Sat | May 27, 2017

No appeal for deportees?

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 2:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

Is it true that the authorities in the United Kingdom (UK) can deport someone without that person having the opportunity to appeal the decision? I would really like to know if this is so.

- PB

Dear PB,

Under the new Immigration Act of 2014, new powers have been introduced that permit the authorities to prevent criminals from using the appeals system to delay their removal from the UK. It has recently been reported that more than 300 have already been removed and nearly 500 more are currently going through the system.

As of July 2014, 'Non-suspensive appeals' came into force in the United Kingdom as it relates to the Immigration Act 2014. This means that the Home Office officials can deport convicted criminals before they have the opportunity to launch a claim under the Human Rights Act or claim asylum.

Those persons who are deported will then have the right to launch an appeal from their own country, rather than remaining in the UK and initiating it there. It is anticipated that this measure will prevent the British justice system from getting clogged up with these types of cases and as result save the British taxpayer costs, time, and money in fighting these cases through the courts.

As a result of the new powers, the authorities within the UK have been successful by having a number of criminals deported despite those persons having family members in the UK and hence reinforcing the government's stance that the right to a family life should not override the rights of wider society.

The British government has advocated that any foreign national who has committed a crime in Britain should be in no doubt of the determination by the government to deport him or her and non-suspensive appeals are giving the British authorities the ability to remove foreign criminals more quickly and more efficiently than previously.

The British government has deployed, alongside this approach, tougher crime-fighting measures, improved protection at the border, and greater collaboration between police and immigration enforcement officers. It is intended that the revised Immigration Act will help the authorities deliver an immigration system that is fair to legitimate immigrants and tough on those who break the rules.

In addition, the revised act has also slashed the number of appeals available to foreign national criminals from 17 to just four, and those persons have been denied the right to appeal against deportation simply because they do not agree with the British authorities' decision.

It should be noted that under the new rules, once a decision has been taken to deport a foreign criminal, he or she will have to lodge any appeal and all papers that his or her lawyer may think are relevant to his or her attempts to stay, from outside the UK. It is anticipated that this will put a stop to any delaying tactics often employed by criminals who wish to avoid deportation. Previously, it was commonplace for criminals to submit to the court new 'unconsidered evidence', creating legal delays while government lawyers studied the new paperwork. The non-suspensive appeals measures will work alongside other powers in the Immigration Act to speed up the justice system and make it more efficient.

Just for completeness, with respect to non-suspensive appeals for deportees, these are contained in Section 17(1) and 17(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 (certification of human rights claims made by persons liable to deportation) and, in respect of EEA nationals, in Regulations 24AA and 29(3) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (human rights considerations and interim orders to suspend removal, and effect of appeals). It should be noted that Regulation 29(3) provides that an appeal against a deportation decision no longer automatically suspends removal proceedings.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com