First Tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chambers (hearing centres) we went to are:
1 Wagon Lane
Birmingham B26 3DU
Tel. 0300 123 1711 Fax. 021 722 79 35/ 41
88 Rosebery Avenue
London EC1R 4QU
Tel. 0300 123 1711 Fax. 020 7862 4290/80
York House, Hatton Cross
2-3 Dukes Green Avenue
Feltham TW14 0LS
Tel. 0300 123 1711 Fax. 020 8831 3500
Langstone Business Park,
Newport NP18 2LX
Tel. 0300 123 1711 Fax. 01633 416734
To find out when bail hearings are on click on this link : www.tribunals.gov.uk/ImmigrationAsylum/DailyCourtLists/dailycourtlists.htm
Scroll down to the court you want and click on it.
“All parties should attend at 10:00am as listed hearing times and court rooms can be changed on the day. PLEASE NOTE where possible the Daily Court lists will be updated for the following day between 12 noon and 17:00.” (Immigration and Asylum Tribunal website)
Select the appropriate hearing centre in order to access the list of hearings taking place on the day you want to go. Confirmation is only available the day before the hearings. Note: Some hearing centres have several courts/court rooms.
Below are examples of hearing listings for two bail applications.
HATTON CROSS 27 January 2012
FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL (IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM CHAMBER)
10:00 AM GW/03921 Rep: No Representative
Mr Oluwaropo Isaac Amesin
Secretary of State Rep: Interpreter: Yoruba
10:00 AM HC/12975 Rep: Forward & Yussuf Sols.
Mr Sharmarke Mohamed Sharif
Secretary of State Rep: Interpreter: Somali
Bail hearings are designated by 2 letters/5 numbers, eg. CH/07912. Other hearings, mostly appeals, have a form 2 letters/5 numbers/date, e.g. IA/34210/2011. Where “Reporting restrictions apply” is written on the list, the public (you) are not allowed into the hearing. This is unusual for bail hearings.
Essential reading prior to attending
1 Bail Guidance for Judges Presiding over Immigration and Asylum Hearings, implemented 15/01/2018.
2 Steve Symonds’ notes (updated) on What should happen in a well-run bail hearing? from the second round of Bail Observation Project training. (Helpful to understand the legal aspects of bail hearings and what best practice should look like. In particular he makes clear the judge’s duty where the detainee is unrepresented).
3 The ‘Notes for attending bail hearings’ on this page.
4 The second BOP report, Still a Travesty, which includes the questionnaire we used. Make particular note of Chapter 4, our recommendations for change.
You may decide to use the questionnaire, depending on what you intend to do with your observations.
Preparation for observing
1 Ascertain your team of two people and mode of transport.
2 Ascertain the hearings and venue. If there are less than four at one venue it may not be worth going as withdrawals are common.
3 Review the questionnaire and bring it, but also bring notebook and pen.
4 Arrive before 10am, or 2pm if scheduled for the afternoon (but there may be occasions when a hearing is brought forward).
At court / the hearing centre
1 Look on board for courtroom and copy name of judge, clerk and bail applicants.
2 If necessary, present yourself, as a member of the public, at Reception and ask to be presented to the clerk.
3 If not, simply proceed to the courtroom waiting area and wait for the clerk to call the people to the courtroom. Present yourself to clerk and tell him/her that you are a member of the public and would like to observe the hearings.
4 Wait until the clerk calls you.
In the courtroom
1 Sit quietly and do not comment or talk. Stand when the judge enters.
2 If spoken to, answer the judge politely and simply.
3 Observe and write notes. Don’t try to take notes or complete your questionnaire on a laptop or tablet during the hearing. You may not be allowed to take one in. Also the judges do not often follow the order of the questionnaire, which makes it difficult to keep up.
a) Write up notes and discuss with team partner.
b) Fill out one questionnaire together and submit it with any additional notes you think relevant to your project coordinator, either electronically or by post.
A reminder of important points to observe
1 Procedure: How the judge conducts the hearing: this is important as it will indicate whether the applicant has had time to make his/her case for bail, whether the judge has given more importance to the Home Office’s case against bail, whether the judge shows bias or prejudice.
2 Bail summary: Has it been given in time? Is there evidence to back up the assertions? What case has the Home Office made? Has the applicant been able to challenge the Home Office’s case?
3 Evidence: Has the judge called for evidence? What importance has the judge given to evidence in deciding the case? What kind of information has been given in evidence?
4 Length of detention: Is this an issue in this case? Has the judge queried the length or taken into account that six months is considered ‘long’, in his/her decision?
5 Sureties: If there were any, what happened? Were they allowed in the courtroom? How were they treated? Did the judge reqire sureties for bail?
6 Video-link: What influence did the video-link have on the proceedings? Was the applicant given time to speak? Was he/she ignored? Were there any technical issues with the link? (See recommendation 8 on page 57 of BOP’s second report.)
7 The Decision: What rationale did the judge give for his/her decision? In particular, if bail was refused, did the judge adhere to the Bail Guidance? If bail was allowed what were the conditions? Had the applicant understood?
8 Interpreters: If one was needed and present on time. Note if language and dialect are correct and if the judge checks the detainee can understand. Did the judge give time for all the proceedings to be interpreted? Did the judge ‘talk over’ the interpreter when he/she was interpreting? (See recommendation 6 on page 56 of BOP’s second report.)