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What Happens at an Immigration Hearing?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 May 2020 |
Immigration Appeal Home Office Tribunal

An immigration appeal is heard by one or more judges in a number of locations in the UK. There are no juries in immigration appeals tribunals. Judges are legally qualified, and there are sometimes other members of the tribunal (non-lawyers) who also hear appeals.

An Immigration Hearing

An immigration hearing is held by way of an appeal once an application has been made and refused. This may be because of a prior:

  • refusal to allow someone entry to the UK
  • refusal to give someone leave to remain in the UK
  • refusal to allow someone asylum in the UK
  • refusal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
  • decision to deport someone who is already in the UK

Types of Hearings

There are two types of hearing, the Case Management Review hearing (CMR) and the full hearing. A CMR is only held in the case of country asylum appeals and cannot be adjourned. If you do not have your own representative it is very important that you attend your CMR because if no one attends the judge may decide to determine your case without a full hearing. If you need an interpreter to translate the proceedings for you, you must let the tribunal know in advance so that they can arrange one for you. If you have a legal representative they should be able to arrange this for you. Tribunal Service interpreters have more rights than other interpreters, so for obvious reasons they are a better choice.

What to Expect

You should arrive at least 20-30 minutes before your hearing date. When you get to the centre for your appeal there will be a number of cases listed for hearing at the same time. You may have to wait some time before your case is called on, but the clerk of the court will be able to give you an idea as to how long you will have to wait.

It is important to have some money with you in case you want to buy drinks or refreshments, although you will usually be provided with water in the hearing room once your case has been called on.

The hearing is usually held in a room with desks and chairs. It does not look like a traditional courtroom, like the ones normally used in television dramas. The judge(s) sits at the front of the room at a desk or table and the other people sit at tables and chairs in front of him. The Home Office representative (the respondent) will usually sit on one side of the room, and the person appealing (the applicant) and his or her legal representative (if they have one) will sit on the other side.

If you require an interpreter they will sit next to you. An interpreter must interpret the proceedings fairly and without bias. They will give their translation of the proceedings to you in a low voice or whisper during the proceedings, either while people are speaking or after a statement has been given. Any witnesses will be called into the room to give evidence as and when they are required. They are not allowed to hear the proceedings prior to giving evidence, and can only remain in the hearing after they have given evidence with the permission of the judge. As hearings are in public, there may be members of the public and very occasionally journalists present in the room too.

The Decision

The judge(s) does not decide whether or not your appeal has been allowed (successful) or dismissed (unsuccessful) at the hearing. You will be informed as to the outcome of your case in writing. If there has been an oral hearing, this will be within two weeks of the hearing date. If the appeal was on paper only, the decision is sent approximately two weeks after the hearing.

Appealing the Judge’s Decision

There is no general right of appeal although both parties, either the appellant or the Home Office, may be able to make an application for judicial review. This is a review of the case on the basis that the judge got the law wrong. There is a very strict timescale for making this type of specific application (within 5 days of receiving the decision) and it is vital that you seek advice from a lawyer before pursuing this option.

