What are Immigration Judicial Review Applications?
Immigration Judicial Review Applications are formal requests for a court to consider whether a Home Office decision was made lawfully and fairly. If you are unsure if you have grounds for a Judicial Review, please read our recent article, “What are the Grounds for Immigration Judicial Reviews in the UK?”.
Table of Contents
In this article, we will look at Immigration Judicial Review Applications and how to start the process surrounding them.
Step 1 – Pre-action Protocol
Before making an application for a Judicial Review, you or your Solicitor must follow the pre-action protocol. The aim of the pre-action protocol is to avoid court litigation where it can be avoided. The pre-action protocol may not be appropriate in very urgent cases (e.g. if your removal from the UK is imminent), hence it is important to seek the advice of an immigration Solicitor who can guide you through the process.
This pre-action stage involves sending a letter (referred to as a “pre-action letter” or “letter before claim”) to the Home Office explaining the issues that are being disputed and establishing whether it is possible to resolve or partially resolve the matter without a Judicial Review. The letter should include the following information:
- Why you believe the Home Office acted unfairly, irrationally or unlawfully
- A request for the Home Office to resolve the matter and when this should be done by, and
- A request for a formal response within 14 days.
If your letter before claim has merit, the Home Office is required to rectify the problems identified without the need for a Judicial Review. If the Home Office disagrees with your assessment, you can proceed to the Judicial Review application stage.
Step 2 – Seeking permission for Judicial Review
You will have 3 months to lodge your application for a Judicial Review from the date of the decision. To apply for a Judicial Review, you will need to complete and submit form UTIAC1 and email this to the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber (UTIAC). On this form, you will need to outline the decision you would like to be judicially reviewed, whether you have complied with the pre-action protocol, and provide a detailed statement of the facts and grounds explaining why the decision made by the Home Office should be reviewed by the tribunal. You will also need to pay an application fee of £154 (subject to change to best to check with us for the most recent figure) and provide any supporting documents. The form should be sent to your nearest Upper Tribunal regional office in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, or Manchester.
Upon receipt of the Judicial Review application form, the Upper Tribunal regional office will send you a sealed (stamped) copy of your completed application form confirming the following:
- the date you filed the application and
- your UTIAC case reference number
You will then need to:
- send a copy of the sealed Judicial Review application form (stamped) with any supporting documents and the case reference number to the Home Office, and
- complete and submit form UTIAC2 to the Upper Tribunal confirming the documents have been served on the Home Office.
On receipt of the claim, the Home Office has 21 days to file an “acknowledgement of service”. It will then review the claim and will either overturn and remake its decision or defend its decision. If the Home Office decides to defend the matter, it will prepare and send a “defence statement” outlining the grounds for defence.
An Upper Tribunal judge will then review the claim and the defence statement to decide whether to grant permission for you to formally seek a Judicial Review. It is important to note that the vast majority of Judicial Review applications decided “on the papers” provided are refused. In this case, you may be able to ask the court to reconsider their decision in an oral hearing, as long as it is not considered to be “totally without merit”.
If you are granted permission to proceed with the judicial review, the Home Office may then decide to overturn or reconsider its decision or continue in its defence. In the latter scenario, you will then proceed to a full hearing. You will be advised of the arrangements for the hearing and the process for providing any documents, including any witness statements and written submissions.
Step 3 – Judicial Review hearing
During a Judicial Review hearing, an Upper Tribunal judge will consider your claim based on all of the documents and information provided (referred to as a “bundle”). If you are represented by an immigration Solicitor, you will not normally speak in court. In most cases, a decision will be made at a later date following the hearing. If you win your case, the Upper Tribunal judge will not tell the Home Office what decision to make, but it will compel them to review their decision based on the error of law made.
Immigration Judicial Review Applications – Final words
Judicial Review is typically only ever considered as an option of last resort when all other ways forward have been exhausted. This is because Judicial Reviews are legally complex and can take up to 12 months to complete. That said, if the Home Office has acted unfairly or unlawfully, a Judicial Review may be the best option to overcome an adverse decision made against you or your family member/s.
Gulbenkian Andonian specialises in the most complex and urgent immigration applications and appeals cases. Our immigration appeal solicitors have successfully assisted many individuals and their family members in overcoming overwhelming odds to remain in the UK; let us do the same for you. Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below to discuss your matter with one of our friendly and empathetic team.
The cost of applying for a judicial review in the UK varies depending on the complexity of your case. Generally, you will need to pay a court fee which is around £770 (subject to change so please do check with us beforehand) and also, if you choose to work with a team of immigration solicitors to represent you, you will also need to pay for legal fees. For the best idea of how much this will cost if you instruct us, it is best to contact us directly to discuss the complexities of your case.
The length of time it takes for a judicial review to be processed in the UK is dependent on the complexity of your case. Generally, you should allow up to 6 months for the entire process; however this could take longer depending on the complexity and number of issues present in your case. In addition, if you are representing yourself, then additional delays can occur due to the time taken to prepare the legal case and submit it. If you are represented by a team of solicitors, then this should help avoid any unnecessary delays in processing your application.
The three grounds for judicial review are illegality, irrationality and procedural unfairness. For more info on them, please read our article on the ground for judicial review. Click here.
The success rate of immigration judicial reviews will vary depending on the complexity and merits of each individual case. Generally, between 10-30 per cent are successful, although this can be higher or lower depending on the circumstances. It is always best to seek advice before attempting a judicial review in order to maximise the chances of it being successful.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.