The Government has announced plans to substantially increase Court fees relating to immigration appeals. The aim is to ensure that the fees paid fully meet the costs of the proceedings. This proposed funding model is not replicated elsewhere within the Court system.
If the proposals go ahead (consultation is open until 3 June 2016) the appeal fee in the First-tier Tribunal will increase from £80 to £490 (increase of over 600%) for a decision on the papers and from £140 to £800 (increase of 570%) for an application for an oral hearing. There is also to be a new fee of £455 for an application to the First-tier Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
The Government also proposes a fee of £350 for an application to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal, where permission has been refused by the First-tier Tribunal; and a fee of £510 for an appeal hearing where permission was granted.
Some exemptions will continue to apply, for example to applicants who qualify for legal aid or asylum support; those who are appealing against a decision to deprive them of their citizenship; and those children bringing appeals to the tribunal who are being supported by a local authority.
Not surprisingly there is concern that there will be a substantial reduction in the number of appeals as a consequence of the proposed new fees.