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My bundle was sent via email refused on 14th may , i have appealed no date set yet any idea how long does oral hearing take .
Kay - 27-May-20 @ 1:33 PM
Hi guys i appealed against home office and 30of March i allowed and they gave home office 14 days if they want to appeal against the decision and I don’t know when they sent letter for decision because my solicitor office closed they found this letter in 15 of April and until now we didn’t hearing any thing from home office or court does the period 14 days for home office gone or i need to wait more thanks
Laya - 2-May-20 @ 1:14 AM
I apply for my husband and was refused, appeal and just received hearing date,my spouse visa was refused due to not meeting financial requirements but it was error from Ho,please does anyone know if I need to include my new payslips in the hearing bundle ,hearing is in may ,hopefully coronavirus will be over by then.
Esther - 25-Mar-20 @ 7:45 PM
I apply for my husband and was refused, appeal and just received hearing date,my spouse visa was refused due to not meeting financial requirements but it was error from Ho,please does anyone know if I need to include my new payslips in the hearing bundle
Esther - 25-Mar-20 @ 7:40 PM
Go against the decision error of law... I really hope you don’t have to go through it ... I went to the upper tribunal as Home office appealed against the judges decision ... the judge has remitted the case back to the first trier tribunal for another hearing ... I’m exhausted ... really hope no one has to go through what I’m going through ... This will be the 4th judge hearing my case all I want is my husband here ...
S - 5-Mar-20 @ 6:00 PM
thank you S, in God's will. Yes praying so hard for this to be over and done with. They appeal letter says 14 days, it didnt mention 14 working days. also, when HO wants to appeal do they have to raise new issues? or they will go against the decision?
hzl - 3-Mar-20 @ 4:12 PM
Congratulations! :) From my experience it’s 14 working days. I really hope Home office don’t appeal against the judges decision! My solicitor told me they don’t appeal against cases like mine- entry clearance case. But then I was the unlucky one they did appeal against the judges decision. I really hope they don’t for you. It’s not fair to go through the whole process again. Keep praying.
S - 2-Mar-20 @ 9:45 PM
hi guys, appeeal allowed now we have to wait for 14 days, is it 14 working days? or 14 days including weekends? and does anyone know the likelihood of the HO might appeal against court desicion?
Hzl - 2-Mar-20 @ 5:07 PM
Hi Mag, we had hearing on mid feb judge said it will take 7-10 days, this is the tenth day and we hvent reveived anything yet. please let us know when you receive ur determination. Pray hard and Good luck to all of us. fingers crossed
hzl - 26-Feb-20 @ 10:18 AM
H, we are in the same situation. Court was 15 Jan 2020, the Home Office didn't send anyone and the judge said 10 days. 6 weeks later we still don't know. And the FTT says its still with the judge.
Mag - 24-Feb-20 @ 5:54 PM
My appeal was allowed on 10 Jan 2020. I received a letter from HO to enrol biometric and I did that on 10 Feb 2020. Following the enrolment I emailed the HO for a change of name request as the home office always wrote my name incorrectly on their any correspondence and this goes back to early stage of my immigration history. Further, I received a reply to my email on the next day saying“the request for the change of name has been forwarded to a senior colleague for review as soon as possible. Until this takes place, we will halt production of any BRP card. I would like to know how long do you think this could take the HO to first make the name change and to produce and send the BRP card? Many thanks
Ahmad - 24-Feb-20 @ 9:58 AM
For the first hearing I waiting a year it was Hatton Cross. Second application - 6 months got the letter and then attended hearing after 3 months. - Newport. The upper tribunal court date came the next day after the home office appeal was accepted. So I don’t think anyone knows when the hearing date can come... I know it’s hard waiting just have to be patient. Good luck. My case is a entry clearance one... waiting for more than 4 years now ... so I have learnt there’s no time limit ...hope you get it sooner.
S - 22-Feb-20 @ 4:02 PM
Hi I was applying for my husband to come to The uk and it had been refused I applied for a appeal straight away and they got back to me saying they’ve accepted the case. I wanted to ask how long will it take to get a court date? It’s already been a month and what are the process next
taslima rahman - 22-Feb-20 @ 12:50 PM
It can take 3 months or more to receive a decision, sometimes you can get it in 2 weeks... sadly there is no set time. Just be patient and pray you get it sooner. Good luck I reallly hope the appeal is allowed. I know the heartache that it can cause being away from your partner.
S - 16-Feb-20 @ 7:27 PM
HellopleaseIappliedfora spouseVisaand it wasrefused.We appliedat the court.it washard on 16-12-2019.in the uk my wife was at the hearing.We wear askedto sendup to datescall records in a weekof the hearing whichwe did.au till now we haveno got the decision.Is pass 4 weeksnow Whatan we do ? Thanks.
