Clause 28

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:30 am, 20th March 2007

I have some sympathy with what the Government are trying to achieve with this group of amendments. I have a couple  of questions, however. The Minister talked about in-country appeals having to be unarguable, thereby removing the possibility of unfounded appeals. He will be aware that that interpretation will be in dispute. We have all seen instances in which officialdom regards the case for an appeal as unfounded and regards it as unarguable that an appeal should not be allowed. Nevertheless, that is what people pay lawyers for: to argue cases that the other side thinks unarguable. Will the Minister give a bit more detail as to the circumstances in which a case would be regarded as either unarguable or unfounded?

The Minister may correct me on this point, but my understanding of the amendments suggests that the Secretary of State will decide whether an appeal is unfounded. If the Secretary of State is not merely judge and jury in his own cases, but is deciding whether there can be a judge and jury in a case on which he has already taken a decision, that is a recipe for judicial review. I have sympathy with the underlying aim of reducing unnecessary legal delays in the system of arriving at a decision about deportation, but I suspect that in practice there might be one or two gremlins hidden in the interstices of the amendments. I would be grateful if the Minister could address them.