Review Of The Senior President Of Tribunals' Annual Report 2021

Published date03 November 2021
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Immigration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, General Immigration
Law FirmRichmond Chambers Immigration Barristers
AuthorMs Alexandra Pease

Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Keith Lindbolm recently presented the 2021 annual report. You can access the 213 page report and read it: here. This is the first report presented by the current Senior President of Tribunals, who was appointed in September 2020.

As immigration lawyers we have reviewed the annual reports in previous posts, most recently 2020 and 2019.

Senior President's Introduction

In the introduction, the report acknowledges the challenges of the pandemic and the effect on the tribunal system:

No annual report in 2021 would be complete without some reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the tribunals system. The tribunals judiciary has shown itself to be remarkably adaptable and resilient in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Processes had to be changed overnight as the majority of cases were, out of necessity, dealt with remotely, and judiciary and users alike have had to adapt repeatedly to an ever-changing procedural landscape. We have learned much from the pandemic and will continue to do so as we work with Government towards recovery. Some practices we shall probably retain. Video hearings will no doubt perform a larger role in the tribunals than they did before the pandemic. This, in my view, ought to be welcomed. However, I am also clear in my opinion that face-to-face hearings will never, and should never, be completely replaced by remote methods. There are always going to be cases - indeed, many cases - in which a face-to-face hearing is clearly the best form of hearing, and for several reasons. Judges are responsible for, and will make, the decision, taking into account the interests of justice and the particular circumstances of each case.

The introduction speaks of 'one judiciary' and recognises the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as ensuring efficiency to maintain access to justice, and the rule of law.

The year in the Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber, reviewed by Sir Peter Lane

The review acknowledges the impact of the first lockdown:

In common with the rest of the justice system, the Chamber had to quickly adapt to new ways of working, putting in place in just a few days arrangements for the continued progression of work. This included devising an online process for lodging urgent applications in immigration judicial review. The credit for this lies with the Chamber's judiciary and, particularly, its Lawyers who carried the burden of processing the urgent...

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