After your lawyer has sent your appeal form to the Tribunal (the court), your lawyer will be sent a document called a ‘Notice of Hearing’. This will tell you the time and date of the hearing (when you and your lawyer will speak to the judge), and where the hearing will be. An appeal hearing involves asking the court to review the evidence in your case, and come to a different decision.
Many people have to wait months until their appeal hearing.
Hearings are in public, so when you have your hearing there may be members of the public in the room too. If you do not want your hearing to take place in public because you fear for your safety or because of the sensitive nature of your case, you can ask that the hearing takes place in private. Your lawyer should do this well in advance of the hearing.
You may turn up for your hearing and find out the Home Office is asking for an “adjournment” (wants to deal with this later) for some reason. If this is granted by the judge, the hearing will take place at a later date.
If either your lawyer or the Home Office think they need more time to prepare for your appeal, either side can apply for an ‘adjournment’ (this means a delay). Your hearing could also be adjourned if an interpreter for your language is not available. If the judge agrees to the adjournment, the hearing will take place at a later date.
At the hearing, a different kind of lawyer called a barrister (or an advocate in Scotland) will talk to the judge on your behalf and make legal arguments (based on the law) about why you should be allowed to stay in the UK. It is a very good idea to meet with your barrister or advocate before the hearing. The person representing the Home Office is called the Home Office Presenting Officer, or HOPO. The HOPO will also make legal arguments to explain why they have refused your claim. The Home Office does not always attend appeal hearings.
If you have an interpreter at your hearing, they will sit next to you. They will interpret what is happening quietly to you. Make sure you speak in short, clear sentences. If you do not understand the interpreter, or believe they are not translating what you are saying exactly, you should tell your lawyer and the judge.
You may also be asked to give evidence (speak to the judge yourself) – your lawyer should have given you advice about the kinds of things you will need to say. There is special guidance from the government if you want to find out more about giving evidence. See this guidance for more information.
The Tribunal will take into account the fact that you are under 18. You should have a responsible adult (social worker, teacher) attending your hearings with you. Your lawyer is not a responsible adult.
All actions in the court should take your best interests into account.
You should tell your lawyer if you think that you might have difficulties speaking in court. They may be able to ask the judge to make special arrangements so that your day in court is less stressful, for example, allowing you to take frequent breaks so that you are able to concentrate. If you would like to learn more about what happens on the day of your appeal hearing, you can read the Right to Remain Toolkit page here, or you can watch a short video about it here.
You are nervous about your appeal hearing.
This is a completely normal feeling. It can be useful to find out where the Tribunal is in advance, and go and visit it...
This is a completely normal feeling. It can be useful to find out where the Tribunal is in advance, and go and visit it, to plan your journey.
You can ask a few friends or supporters (not too many) to sit in the court room in the courtroom in the public area for emotional support. They are not allowed to speak or make any interventions in the proceedings, but it can help to have a friendly face or two in the room.
You may even want to practise by doing a pretend hearing with a friend – with someone pretending to be the judge and someone else pretending to be the Home Office person.
You don't know where your appeal hearing is taking place, and you are worried about how to get there on the day.
The time and location of the appeal will be written on your Notice of Hearing letter. Usually, people are told their hearing starts at 10.00am, and it is a good idea to try and arrive early...
The time and location of the appeal will be written on your Notice of Hearing letter. Usually, people are told their hearing starts at 10.00am, and it is a good idea to try and arrive early. When you arrive you will go through security, and check the reception to see which room your hearing will be in.
It is a good idea to plan your journey, and practice in advance so you know how to get there.
If you are receiving asylum support payments from the Home Office on an ASPEN care, the Home Office will pay for your travel to the hearing. Ask your lawyer to help you contact the Home Office for a travel ticket.