Appeal rights

Most asylum-seekers have a right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal if their claim is refused. They are allowed to remain in the UK while they wait for their appeal. However, some applicants do not automatically have a right to an appeal inside the UK, for example if they come from the countries that are presumed by the Home Office to produce clearly unfounded asylum claims, or if they have already claimed asylum in a safe third country. These applicants are usually only allowed to make an appeal after they have been removed from the UK.

The UK Border Agency aims for all appeals to be heard within two months of the initial decision, although these timescales are much shorter for cases that have been ‘fast-tracked’ in detention centres.


An independent Immigration Judge, who is not employed by the Home Office, hears the appeal. The deadlines for making an appeal application after a refusal decision are very short. Asylum seekers are only entitled to publicly funded legal representation (legal aid) to pursue their appeal if it has a 50 per cent or more chance of success.


Once the appeal has been heard, the decision usually arrives within two weeks. It is only possible to make a further appeal on a point of law. Legal advice will be necessary to decide whether it is possible to appeal further, and the timescale for making an application for a reconsideration is very short (usually five working days).

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