Following further changes to the immigration tribunals, we have updated our guide on access to justice and the right to a fair hearing in the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal (IAC) during Covid-19.

Presidential Practice Note No 2 of 2020 came into force on 22nd June 2020, and consolidates, updates and amends the procedure in the IAC during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guide includes an overview of the new procedures and provides practical and strategic considerations to navigate the new system.

Since March 2020, procedural rules in the IAC have sought to introduce new ways of operating, including using technology to keep the wheels of justice turning during the pandemic. However, the capacity of the IAC to guarantee that justice is delivered will depend on the context of the case and the needs of the particular appellant.  Keeping the wheels of justice turning does not require compromises to be made on an appellant’s right to a fair hearing and access to justice and the guide sets out important new considerations to assist representatives.

Despite the significant changes to the procedure in the First-tier Tribunal, legal aid funding for fixed fee cases remains inadequate. In response to the negative impact on access to justice of the new regime, members of 1MCB Chambers have issued a joint statement with members of nineteen other chambers adopting a policy not accept instructions to prepare an Appellant Skeleton Argument in fixed fee legal aid cases, other than in exceptional circumstances.

1MCB also fully supports YLAL‘s campaign A Prayer for Legal Aid supporting an Early Day Motion to strike down the statutory instrument that introduced the new standard fixed fee.

Version two of the guide can be accessed here.