Despite overwhelming opposition to proposal of fee increase for first tier tribunal appeals; Just 5 out of 142 respondents agreeing to fee increase, UK Government is going ahead with the fee increase, the increase in some categories being as high as 6 fold.
Overall, annually, this increase of fee is expected to generate an estimated sum of £34m
Fees for various categories as revised are as follows
- Fee for application for a decision on papers revised from £80 to £490;
- Fees for application for oral hearing revised from £140 to £800
- A new fee has been introduced for an application to the first-tier tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal- This fee has been fixed at £455
- Fee for application for permission to appeal in upper Tribunal, where permission had been refused by the first-tier tribunal, will cost £350,
- Fee for an appeal hearing where permission is granted has been fixed at £510;
Would this fee increase deny justice to Poor- This has been one of the major observations by those opposing the fee increase. In fact, the 5 members who voted for fee increase also admitted that this fee increase may lead to denial of justice to few needy people who may not have access to justice while wishing to challenge a Home Office decision.
In Particular applicants challenging asylum decisions, generally have meager resources and would be worst hit.
Limiting People’s ability to appeal reduces State’s Accountability –There is no doubt, the increased fees would discourage people to seek professional legal advice to challenge Home Office decisions and this in turn would reduce state accountability which may come with arbitrary decisions.
Government Stand was clear that increased fees would discourage unmeritorious claims and that those appealing against decisions must pay full costs of the services. It was not correct to subsidize their expenses by honest tax payers’ money which is meant for developing and improving infrastructure. Out of total expenses of £75m to run the tribunal at present rates only £7m is being recovered as fees.
Government’s considered view was that those who use the immigration tribunals should pay the cost of the service they receive and for this objective only the introduction of new fees for appeals in the upper tribunal and for permission to appeal applications has been introduced
However Deserving Candidates may get fee waiver and exemption from high fees, the Government response said.