The Government propose three amendments to clause 21. Two amendments relate to the timeframe for bringing an expedited appeal. Accordingly, they clarify that the tribunal procedure rules must provide that an expedited appeal is brought more quickly than a standard appeal. That will ensure that individuals bring appeals promptly. The third amendment provides that, where the upper tribunal exercises its discretion to order that an expedited appeal should not be treated as such, the appeal will be transferred to the first-tier tribunal. This amendment provides an important clarification about the impact of the upper tribunal’s discretion to remove a case from the expedited appeal route. I therefore urge the hon. Members to support the Government amendments.
I thank the hon. Members for tabling amendment 42, which concerns the finality of decisions by the upper tribunal in expedited appeals. However, the Government oppose the amendment. The expedited appeal process provides effective access to justice while protecting the appeals system from abuse by individuals who deliberately act to prolong their case, thereby delaying a final decision.
We believe that where recipients of a priority removal notice who have received an offer of enhanced legal advice bring a late human rights or protection claim without good reason, any subsequent appeal should be dealt with expeditiously by experienced senior judges, and that their decision should be final. We believe that that strikes a balance, ensuring that appellants have access to justice, while protecting the appeals system from abuse. Section 13 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 provides for various upper tribunal decisions to be excluded from onward appeal. It is appropriate that expedited appeals are included within the list of excluded decisions that are not appealable.
Clause 21 creates a new expedited appeal that will be heard in the upper tribunal. Frequently, those who face removal or deportation from the UK utilise delay tactics, such as bringing late claims and launching repeated appeals, to thwart removal action. That leads to unnecessary costs to the taxpayer and increased burden on the courts and tribunals system. The clause will ensure that appeals in relation to late human rights or protection claims brought by recipients of a priority removal notice, as provided by clause 18, are determined quickly, with decisions being final. By creating an expedited appeal, the clause will also remove the incentive for bringing claims late, and protect the appeals system from abuse.
The clause provides the safeguards needed to ensure that the expedited appeals route is fair and provides access to justice. Where a person provides good reasons for a late claim, their right of appeal will not be certified as an expedited appeal. In addition, the upper tribunal will have discretion to order that an expedited appeal is no longer to be treated as such, when it is in the interests of justice to do so.
Schedule 2, which is supplementary to clause 21, creates a new expedited appeal to the upper tribunal under proposed new section 82A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Schedule 2 makes several consequential amendments to part 5 of that Act to ensure that the relevant provisions apply to the upper tribunal in expedited appeals.
Schedule 2 is a necessary accompaniment to clause 21. This important part of the Bill will disincentivise the use of delay tactics to thwart removal actions, while protecting appellants’ access to justice by establishing an expedited appeal for persons who bring unjustifiably late claims.