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What Happens at an Immigration Hearing?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 17 Jan 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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[Add a Comment]
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
I had my first tier tribunal end of September 2019 and after the hearing I was told we will hear the decision via writing within 2 weeks and since then I am still waiting to hear from tribunal for the outcome and is nearly 3 month now....does anyone know how long does normally take for the outcome of the tribunal?
Nck - 19-Dec-19 @ 1:51 AM
9th week and still don’t know if the first trier tribunal has granted or refused appeal to permission to the home office ... is there a time limit, how long can this take ? Appeal was allowed but Home office applied for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal ... would be great to know how long I have to wait for ... if there is a time limit ...:(
S - 9-Nov-19 @ 6:20 PM
It’s been 7 weeks, still haven’t heard if Home office permission to appeal has been granted or refused.
S - 26-Oct-19 @ 4:46 PM
System is a complete joke3 months 3 weeks sill waiting for appeal decision whenwe were told 10 days !!!!!
bunafire - 23-Oct-19 @ 11:24 PM
Hi, I got my decision appeal allowed after 2 months. On the 17th September we received notice of receipt the home office have applied for permission to appeal at the upper tribunal... anyone experienced this before ... still hasn’t come to an end...:(
S - 21-Sep-19 @ 7:14 PM
Hi! Appeal hearing 04.09.19, received determination 9.9.19via emailAppeal allowed. Please what is next? How long will it take HO to reply or issue my husbandVisa? Will they send me email or letter? Can i call HO or too early? I can't wait to see my husband again ooo. Children are waiting more .
Loveme - 18-Sep-19 @ 3:58 AM
Hi my appeal allowed on the spot and the honourablejudge said we will send decision. Does anyone know how long I have to wait it’s now one week but didn’t hear anything
Au k - 18-Sep-19 @ 2:36 AM
i went to appeal courtin july 2019 as a spouse for my husband w got a answer after 2 weeks to say hs visa is allowed how much longer will it take for him to get s viss
tank - 7-Sep-19 @ 7:57 PM
Spouse visa entry clearance Married in India, Punjab December 2015. Home office refused application - 2016. Court hearing - appeal dismissed in 2017. Second application - 2018 Home office refused Court hearing - June 2019 Appeal allowed after 10 weeks. Husband will finally be joining me. My case wasn’t complicated at all ... we had bad luck by not choosing the right legal representative... long story ... my advice to all is please take your time in choosing the correct solicitor, advocate for your case. Go with your gut instinct... please try to be patient ... I understand it’s hard I’ve been through the waiting game ... now I’m just waiting for the home office email ... After four years I can finally write - appeal has been allowed. Good luck to all. X
S - 31-Aug-19 @ 8:23 PM
Jaymac heard back from the court appeal was successful! do i get it in writing as well? @vicky I emailed the court and i got a respond back the next day you should try the same
Jaymac - 16-Aug-19 @ 10:27 AM
Please did anyone know the processing time of appeal? I went to the court 20th of June and the judge said he will get back to me in 3weeks times. It is 7 weeks now have not hear from the court. What can I do pls?
Vicky - 13-Aug-19 @ 11:43 AM
If a decision has been made, does my solicitor find out straight away ? Or how does it work ? Or do I get a letter?
Nathaniel07 - 8-Aug-19 @ 4:30 PM
@S thanks for the responds i understand its just annoying because I really thought its going to be 10 days until i get the decision i have even stopped calling in to ask if the decision has been made yet..I just want to know and its a bit hard to be patient because i aint a patient person HAHA
Jaymac - 7-Aug-19 @ 9:47 PM
Not much you can do, just be patient... don’t chase it up. It will come ...
S - 7-Aug-19 @ 9:22 PM
Ive had my appeal heard on the 16th of July the judge said he needs time to think and hell give me the decision within 10 woking days... What can i do ?
JayMac - 7-Aug-19 @ 6:20 AM
Hi. I won my appeal on the 5th of March and the tribunal sent the determination via email to my lawyer and the Home Office. I have contacted them and they said they are yet to recieve the determination from the court. I contacted the tribunal and they said all the relevant parties have beengiven copies of the determination. Please any idea on what next to do?
Mma - 16-Jun-19 @ 10:57 PM
Hello and good morning everyone. My case is quiet different to everyone else basically im a EEA national and i been removed from the uk because i got sent to jail for 6 months however my question now.. My court hearing is coming up im nervous how can i expect? how do i prepare myself? and how long does it take to get a decision ? And is it likely to get a decision the same day?
ZyonAsh - 16-Jun-19 @ 6:42 AM
Hi, my husbands visa was refused, we lodged appeal the appeal in February 19. Received letter saying it’s going to First Tier Court heating in May 19. I’m still waiting for a date from the court for a hearing.How long does it take for a hearing date to come.
Pap86 - 13-Jun-19 @ 4:44 AM
Hello home office refuse my wife visa yasterday under EC.p1.1 thay called me I didn't answer and thay called my employer thay didn't answer my company policy thay don't pick up without numbers call can someone help me is best I apeal or not rest everything was fine
Tadz - 2-Jun-19 @ 3:54 AM
Would anyone please tell me that what is the purpose of prehearing review of asylum refused case in the court of appeal. This is what i am told by the court of appeal.
Pirzada - 1-Jun-19 @ 11:56 PM
Please did any one know the processing time of appeal? My Husband was refused visa to join us in the UK because of useless reason. I have been waiting for a letter from the court to know the day of the hearling.
Love - 29-May-19 @ 8:36 PM
Hi everybody I won the case 5 April the HO don’t appeal my case I won the case but I’m I’m still wetting for visa did any one know how long take
Kuki - 25-May-19 @ 8:33 PM
Hi my one was refuse over financial and everything else is fine. My relationship with my husband and everything else fine. And I have provided the evidence for financial and y barrister made it clear and HO couldn’t say nothing against that because it’s proven. So I hope it is positive on the decision on that. In one way I am upset.
Sara - 19-May-19 @ 9:45 AM
Hi my spouse refusal appealing hearing was on 9th of may 2019, the judge said to 1 or 3 days they will let my solicitor know and a weeks time they will post and I have rang the court office where I had the hearing on 16th may the secretary said it will come through the post on Monday 20th of may 2019. So I just hope it’s a good news. God knows how long after the decision it will take?
Sara - 19-May-19 @ 9:39 AM
Hello all, Can someone please confirm me. As we had a court hearing today so how do we receive the decision. Do we receive any e-mail or through post? Thanks
Haris - 30-Apr-19 @ 10:37 PM
My husbands visa got refused to enter the UK for a very stupid reason and they made a mistake and said i did not provide them with a piece of document when we actually did. We got refused 2 days ago on 10th April 2019 , So I am appealing this decision this week with the help of a solicitor. Can anyone help with some information on the procedure ? Thank you
Mary - 13-Apr-19 @ 6:33 PM
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