Appeal hearings on the rise after immigration tribunal figures soar

The number of civil appeals heard in the Court of Appeal during the last court year rose by nearly 8 per cent from the previous year, the court’s annual report found.

There were 1,187 appeals set down to be heard during the court year running from September 2004 to September 2005, compared with 1,101 in 2003-04. But appeal numbers have not yet risen to the heights of 2001-02, when 1,287 cases were set down.

The number of cases coming from the Queen’s Bench Division has dropped. The division now accounts for 27.6 per cent of all civil appeals, compared with 31.2 per cent in the previous year.

The biggest drops have come in the Queen’s Bench Administrative Court and from final Commercial Court decisions. Just 62 appeals from the Commercial Court were set down for the last year, in comparison with 86 in 2003-04.

However, chancery appeals have remained fairly steady, accounting for between 15 and 18 per cent of all civil appeals for the past four years.

The most dramatic rise has been in appeals emanating from the Immigration Appeal Tribunal. In four years, the number of immigration appeals has nearly tripled, from 66 in 2001-02 to 172 last year. Immigration cases now account for 14.5 per cent of the Court of Appeal’s civil work.

Applications for appeal have also risen, up 8 per cent from 3,143 applications in 2003-04 to 3,383 last year. The court is currently examining the way it handles appeals that are “wholly without merit”, with proposals out for public consultation.