The issue of immigration dominated the discourse leading up to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. It is clear from the White Paper setting out the framework for a post-Brexit Immigration System that, Brexit (whatever final form this takes), is leading to a fundamental transformation of the United Kingdom’s immigration system beyond the specific category of EEA migration. Therefore, access to justice, the rule of law and fair administrative decision-making procedures – the values at the core of the Public Law Project’s ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ – are likely to come under pressure within the sphere of immigration.

This research focuses on the interplay between initial decision-making, the use of new technologies and the adequacy of the modes of redress against decisions made under the Scheme to regularise the immigration status of EU citizens and their family members after Brexit – the EU Settlement Scheme. Through the prism of this Scheme, this project aims to shed light on the injustices which are increasingly commonplace in the broader immigration administrative justice landscape. These relate to the quality of decision-making by Home Office officials; the erosion of rights of appeal against different categories of immigration decisions; the quality of legal advice and representation; and the availability of legal aid in immigration matters.

The key research questions for this project are:

  •  What should an effective immigration redress regime under the EU Settlement Scheme include?
  • What are the issues likely to present obstacles to access to effective redress against decisions made under the EU Settlement Scheme?

To assist us in answering these questions, PLP is engaging and collaborating with different stakeholders in the area of immigration law and policy. This includes judges, practitioners and academics in the field. This exchange of ideas comes together within the forum of an expert working group which is providing guidance on different elements of this research, including advice on the interpretation and application of the relevant regulatory framework and on research design. The members of this expert working group are:

Dr Adrienne Yong (City University); Alistair Mills (Landmark Chambers); Alison Harvey (No5 Chambers); Catriona Jarvis (former Upper Tribunal Judge); Professor Charlotte O’Brien (University of York); Christopher Cole (Parker Rhodes and Hickmott LLP); Colin Yeo (Garden Court Chambers and Free Movement); Professor Elspeth Guild (Queen Mary, University of London); Geoffrey Care (former IAA Judge); Dr Helena Wray (University of Exeter); Professor Hilary Sommerlad (University of Leeds); Isabella Mosselmans (Wesley Gryk); Jennifer Blair (No5 Chambers); Professor Madeleine Sumption (Oxford Migration Observatory); Nicola Burgess (JCWI); Dr Rowena Moffatt (Doughty Street Chambers); Sam Karim QC (King’s Chambers); and Samantha Knights QC (Matrix Chambers)

We hope findings from this research inform policy-makers on how to design a redress system which ensures access to justice and upholds the rule of law in this context. We are already publishing findings from this Project on different platforms such as academic journals and blogs. PLP welcomes opportunities to collaborate with stakeholders concerned with the different aspects of the implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme. All enquiries should be emailed to the project’s lead, Bijan Hoshi, or PLP’s Research Director Dr Joe Tomlinson.