Kwamena Abakah Abbiw - 15-Feb-20 @ 12:50 PM
Please check Richmond chambers website - what if there are no insurmountable obstacles? R. Agyarko 2017 WLR 823 Make sure you explain clearly why you can’t relocate and what impact it will have on your well being. It’s so sad you are having to go through this too ... wishing you all the best.
S - 11-Feb-20 @ 6:21 PM
thank you so much S, we are quite convinced that those are the questions will be asked by HO representative, as it was also indicated in the refusal that there is no insurmountable obstacles we will be facing once relocated in Lebanon. I am just hoping that all our reason will be heard and considered. praying for everyone and good luck to all of us, in God's will everything will be settled.
hzl - 11-Feb-20 @ 9:39 AM
Reason why you can’t go and settle in another country- strong reasons! What insurmountable obstacle are there?Cultural difference ... Write a clear statement ... Good luck speak to your solicitor before hand.
S - 4-Feb-20 @ 9:45 PM
hi we have a hearing on in february, can someone pls advice what kind if question the judge or ho representative may ask? we applied FLR -M under 10 year route, husband over stay, we been together for 10 years, 8 years married but no kids. please advice?
hzl - 1-Feb-20 @ 11:30 PM
Hi. My spouse visa application within the UK was refused. I was given the right to appeal to FTT. I had a court hearing on 13/12/2020. The hearing went on for 20-25 minutes. Not too many questions. The home office lawyer asked a few basic questions and that was it. At the end of hearing the Judge said he will give the decision in writing in couple of weeks but I haven't heard anything till date. I called up FTT and they said the decision is still with the Judge. Any idea what could be the reason for the delay? (It's the 7th week and if excluded the 2 weeks of Christmas holidays then 5th week.) Thank You In Advance
Zo - 1-Feb-20 @ 2:11 PM
there isn’t a time limit... from my experience. Each time it’s been different. I wouldn’t chase a judge for a decision .... sadly we just have to waitpatiently ....
S - 26-Jan-20 @ 9:58 AM
Hello Sir I had hearing about my case in Birmingham court on 9/12/2019 . Judge was said makes decision about 2 weeks but I didn’t receive any letter. Thanks to advice me how long shall I wait for. Regards
No - 24-Jan-20 @ 2:42 AM
0Went to court on the 18th of November, judge said within weeks but am still waiting up till now, called home office they said i have to wait till 3months before I can call to make any enquiries but my lawyer too said they have a maximum of 3 months to send out decisions so fingers crossed God is in control ????????
Baby - 23-Jan-20 @ 10:28 PM
Home office have applied for permission to appeal - upper tribunal .... god knows how long I will have to wait .... is this common practice?
S - 20-Jan-20 @ 9:13 PM
Hi Jola I think it’s difficult to say ... my case was allowed under human rights so when HO asked for permission to appeal it was refused. There wasn’t a error of law that the HO found. They still have one more chance to ask for permission to appeal at the upper tribunal ... still waiting Your hearing will be at the first trier tribunal again? Good luck. Hope you get through it.
S - 19-Jan-20 @ 10:04 PM
Hi, I had my hearing in 21 August 2019. That day the person who presented Home Office and Judge agree that my case was clear and thay hadn't to much to talkingabout.After the hearing the Judge said that the decision will be made after 3 weeks.I was waiting more than one month and no letter came to my house. At 5 October 2019 my solicitor contacted the Tribunal and thay said that the decision was made at 10th of September and was positive and was send by e-mail . Home Officehaven't appeal. We applied for a copy of the decision by writing. 15 November 2019 the Tribunal send one copy of the decision in my house.On 27 November 2019 Home Office appeal my case. Now I have to go in Hearing again and I am worried about that. How much possibility have that the decision to be positive again?
Jola - 19-Jan-20 @ 5:50 PM
If you are waiting for a decision from a judge you just have to wait patiently, there isn’t a set time. Home office were refused permission to appeal against the judges decision. I waited 19 weeks for a decision. 3 months for a courts decision. The decision will come... I know it’s hard waiting but it’s not in our hands... Good luck everyone.
S - 17-Jan-20 @ 6:10 PM
An appeal without pre-hearing means what?
Ibrahim - 14-Jan-20 @ 12:55 AM
Hi we had hearing Ftt on 15 of October 2019. We are still waiting for decision. How long we have to wait??
Paru - 3-Jan-20 @ 10:42 AM
Hi. my husband had court hearing on 10th of December.on the 20th of December the tribunal sent the answer via email to my lawyer that we won ( my husband allow to come ). now we waiting that home office contact use for passport to stamp visa or something. Please any idea on what we need to do next ? or what will happend ? and how long we have to wait for visa ?
nimi - 28-Dec-19 @ 12:01 PM
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