Public Law Project has submitted its response to the Government’s consultation on the New Plan for Immigration.

Read PLP’s consultation response.

Our response outlines a number of unsatisfactory and disappointing features of the consultation:

  • Not enough information has been given about the plans to engage properly with what has been proposed.
  • The questionnaire provided for responses is underpinned by flawed, contestable and tendentious assumptions and assertions about the behaviour of asylum seekers and other people subject to immigration control.
  • The consultation does not present a fair or balanced picture of the issues: for example, the “in practice” case studies provided within the policy paper reflect only one end of the range of cases which will be affected by the proposed changes.
  • The timescale is inadequate for proper consideration.

Quick summary

  1. Legal aid: We welcome the specific proposal to provide five hours of non-means tested legal advice for anyone being prioritised for removal, but in order to be effective in helping people to bring their claims early, all of immigration law needs to be brought back into scope. Problems with the detention duty advice scheme and the serious sustainability problems and advice deserts in the legal aid scheme need to be addressed.
  1. ‘quicker process for judges to decide claims’: It is unclear what is being proposed, how it differs from the current position, and why it is thought necessary.
  1. Fixed recoverable costs: The Independent Review of Administrative Law concluded that there is a need for a robust empirical study on the impact of costs before undertaking such reform in relation to judicial review. Even though the Ministry of Justice is not consulting on any proposals to reform costs in JR, the New Plan has made proposals in relation to costs in immigration JR without such a study. We oppose the proposal on FRC for four reasons (see para 36):
    1. Immigration JR does not come at disproportionate cost to the taxpayer
    2. The change would not address the Home Office’s concern about recoverability
    3. Jackson’s extensive review of civil litigations costs considered and rejected the idea of introducing fixed recoverable costs in JR and made a better alternative proposal
    4. Fixed costs would have a significant chilling effect on access to justice.
  1. Notice periods: It is unclear how this proposal relates to other proposals or how putting the notice period in statute would help meet the Government’s objective. Any notice period must be long enough to ensure access to justice which means (para 50) people must be able to access a lawyer who is ready willing and able to provide legal advice and be paid; is willing and able to do so under the seal of professional privilege and would have access to relevant documents and time to consider them; and would after providing advice be ready, willing and able to challenge removal directions in court if appropriate.