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As a direct access immigration barrister is has been apparent for ages that the Home Office method of dealing with asylum cases is chaotic.

The Secretary of State goes from employing everyone possible in Croydon to cutting back the number of staff and cutting back the number of Courts. There have been times when when there have been 5 or 6 Courts sitting at Hatton Cross and slightly more at Taylor House.

This can only lead to a huge backlog in cases. It can only lead to confusion. Indeed all article 8 cases tend to be on the float at Hatton Cross. At Taylor House sometimes you can find a human rights case on the normal listing but more often than not they are again on the float.

Being on the float is an absolute nightmare because it messes up the rest of the day, clients are often left waiting around for hours, if they can be bothered to wait. It looks unprofessional both from my end also from the Court’s end. It can be very difficult to explain to an Applicant as to why their case has not been heard because the Court has over listed.

It is no wonder that Refugee action has provided such a negative report in respect of the manner in which Asylum cases are being dealt with:

The Executive Summary provides as follows:

“Every day, Refugee Action works with asylum seekers who are destitute or at risk of becoming destitute. Many are living on the street or hav- en’t eaten properly for weeks. This is despite a duty on the part of the Home Office to ensure that people who require support while waiting for a decision on their asylum claim do not fall into destitution and homelessness. Most asylum seekers in the UK are not allowed to work, so must rely entirely on support they receive from the government.

However, the barriers to accessing asylum sup- port currently mean that many vulnerable peo- ple are being wrongly denied assistance or are waiting unreasonable lengths of time to receive the support they are entitled to. The result is that people seeking asylum are pushed further into poverty and destitution, with both immediate and long-term impacts on their physical and mental health and that of their families.”

The report goes onto highlight numerous failings in the Asylum system.

It is well worth a read, you can find it listed here:

http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Slipping-through-the-cracks-final4-A4.pdf

I would urge anyone who is interested in the asylum system to read this.

If you are sadly involved in the Asylum system please feel free to get in touch with me or alternatively with another immigration lawyer and seek professional advice.

I cannot stress highly enough how important it is for individuals to get proper and professional advice if they are claiming asylum or have had their case rejected. It is the best course of action. Your asylum claim is the most important application you will make, if you do not make it properly you could find yourself being removed. You might qualify for legal aid so it is worth checking, however if you do not apply yourself or your family could find themselves in real trouble. I would be happy to help.

I wish you the best of luck if you choose someone else. It is a difficult and scary time. I hope you find peace and a good lawyer to help should that not be me.

Paul Turner is an experienced and highly regarded direct access immigration barrister also licensed to practice litigation and has a team of 4 to help make any problem appear its true size. He is the head of Imperium Chambers, a boutique, possibly the first, set designed to help direct clients who do not want a solicitor and who want direct access with a barrister who was called in 1998 and has been practising immigration since 1999. I am also a member of the excellent set of Tony Metzer QC, Goldsmith Chambers, based in the Temple. He can be contacted on 0207 242 3488.