Paragraphs 9-17 of the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber Presidential Guidance Note No 1 2020: Arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, issued on 23 March and amended on 16 September 2020, declared unlawful

On Friday 20 November 2020 Mr Justice Fordham handed down judgment in the case of R (The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v The President of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) [2020] EWHC 3103 (Admin). This was a challenge to the Guidance Note issued by the President of the Upper Tribunal (IAC) (“UTIAC”), Mr Justice Lane, on 23 March 2020 (extended on 16 September 2020), in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This introduced a fundamental change to the way error of law hearings are considered, with paper consideration becoming the norm, as opposed to the Tribunal holding an oral hearing. This was found to be ultra vires and unlawful because it failed to mention key factors relevant to the question of whether an oral hearing was required as a matter of fairness.

JCWI have prepared a detailed note for practitioners and all those impacted by the judgment. This can be found here

We have also set up a specialist helpline for those affected. The number is 0207 553 7453 – more information can be found here

If your case has been impacted, you or your representative should already have received correspondence from the Upper Tribunal, including a pack which contains a copy of the judgment, the order and the statement: If you have not taken legal advice on your position, you are strongly advised to do so now. A copy of this pack is available here.