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Serious errors by First-Tier Tribunal immigration judge

Serious errors by First-Tier Tribunal immigration judge

  • 03/10/2017
  • Answered by Red Square London’s Immigration Specialist, Oliver Westmoreland – Ответил наш Специалист по Иммиграционным Вопросам, Оливер Вестморлэнд
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IMMIGRATION BLOG

Serious errors by First-Tier Tribunal immigration judge

3 October 2017

Judge Majid of the First-Tier Immigration Tribunal has got himself in the news, but not in a good way. He is the only blind judge who sits at the Tribunal but this is not the reason for his sudden fame.judge

Thirteen of his decisions had been appealed to the Upper Tribunal (which is the senior tier of the Immigration Tribunal scheme) and the Upper Tribunal made the highly unusual decision to hear them altogether, in one case, despite the dissimilarities between the individual cases.

The Upper Tribunal had a very specific agenda, which speaks for itself. Their decision said: First, many decisions by judge Majid give rise to successful applications for permission to appeal.  Secondly, the grounds of appeal have considerable similarities: they frequently include assertions that insufficient reasons are given for even a well-informed reader to work out the reasons for the decision, that there is no reference in the decision to the relevant law or the contested facts, and sometimes that there were problems of communication or of fairness during the hearing.  Thirdly, the determinations themselves are very short and substantial parts of them are word for word the same, or nearly so, from determination to determination, leaving only relatively small parts dealing with the individual case.”

The decision goes on for some 50 or so pages (and readers who are into this sort of thing might find it interesting: https://tribunalsdecisions.service.gov.uk/utiac/aa-06906-2014-ors). There is no doubt that Judge Majid is guilty of many extraordinary errors and misconceptions in his decisions, of which the Upper Tribunal provides quite a few examples.

Adrian Berry, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, and also Chairman of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, presciently observed that: “It is hard to see how he first passed the judicial exams and then why it has taken so long for his lack of knowledge to be exposed. These are the sort of errors that first-year law students make. It is extremely rare for senior judges to make such a level of public criticism against another judge.”

Mr Berry is quite right: Judge Majid has been sitting at the Tribunal for some years now. How can it have taken so long? And, at least equally important, what is going to happen to Judge Majid now? In most walks of life one would be severely sanctioned for such remarkable incompetence, but judges seem to be different. But we do know that, in extreme cases, severe sanctions are available against judges. Or perhaps he might feel tempted to resign?

At any rate, if things just carry on as normal, any appellant who reads the papers and finds themself appearing before Judge Majid at the Tribunal is going to be feeling a bit funny.

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