When an application is made for asylum in the UK, it is the Home Office that initially decides if the applicant may stay or not. If the application is unsuccessful, the applicant can appeal. The appeal is heard in an immigration court presided over by an independent judge.
However, the Home Office can appeal and overturn the results from the immigration court. From April 2017 to March this year, the outcome of 11,974 cases was determined. Of these, 4,332 were overturned. The Home Office then appealed against the outcome of 1,235 of these granting asylum, sending the cases to the upper tribunal. According to a freedom of information response, the independent judge presiding rejected 73% of the 1,235 granted asylum by the immigration court.
There is concern about the effect on those requesting asylum, having to endure long and costly court procedures. This can take up to two years in total. During this time, these asylum seekers can have their lives disrupted without access to areas such as work, benefits and healthcare. There are concerns that the stress of all this can affect their already fragile mental and physical state.
The Home Office has responded by saying that they do not challenge allowed appeals as a matter of course but only where they believe “there has been a material error of law.” They added that most of these appeals are where “the first tier tribunal has dismissed their appeals.”
Employees of the Home Office have a reward scheme at work. These “win rates” in appeals have made up some of the rewards but a spokeswoman for the Home Office stated that this is not now the case.