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Immigration Adjudicators

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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33.

What plans he has to increase the training given to immigration adjudicators. [13460]

Although training is primarily a matter for the chief adjudicator, we have substantially increased the money available for judicial training from —47,000 spent last year to —220,000 planned to be spent this year.

All new adjudicators receive two days' induction training, followed by a period of sitting in and mentoring by established adjudicators. Every adjudicator receives at least a day's training each year and attends a two-day conference at least every other year. They all have back-up from a research and information team.

Given that the immigration appellate system is judicial, not administrative, and that many immigration adjudicators are becoming extremely frustrated at what they see as an over-use, possibly an abuse, of judicial review—25 per cent. of all judicial reviews are now immigration related—is it not time that the Minister considered whether he should curb, restrict or in some way remove the rights of parties to seek judicial review of such decisions?

As I have said before to the hon. Gentleman, a review of those matters is being undertaken by Ministers across Departments and, as a result, I hope that we will be able to bring forward proposals that meet his concerns.

I hope that my hon. Friend will bear it in mind that such issues must be looked at in a broad and tolerant way because we are dealing with people's lives. Two doctors in my constituency have been refused permission to bring in their mother on the basis that ladies aged 67 are not capable of work. I feel therefore that perhaps a little enlightenment in some of those Departments would not go amiss.

The Lord Chancellor's Department's responsibilities relate to appeals. The enlightenment necessary in that context should be such as to ensure that such appeals are dealt with speedily, fairly and in a satisfactory manner.