What is an Immigration Tribunal Judge ?

An Immigration Tribunal Judge plays a crucial role in the UK legal system, specifically within the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum). Let’s delve into their responsibilities, qualifications, and the process of handling appeals.

Role and Responsibilities

The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum) is administered by HM Courts & Tribunals Service. Its primary functions include:

  1. Appeals Against Decisions: Immigration Tribunal Judges hear appeals related to decisions made by the Home Office. These decisions pertain to:
    • Permission to Stay in the UK
    • Deportation from the UK
    • Entry Clearance to the UK
  2. Immigration Detention Bail: The tribunal also handles applications for immigration bail from individuals held by the Home Office on immigration matters.

The Judge’s Role

  • Independence: The judge remains independent of both parties involved in the appeal.
  • No Wig or Gown: Unlike other court settings, the judge does not wear a wig or gown.
  • Listening and Decision-Making: The judge listens to evidence presented by all parties before making a decision. Deliberation time is often necessary.

First-tier Tribunal Judges

A list of all First Tier Tribunal judges is published on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.

Qualifications to be an Immigration Tribunal Judge

To become an Immigration Tribunal Judge, you’ll need to meet specific qualifications and gain relevant experience. Here are the key points:

  1. Legally-Qualified Appointments:
    • Most legally-qualified judges have either:
      • Five or Seven Years of Post-Qualification Experience: This experience is typically gained after obtaining legal qualifications as a solicitor or barrister.
      • Eligibility for Non-Traditional Legal Backgrounds: The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act (2007) expanded eligibility to include professionals from The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILE)Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA), and Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)Non-traditional legal backgrounds (e.g., legal academics) are also considered.
  2. Non-Legal Appointments:
  3. Basic Requirements:

Remember that appointments to tribunals are mainly through the Judicial Appointments Commission, which considers both statutory requirements and the qualities needed for a good judge.

Diversity amongst Immigration Tribunal Judge

As of April 2021, Immigration Tribunal Judges in the UK exhibit varying levels of diversity. Here are the key points:

  1. Gender:
  2. Ethnicity:

While progress has been made, efforts continue to enhance diversity within the judiciary.

Immigration Judge imprisoned for Fraud

Barrister/Immigration tribunal judge jailed for legal aid scam
Part-time immigration tribunal judge and barrister Rasib Ghaffar was convicted of conspiracy to commit a £1.8m legal aid fraud and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Law Society Gazette 25th June 2024

You may also be interested in our article about dodgy judges and legal news.


An Immigration Tribunal Judge ensures fairness, impartiality, and adherence to legal principles in immigration-related cases. Their decisions significantly impact individuals’ lives, making their role both challenging and essential.

For more information, you can visit the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum) website.

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