How are hearings conducted in the Immigration & Asylum Chamber?

The Immigration & Asylum Chamber

Who is involved in a hearing at the Immigration & Asylum Chamber?

The parties involved in a hearing at the Immigration & Asylum Chamber will, in all cases, include the Immigration Judge assigned to the case (or indeed a panel of two or three Immigration Judges). The appellant will be expected to be present, unless the appellant is at that time out of country, in which case a sponsor will appear to give evidence on their behalf; for example if the appeal is against a decision to refuse a family visit visa.

In the hearing, a Home Office Presenting Officer will represent the Respondent; which varies from Visa Officer (for visa cases), Entry Clearance Officer (for out of country appeals) and Secretary of State (for in country and asylum appeals). If the appellant is represented then either counsel or a solicitor will represent on their behalf.

A court appointed interpreter may also be present in order to assist the court by interpreting what the Immigration Judge and advocates are saying to an appellant who does not speak English (well, or at all) and also to interpret into English the appellant’s answers to questions from the advocates. The interpreter is independent and is not given any information about the case beforehand. The appellant’s representative, or the appellant/ sponsor themselves, must request an interpreter to be booked in advance and specify the language and dialect required. It is sometimes possible to arrange an interpreter at the last minute if the hearing centre staff are notified at the beginning of the day.

If the appellant is detained, then members of the relevant security force who have brought the appellant from a prison will remain in the hearing room with the appellant for the course of the hearing. If the appellant is detained for criminal charges then the hearing must be moved to a Crown Court so that the level of security facilities is high enough; if the appellant is being detained for immigration purposes i.e. their criminal sentence has finished but the Home Office believes they should be deported, then the hearing can take place at a normal Immigration & Asylum Chamber hearing centre.

A court clerk may be present to assist with fetching witnesses, photocopying documents, setting up video links or aiding the Immigration Judge in any other suitable ways.

How is the hearing conducted at the Immigration & Asylum Chamber?

The court clerk will gather all the parties ready for the hearing to proceed and then the Immigration Judge will enter the hearing room. It is customary for all parties to rise until the Immigration Judge is seated or indicates for them to sit down. The Immigration Judge will introduce all the parties to the appellant and require a form from the legal representative relating to section 84 of the Nationality, Immigration & Asylum Act 2002.

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For more information on:

  • Is the Immigration & Asylum Chamber a public court?