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Asylum: Appeals

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for statutory review of a refusal to grant asylum were submitted in each year since 1997; how many such applications were granted; and how many substantive re-hearings of asylum applications were successful. (146968)

Appeals against a decision to refuse asylum are heard by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) and prior to April 2005 its predecessor, the Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA). Appeals are heard by an Immigration Judge (IJ) of the AIT. Volumes of asylum appeals since 1997 were:

Calendar year

Adjudicator/Immigration Judge receipts

1997

22,387

1998

15,442

1999

7,775

2000

28,565

2001

47,906

2002

64,127

2003

70,577

2004

47,002

2005

24,891

2006

14,863

Total

343,535

Following a decision on appeal, the unsuccessful party can apply for it to be reviewed on the ground that the IJ made an error of law. The provisions on review were established under Section 101 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum (NIA) Act 2002 and amended by the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) (AITC) Act 2004.

Prior to April 2005, in an appeal to the IAA, the losing party could apply to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal (IAT) for permission to appeal against the decision on a point of law. If refused permission to appeal, the party could apply to the High Court (or the Court of Session in Scotland) for statutory review of that decision, on the ground that the Tribunal had made an error of law. If the High Court granted the application, the case was remitted to the IAT.

Since April 2005, losing parties in appeals to the AIT can apply for review of the decision via a transitional ‘filter’ provision. Applications are considered by Senior Immigration Judges (SIJs) of the AIT. If the application is granted, the SIJ will make an order requiring the AIT to reconsider its decision. If the application is refused, the party can ‘opt in’ to the High Court for statutory review, which is decided by a High Court Judge on consideration of the papers. If the High Court grants the application, an order requiring the AIT to reconsider its decision will be made.

Information is provided for the Tribunal’s permission/filter applications and for the High Court from 2003 when the statutory review provisions commenced:

Calendar year

IAT permissions applications/AIT filter application decisions (Asylum)

Granted

Asylum applications received at the High Court

Applications allowed

1997

8,128

1998

10,313

1999

9,575

2000

5,488

2001

13,538

4,197

2002

22,823

6,847

2003

32,178

11,906

410

93

2004

30,519

9,438

1,840

343

2005

24,711

5,447

3,784

499

2006

8,082

2,291

2,193

172

Total

165,355

8,227

If an application is granted, either by the AIT or the High Court, the appeal falls to be considered afresh by the AIT. Appeals reconsidered and allowed by the AIT and the IAT, pre-April 2005, were:

Calendar year

IAT Appeals/AIT reconsiderations (Asylum)

Allowed

1997

1,373

1998

1,089

1999

1,790

2000

2,637

2001

3,190

447

2002

5,563

668

2003

9,451

1,418

2004

8,783

1,040

2005

7,054

1,269

2006

4,201

1,227

Total

45,131

In appeals to the IAT (i.e. those prior to April 2005), the outcome (allowed or dismissed) relates to the party who lodged the appeal to the IAT, so may have been the respondent in the initial appeal to the IAA. Since April 2005, where an appeal is reconsidered by the AIT, the outcome relates to the appeal and not to the application for review. Thus, where an appeal is allowed on reconsideration, that represents a decision in the appellant's favour.