Tribunal fee reversal: Bar Council response

25 November 2016

BAR COUNCIL RESPONSE TO TRIBUNAL FEE REVERSAL

In October this year, fees for appeals in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal increased from £80 to £490 for a decision on papers, and from £140 to £800 for an oral hearing. This change represented a 500% increase in fees.

The Government has today announced a reversal of that increase, with immediate effect.

Additionally, the Government has said that it is reviewing the role of fees in the Upper Tribunal and that it will consult on new plans for tribunal fees, including in both first and upper tier immigration and asylum chambers, in due course.

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said: "The withdrawal of the recent substantial increase in immigration and asylum fees is a welcome step, as is the announcement that those who have already paid this fee will be reimbursed. These fee increases risked seriously restricting access to justice."

"The impact of such huge fees is not only to restrict access to justice; where the appeal process is unaffordable, the rule of law is also undermined. 

"There is still a great deal to be done to address the problems caused by other recent increases in court and tribunal fees and charges. As the Justice Select Committee reported earlier this year, we have seen a drop of almost 70% in the number of cases brought before employment tribunals, but no real change in success rates. This indicates that thousands of people who have valid cases are unable to exercise their rights at work. Additionally, anyone who brings a money claim must now pay up to £10,000 up-front, just to gain access to the court.

"Whilst today's announcement is encouraging, the Bar Council remains concerned about the remaining enhanced and increased court fees. We will continue to push for an approach to court and tribunal fees and charges which puts access to justice at its heart."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Bar Council response to the initial Government consultation in April 2016, is available here.

2. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

3. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
  • Fair access to justice for all
  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board