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Unreported Upper Tribunal decision finds immigration judge demonstrated multiple serious errors of law

Date of Publication: 
26 September 2017

Tribunal finds judge showed lack of knowledge of the law in numerous determinations

Unreported Upper Tribunal decision finds immigration judge demonstrated multiple serious errors of law

26 September 2017

As highlighted on Twitter by barrister Ben Amunwa (and blogged about here), an unreported decision by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) published last week has found that numerous determinations by an immigration judge demonstrated multiple serious errors of law.

Ben Amunwa called the Upper Tribunal's decision "unprecedented". You can download the decision here (in Microsoft Word format) or access it from the Tribunal's website here.

Thirteen appeals against decisions by the judge in question, Judge Majid, were grouped together by the Upper Tribunal for a hearing at Field House in June. Vice President Ockelton, Upper Tribunal Judge O'Connor and Upper Tribunal Judge Smith found that such were the errors in his decisions, "nobody should assume that Judge Majid has an adequate knowledge of the law or of his task as a judge."

The Upper Tribunal decision stated: "It seems to us that the complaints made about Judge Majid's decisions are entirely well-founded. Nobody reading them could detect how the judge reached the conclusion he did, acting within the law and applying the relevant substantive law to the facts as found. That is partly because the law and the facts are never the subject of any detailed reference, disputes on the facts are not identified, and there are next to no findings of relevant fact; more seriously it is because the Judge's statements in his decisions, either by direct assertion or by disquisition on the irrelevant, give real reason to suppose that he is not even trying to act within the law and apply the relevant substantive law to the facts as found."

Judge Majid is blind and works with an assistant, but the Tribunal found it could not reasonably be suggested that blindness prevents a person learning or applying law, or performing the crucial judicial tasks of hearing both sides and reaching, and expressing, a properly reasoned conclusion.

The decisions of Judge Majid were said to contain serious errors of law that "give the impression that the judge has very little idea of either his own (limited) powers or the content of the law that is in issue in the appeals before him."

The judge was even found to have not shown any awareness of any of the requirements of the Immigration Rules, despite many of the cases depending on their application.

In his blog on the Upper Tribunal's decision, Ben Amunwa says whether Judge Majid will now avoid such errors in future cases seems unlikely, and he recommends that all advisors appearing before the judge should have the case and its concerns at the front of their minds.