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As a direct access immigration barrister I have been quite concerned for a while that the Home Office’s practice of putting out supplementary decision letters , during the course of proceedings. The latest case to find against itself reported on this particular issue is that of Joanna Caroopen [2016] EWCA Civ 1307.

In this case the Court of Appeal found in favour of the Secretary of State for the Home Department that the process of issuing supplementary decision letters was lawful.

It has long been the practice that the Home Office has been issuing supplementary decision letters during JR proceedings where the original letter has been flawed and somebody has drawn up a new decision letter which plugs the gaps.

There was some judicial movement against this practice, on the basis that the JR claim was a challenge to a decision and that if the SSHD chooses to issue a new letter then thats an  impermissible decision, some Judges are hostile to this point of view and others were in favour.

However the Court of Appeal have come down in favour of the Home Office and approved the practice of sending supplementary letters.

The consequence of this are that it means that if you are considering making an application all the relevant details and indeed potentially relevant details need to be included at the outset. While the Home Office are allowed to submit new letters if Applicants submit them, it is my experience that the Home Office and the Tribunal jump on the Applicants and say that this is an acceptance that the decision is flawed and that therefore the JR is academic with the consequences that the Applicant loses and pays costs.

It seems a little harsh to me and some people might say that it shows that the Home Office have an easier ride than Applicants. This is a view that has been shared for years and by some very experienced lawyers.

There is one thing that needs to be done by anyone who is thinking of making an application or has made an application but not received a decision and that is to consult a reliable lawyer, I am running extra sessions in the evening and weekend in order to accommodate people who are working or who have childcare issues.

The only way to go someway to meeting this decision is to make sure absolutely everything is included, this may include things / issues that your lawyer considers important but that you do not think are important, this is due to their experience. I have had a couple of cases recently where the client did not think fit to disclose British children as they lived with the ex partner, this arguably brought them closer to the immigration rules and lead to a successful outcome.

However if the Home Office missed this issue this new case would allow them to bring in a new letter which addressed it and dismissed it without the Applicants having the same opportunity to respond without lying themselves open to the suggestion that they make a new application.

If you or a relative has a problem, is thinking of making an application or has an outstanding application please come and see me. In particular recently I have been making supplementary representations where the individual has made an application but not received a decision in order to plug a gap missed by previous representatives.

If you wish to see me,, please get in touch. We work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Immigration problems and fear does not go away at the weekend.