Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Immigration Corner | When and how to apply for immigration bail

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2020 | 12:12 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

My relative is in the United Kingdom and has an immigration issue. She claims that she has a good chance of getting bail. I would like to know if it is possible to apply for bail in this type of matter.

– L.U.

Dear L.U.,

Persons can apply for immigration bail if the Home Office is holding them on immigration matters. This means that they might be released from detention, but they will have to obey at least one condition.

Persons can apply whether they are held in an immigration removal centre, a detention centre or a prison, but they must be held on immigration matters.

Those persons can apply for bail in two main ways, but it will depend on the situation whether they apply to:

• The Home Secretary (‘Secretary of State Bail’) any time after arriving in the United Kingdom

• The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) – only if those persons have arrived more than eight days prior to applying

Please be aware that persons might be automatically referred for a bail hearing if they have been in detention for four months or more. Also, if they are appealing to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, they can apply to them for bail.

It is advisable to retain a solicitor or legal adviser who can help with a bail application. However, persons should read the ‘Guide on representing yourself’ if they are not going to have a legal representative.

APPLY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE BAIL

Persons can apply to the Home Secretary for bail from the first day they arrive in the United Kingdom. As mentioned above, this is called ‘Secretary of State Bail’.

Persons should download and fill in bail form 401 and use this to explain why they are asking for bail. They can also get the form from the welfare officer, if they are in an Immigration Removal Centre, or from the detention paperwork pack, if in a prison.

Please note that the application will be decided by Home Office staff and there will not be a hearing.

APPLY FOR BAIL FROM THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL

As previously mentioned, persons could apply to the independent First-tier Tribunal for bail if they arrived in the United Kingdom more than eight days prior to applying. This type of application for bail will be decided by an independent judge at a hearing.

Persons should download and fill in form B1. Please note that if persons cannot download the form, they can ask the staff at the place where they are being held or contact the tribunal – by phone on 0300 123 1711, or by email at cust omer.service@justice.gov.uk.

Those persons who have a tribunal appeal hearing scheduled, should send the form to the tribunal or hearing centre where the hearing is to take place. The address of the venue can be found using the A to Z telephone list.

Persons who do not have an appeal hearing should ask the staff at the place where they are being held to fax the application to the right venue.

AUTOMATIC REFERRAL FOR BAIL

The Home Office will automatically refer persons to the First-tier Tribunal for a bail hearing if all the following are true:

• They have been in detention for four months or more;

• They are not being detained in the interest of national security;

• There is no action being taken to deport them from the United Kingdom;

• They have not applied for bail to the First-tier Tribunal in the last four months.

The Home Office will make an application on the applicant’s behalf using all the information they have.

Persons can refuse the referral or choose to make their own bail application. The Home Office will apply on persons’ behalf every four months unless they apply for bail themselves.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL HEARING?

At the First-tier Tribunal hearing, there will usually be a hearing to decide if the person applying should be granted bail. This will happen a few days after the application is received – those persons will receive a ‘notice of hearing’ advising when it will be held. Please note that the applicant will probably not be in the room for the hearing, as it is more likely to happen over a video link instead.

The Home Office will send the tribunal a document listing the reasons why they think the applicant should not get bail (a ‘bail summary’) and they will also send a copy to the applicant.

All the best.

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