A guide for unrepresented Appellants from London immigration solicitors
Many applicants have an appeal right against a refusal of leave to remain or a protection claim made to the Home Office, but do not have the funds to pay for representation at the hearing.
This guide gives you an idea of the steps you should take when preparing an appeal to the Home Office without the assistance of a solicitor or legal representative.
Your first action should be to work out whether you do have any funds at all that you would be willing to spend on the case. Whilst full representation at an appeal hearing is likely to start from around £2,000, it may be that you could obtain partial representation for the hearing. For example, it may be that you prepare your statements and bundles of documents yourself and take it to a legal representative to check, with you serving the documents yourself. At Westkin a one – to one and a half hour checking service is £450 and could reduce the cost of your appeal preparation, whilst still ensuring the appeal is properly prepared and contains the correct documents.
Another option that you may wish to consider, in conjunction or otherwise with the option above, is hiring a direct access barrister. This is a barrister who will appear in court on your behalf, however, will not prepare your case for you. You will therefore need to liaise with the court and serve documents, however, you will be represented on the day of your hearing.
It may be that neither of these options may be possible for you, and in this case, you must prepare and represent yourself at the hearing.
An Immigration Law firm’s steps for preparation of your appeal:
Step 1: The first step is to read all documents you receive from the court very carefully. You will usually be issued with ‘directions’ which are things you must do. Standard directions usually require you to send the documents you intend to rely on to the court and to the Home Office by a certain date. It is important that you diarise these dates so that you comply with directions.
Step 2: What documents will you need? You will need to prepare a ‘bundle’ of documents with page numbers and an index. You will then send these to the court and Home Office. The addresses for service will be contained in the paperwork from the court, but you can always call the customer service number on the notice of hearing if you have questions about this. You will always need to send witness statements to the court and Home Office from every person you intend to have speak in support of you at your hearing. This might be friends, relatives, colleagues or even church pastors, experts, doctors, or social workers. In all cases there must be some written record of their evidence before they come to court to give oral evidence.
Step 3: Other evidence. It is very important that you carefully go through the Home Office refusal letter carefully to determine why your application was refused. Was there missing documentary evidence? Were there aspects of your case that the Home Office didn’t believe, if so is there evidence you can obtain that will challenge these views by the Home Office. Be wary of putting in irrelevant documents. Judges become frustrated if they must carry around large bundles of irrelevant material!
Once the bundles are completed and submitted to the court, you will of course need to attend your appeal hearing. Please see this blog for details of what happens on the day of your hearing.
Immigration appeals can be a difficult and emotional tiring process. If you are in need of assistance, we are prepared to provide you expert immigration advice and services.
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