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014. This guidance is for information only and is intended to assist individual judges in exercising their responsibilities but is not intended to detract from the duty of each judge to make decisions in proceedings before them.
(Tribunals Judiciary, 2014)

Application forms, details of procedure and appeals can be found on GOV.UK.