The organization wants to raise six thousand pounds (£6,000) for the 42 people deported on the charter flight to Jamaica on Wednesday to pay £140 each to lodge their appeal before the 5th of October (the 28-day limit).
According to Roots to Return Facebook page, “many on the charter flight were issued with the “right” to appeal after being deported to Jamaica.
Home Office guidance states: “When a person brings or continues an appeal relating to a protection claim from outside the UK…the appeal is to be treated as if the person were not outside the UK.”
As members of Roots to Return, with many years of experience supporting individuals facing deportation and witnessing the beginning of the ‘Deport Now, Appeal Later’ policy, we can state that in no way can an out-of-country appeal be considered and treated as though the person was appealing from within the UK.”
The organization says it is also looking to make connections with people with legal knowledge and volunteers in the UK & receiving countries such as Jamaica, get in touch if this is something they may be interested in getting involved with.
We also call upon lawyers to take on these cases and apply for legal aid as is supposedly possible to pursue an out-of-country appeal,”
Out-of-country appeals are conducted by way of video-link through the receiving country’s embassy. However, lawyers and groups such as The Aire Centre in the UK have already recorded the difficultly of participating in an appeal in court via video-link.
“Once removed, people often find themselves destitute, with little or no money, job prospects – and a complete lack of connections or resources to be able to pursue an out-of-country appeal, which requires a UK based lawyer or representative, £140 to lodge an appeal claim within the 28-day limit, and access to evidences supporting a human rights claim – which, if it is family-based, resides in the UK – and thus evidence cannot be gathered by the individual in the country they are removed to,” the organization says.
Roots to Return says ‘the majority of lawyers we spoke to across the UK made it clear that they had little capacity to take on appeals from outside of the UK, noting the clear complications when compared to in-country appeals and legal representation; the ones that had capacity charged at least £2500 and were reluctant to apply for exceptional legal funding for a client outside of the UK”.
Both Roots to Return and The Unity Centre say they are unaware of a single instance in which someone has been successful in appealing from outside of the UK, with appeals taking up to 18 months to be heard.
They claim that the success rate for appeals was just 13% in the year up to August 2015. However, in the year to April 2013, before ‘Deport first, Appeal later’, the success rate was double at 26% - demonstrating the alarming levels of poor Home Office decision-making that are overturned by the court afterwards.
“This suggests that appellants are much less likely to succeed on appeal once they are removed from the UK, despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that the basis of the appeals brought would have materially changed or that their cases would be weaker than those brought previously from within the UK,” Roots to Return says.
The procedure of an out-of-country appeal creates the conditions for appeals from outside of the country to be unsuccessful – let alone be lodged in the first place.
From July 2014 to August 2015 only 426 (25%) appealed against their deportation, a marked drop from the 2,329 who appealed in the previous year (to April 2013) – thus severely damaging the role of appeals as a vital part of accessing justice in the UK.
In outlining their role,as an NGO, Roots to Return says they were set up to support individuals pursuing out-of-country appeals.
They also monitor and document the ways in which the UK’s obligations to the Refugee Convention may be breached, by identifying factors that ensure that individuals are unable to access the resources or support to substantially appeal from outside of the UK.
“We do not seek to support or fill in for the Home Office; we directly oppose their racist and unjust policies, and aim only to help individuals challenge these policies and return to the UK – not make deportations more bearable.
We have an online handbook to support those navigating the complex and largely unknown out-of-country appeals system, which can be found on our website.
We support access to legal representation, video-link from the country of removal, organising witnesses, liaising with families and legal representatives in the UK, and submitting and preparing documents within the time limit,” the organization says.
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