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A cautionary tale

By Dave

In R(Hamid) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 3070 (Admin) [not on Baili yet, but apparently on Lawtel], the Divisional Court signalled its intention to get much tougher on out of hours administrative court applications to the duty Judge.  The (unnamed) solicitor was basically called to explain to the court why the reasons for urgency had not been completed.  It’s not a housing case, but it is worth repeating what was said by the President of the Divisional Court because it underlines the significance of the new N463 and out of hours form:

7. … If any firm fails to provide the information required on the [N463] form and in particular explain the reasons for urgency, the time at which the need for immediate consideration was first appreciated and the efforts made to notify the defendant, the court will require the attendance in open court of the solicitor from the firm who was responsible, together with his senior partner.  It will list not only the name of the case but the firm concerned.  Non-compliance cannot be allowed to continue.

8. That will not be the only consequence of failing to complete the requirements set out in this form.  First, one consequence may be that, if the form is not completed, the judge may simply refuse to consider the application.  Second, if reasons are not properly set out or do not explain why there has been delay or the reasons are otherwise inadequate, the court may simply refuse to consider the application for that reason and that reason alone.

9. These remarks apply equally to the form soon to be introduced for out of hours applications and the form for renewals when an application has been refused on the papers.

10. These late, meritless applications by people who face removal or deportation are an intolerable waste of public money, a great strain on the resources of this court and an abuse of a service this court offers.  The court therefore intends to take the most vigorous action against any legal representatives who fail to comply with its rules.  If people persist in failing to follow the procedural requirements, they must realise that this court will not hesitate to refer those concerned to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

11. That is a warning for the future.  We hope it will be unnecessary to have to have any further hearings of this kind or to refer anyone to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but we will not hesitate to do so where there is a failure to comply with the court’s requirements.

It’s fair to say that we’ve been warned!


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