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Appealing to the Asylum Support Tribunal

If the UK Border Agency has refused to provide you with support or if it has withdrawn the support that you were receiving, you might be able to make an appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal. This page explains how.

What is the Asylum Support Tribunal?

The Asylum Support Tribunal is an independent body who will look at the facts of your case to decide whether or not the UK Border Agency has made the right decision about your support.

You can make an appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal if the UK Border Agency has:

  • refused to give you either temporary or long term support
  • withdrawn support you were already receiving (although you won't be able to appeal if your support was stopped because you received a final decision on your asylum claim and are no longer an asylum seeker)
  • refused to provide you with support after your claim for asylum has been finally refused (this kind of support is known as section four or hard case support).

How do I appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal?

If you want to appeal against a decision made by the UK Border Agency, you need to send a Notice of Appeal form to the Asylum Support Tribunal. The form must be sent within three days of you receiving a decision letter from the UK Border Agency stopping or refusing your support. This doesn't give you much time so you'll have to act quickly. Get help and advice from the Scottish Refugee Council if you're not sure what to do.

What if my form is late?

The Asylum Support Tribunal will only allow a Notice of Appeal form to be submitted after three days if they decide it would be unfair not to accept it. This will usually only happen if they think that you or someone representing you didn't manage to submit the form on time because of circumstances beyond your control. For instance, the Asylum Support Tribunal might accept your application if you were given the wrong advice about how to make an appeal or you were in hospital when your decision letter arrived.

Getting help and advice about my appeal

If you want help filling out your appeal form then you should get in touch with your solicitor or the Scottish Refugee Council. You should make it clear when you contact them that you want to make an appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal and therefore need assistance urgently.

Attending the Asylum Support Tribunal

If you want to be there in person when the Asylum Support Tribunal looks at your case then you should make this clear on your Notice of Appeal form. Usually you won't need to be present unless you want to be, although in some circumstances the Tribunal might decide that it is necessary for you to be physically present so that they can fully understand your situation.

Where is the Asylum Support Tribunal?

The Asylum Support Tribunal is situated in Croydon, near London. If you decide that you want to attend the hearing or you are told that you must, then the UK Border Agency will cover all your travel expenses, as long as those expenses are reasonable.

Will I need someone to represent me?

The government will not pay for a solicitor to represent you at your hearing. However, some organisations such as Citizens Advice and the Scottish Refugee Council may be able to find an adviser willing to represent you free of charge. This won't always be the case and there is a high chance that you may have to represent yourself.

You will, however, have the right to a free interpreter and you should make it clear on your Notice of Appeal form if you would like one to be present at your hearing.

What happens during the appeal?

Try not to get nervous about appearing in front of the Asylum Support Tribunal. Just be as polite and courteous as possible and tell the truth about your problem. Don't worry if you don't understand something that the Tribunal says. Just wait until they have finished speaking then politely ask them to repeat what they have said.

If you are in any doubt at all about whether you will understand what the Asylum Support Tribunal is saying then you should request a translator on your Notice of Appeal form.

What happens if I win the appeal?

By appealing to the Asylum Support Tribunal you are challenging the decision that the UK Border Agency has made. If your appeal is successful then the UK Border Agency might have to look at its decision again. In some circumstances, the Asylum Support Tribunal will replace the decision the Agency made with its own decision.

Where can I get help?

The Scottish Refugee Council will be able to tell you exactly what to expect when you are making an appeal so you should approach them if you have any questions. The Asylum Support Tribunal will also send you leaflets before the day of your appeal telling you where you are supposed to go and the best way to get there. There is also lots of helpful information on the Asylum Support Tribunal website.

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