The Ministry of Justice has revealed plans to increase first tier tribunal appeal fees from £80 to £490 for paper applications and £140 to £800 for an oral hearing and £455 for permission to appeal to the Upper tribunal. There is no legal aid available for non asylum immigration cases.
It is not surprising to see the fees rise in this way in the light of the substantial fee increases in other areas such as family and civil litigation.
Currently the £140 fee for a first tier appeal hearing is refunded in the event of a successful appeal in spite of the costs of the administration of the hearing and no plans to remove this procedure have been stated. Once an appeal has been lodged the immigration status of the appellant is secured until the outcome of the appeal which is often over a year from lodging the appeal to the hearing. It would appear that the government wants to reduce the number of appeals and thereby the ability of appellants to secure a further year of legitimate stay in the country pending appeal.
Many applicants find themselves in a position where they have to appeal because they have made a mistake or have incorrectly completed their application as they did not take legal advice. Having the help of a solicitor with the initial application could save substantial costs and time by getting it right first time.