In our previous blogs on submitting appeals documents and preparing for immigration appeal, we covered lodging an appeal to the Tribunal, including out of time appeals and requesting costs in immigration proceedings. In this blog, we look at case management, including case management review hearings, pre-hearing reviews, as well as applications for directions by the Tribunal.
What does the tribunal do?
The Tribunal actively conducts case management. This power comes from Rule 4 of the 2014 Procedure Rules
Under Rule 4, the Tribunal can give directions which cover a whole host of issues, including:
- Requiring a document and/or bundle to be produced
- Setting a timescale for the provision of evidence
- Provide for a matter to be dealt with as a preliminary issue
- Adjourning a hearing
- Consolidate or hearing together two or more sets of hearings
- Extend or shorten the time for compliance with a particular direction
Part of the reason for this is the overriding objective contained at Rule 2 of the 2014 procedure rules which requires the Tribunal to deal with the case fairly and justly and proportionately with the importance of anticipated costs considered.
What happens at a case management review hearing?
At a case management review hearing:
- Parties are required to attend court (however, the appellant is not required to attend where they are represented) unless it is an asylum CMRH, in which case the hearing will be conducted “on the papers” with a “reply notice” required from the appellant by a specified date
- In EEA/Human Rights and Entry Clearance appeals, a CMRH is not usually deemed necessary
- In deportation appeals, at least one CMRH will take place
- Parties can request an oral CMRH if there is a particular reason or issue requiring a hearing
In the case management review hearing, the following topics are normally covered by the judge:
- Preliminary issues such as the right of appeal/jurisdiction
- Clarification of the issues/grounds of appeal
- Checking bundles
- Timetabling of further evidence (especially expert evidence)
- Identification of witnesses
- Narrowing down the expected length/time of the substantive hearing
- Need for interpreters at the substantive hearing
- Any other issues requiring directions from the Tribunal
Making use of a court clerk
If you are an OISC practitioner and you have never represented a client at a Tribunal before, you would be wise to make a request to the court clerk that you are heard towards the end of the list (if you are in a purely CMRH list) so you can have an idea of how case management review hearings are conducted by the presiding judge in your court. The court clerk will normally oblige, and this will give you time to obtain any additional information that you need.
At the case management review hearing, you can make an application for directions from the Tribunal. The Tribunal may also make a direction, even where one is not requested. You can also request directions in writing at other times.
An application for an adjournment can be made at any point, including on the day of the substantive hearing for an adjournment.
The Tribunal’s powers are covered by case management powers under rule 4(3)(h)
“The Tribunal may ….. adjourn or postpone a hearing”
Although this is subject to the overriding objective under rule 2
In the case of Nwaigwe (adjournment: fairness)  UKUT 418 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal held:
“If a Tribunal refuses to accede to an adjournment request, such decision could, in principle, be erroneous in law in several respects: these include a failure to take into account all material considerations; permitting immaterial considerations to intrude; denying the party concerned a fair hearing; failing to apply the correct test; and, acting irrationally. In practice, in most cases, the question will be whether the refusal deprived the affected party of his right to a fair hearing. Where an adjournment refusal is challenged on fairness grounds, it is important to recognise that the question for the Upper Tribunal is not whether the First-tier Tribunal acted reasonably. Rather, the test to be applied is that of fairness: was there any deprivation of the affected party’s right to a fair hearing?”
This gives an overview of some of the powers of the Tribunal prior to the hearing.
Need more info?
Contact our London-based immigration solicitors at:
Phone number: 0207 118 4546
Or email us at email@example.com