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Immigration judicial review

2 January 2020

This practice note covers:

  • your professional duties to both the court and your client, as emphasised by the Upper Tribunal in recent guidance cases
  • the process and procedure involved in challenging immigration decisions by judicial review throughout the lifetime of a claim, combined with advice on best practice (including your pre-action obligations)

Legal status

This practice note is the Law Society’s view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice.

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society’s view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

For queries or comments on this practice note contact the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service.

SRA Principles

There are seven mandatory principles which apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice. The principles can be found in the SRA Standards and Regulations.

The principles apply to all authorised individuals (solicitors, RELs and RFLs), authorised firms and their managers and employees. They also apply to individuals and the parts of a licensed body involved in delivering the regulated services.


Must – A specific requirement in legislation or of a principle, rule, regulation or other mandatory provision in the SRA Standards and Regulations. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA’s Regulatory Arrangements.

Should – Outside of a regulatory context, good practice for most situations in the Law Society’s view. In the case of the SRA Standards and Regulations, a non-mandatory provision (such as may be set out in notes or guidance).

These may not be the only means of complying with legislative or regulatory requirements and there may be situations where the suggested route is not the best possible route to meet the needs of your client. However, if you do not follow the suggested route, you should be able to justify to oversight bodies why the alternative approach you have taken is appropriate, either for your practice, or in the particular retainer.

May – A non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations or running your practice. Which option you choose is determined by the profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You may be required to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.


  1. Introduction
    1. Who should read this practice note?
    2. What is the issue?
  2. Professional obligations
    1. The SRA Code
    2. Upper Tribunal guidance cases
  3. When is judicial review an appropriate consideration and what are the grounds?
    1. Are there any alternative avenues of redress?
    2. Is the alternative remedy adequate?
    3. Possible grounds for immigration judicial review
  4. Pre-action obligations
    1. Letter before claim
    2. Failure to comply with the protocol
  5. Where and when to lodge a claim
    1. Where to issue
    2. Applications to issue in the Upper Tribunal
    3. Applications to issue in the High Court
    4. Failing to issue in the correct forum
    5. Time limits
      1. The general rule
      2. Time limit for challenges to the Upper Tribunal to appeal itself
    6. Relevant forms/fee
    7. Documents and bundles
      1. Contents of the application
      2. Service of the application
  6. Acknowledgement of service (AOS)
    1. Period in which the AOS must be filed
    2. Exceptions / extensions to the six week period
    3. Failure of the SSHD to file the AOS
  7. Decision on the permission application
    1. In the Upper Tribunal
    2. In the High Court
    3. Completely without merit cases
  8. The substantive hearing
    1. Relying on additional grounds
    2. Skeleton arguments
    3. Substantive hearing bundle
  9. Appeal to the Court of Appeal
    1. Appeals from the Upper Tribunal
    2. Appeals from the High Court
  10. Urgent applications
    1. When to issue an urgent application
    2. Forms
    3. Interim relief
    4. Sanctions for incorrectly issuing an emergency application
    5. Out-of-hours applications
  11. Interlocutory applications  
  12. Consent orders  
  13. Costs
    1. General principles
    2. Assessment of costs
    3. Application for wasted costs
  14. Funding issues
    1. Legal aid
      1. Scope
      2. Merits test
      3. Means test
      4. Emergency applications
      5. Limitations and amendments
      6. Issuing notice
      7. High cost cases
      8. Claiming legal aid costs
      9. Professional and contractual obligations arising from the legal aid costs rules
  15. A summary of good practice  
  16. Acknowledgements  
  17. Annex A - further resources
    1. Legislation and procedure rules
    2. Case law
    3. Forms
    4. Additional resources

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