UK Visa Appeals, Administrative & Judicial Reviews

In the complex area of legal proceedings, understanding the crucial processes is essential for anyone seeking to challenge administrative decisions, appeal unfavourable judgments, or ensure accountability of public authorities. Whether you are facing a decision by a government department, a lower court ruling, or seeking to hold public authorities to account, this guide will provide you with a clear overview of Administrative Review, Appeals, and Judicial Review in the UK legal system. Explore the following sections to gain insights into each process, including their definitions, purposes, procedures, and recent developments, empowering you to navigate the intricacies of these vital legal avenues with confidence.

In order to ensure fairness, justice, and the preservation of individual rights, the UK legal system heavily relies on administrative review, appeals, and judicial review. These legal procedures act as checks and balances by enabling parties to contest judgements rendered by lower courts or administrative authorities, encouraging accountability and supporting the rule of law.

Our immigration solicitors and barristers understand that this can be a very stressful time in a migrant’s life especially when they have to consider the impact the refusal will have on their business, work and family life.

Administrative Review:

You might be able to request an administrative review if your application for a UK visa has been rejected. The Home Office will assess your application during an administrative review to make sure the decision was made properly. To request an administrative review, all of the following conditions must be met:

  • You are outside the UK
  • You applied outside the UK
  • You do not have a right of appeal against the refusal
  • You did not make an application to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor (except if you applied as an S2 Healthcare Visitor)

If you have the right to do so, it will be stated in the decision letter on your visa application. Within 28 days of receiving the decision, you must submit an application if you want an administrative review. Cost is £80. Online applications are accepted for administrative reviews. The administrative review conclusion can currently take six months or longer to be received. The Home Office will get in touch with you with an update if you have not heard anything about your application after six months.

Administrative Review Process

To apply for an administrative review, follow these steps:

  1. Check that you are eligible for an administrative review.
  2. Apply online within 28 days of receiving your refusal letter.
  3. Pay £80 fee.
  4. Wait for a response from the Home Office.

Immigration Appeals

If you have the right to appeal the decision and your application has been refused, you might be allowed to do so. Depending on the type of visa you requested and the reasons your application was denied, you may have the right to appeal.

Types of Appeals

There are two types of appeals:

  1. Oral hearing: This is where you attend a hearing in person and present your case to an immigration judge.
  2. Paper hearing: This is where your case is decided based on written submissions.

Time Limits

You have a limited window of time to file an appeal. If you reside outside of the UK, you have 28 days from the date of the letter of refusal to file an appeal. If you are in the UK, you have 14 days from when you receive the letter of refusal to file an appeal.

Understanding Appeals in the UK

Definition and Purpose of Appeals:

In the context of law, an appeal is a request for a lower court or administrative body’s judgement to be reviewed. The goal of appeals is to offer a procedure for fixing mistakes and guaranteeing that justice is done. Appeals help to keep a just and balanced judicial system in place by enabling parties to appeal unfavourable rulings.

Appellate Courts in the UK:

In the hierarchical framework of the UK legal system, each appellate court has a specific function. The Supreme Court, the final court of appeal for civil and criminal cases, sits at the pinnacle of the legal system. The Court of Appeal in England and Wales hears appeals before the Supreme Court. In addition, specialised tribunals handle particular topics including immigration, taxation, and employment.

Grounds for Appeal:

The appellant must prove that a mistake was made in the lower court’s judgement in order to successfully file an appeal. Common grounds for appeal include substantive legal errors, procedural irregularities, or grave factual errors. The appellant must show that the mistake materially affected how the case turned out.

The Process of Filing an Appeal

Initiating the Appeal:

The appellant must follow certain procedural rules in order to file an appeal. This entails presenting a notice of appeal within the allotted timeframes and providing pertinent records, such as the judgement of the lower court, transcripts, and legal arguments. It is strongly advised at this point to seek legal counsel and representation.

Appeals Procedure:

There are various steps in the appeals process. The appellant first submits written arguments describing the appeal’s reasons. An oral hearing then follows, giving both parties a chance to argue their cases in front of the appellate court. Before rendering a judgement, the court carefully considers the lower court’s ruling, the written arguments, and the oral arguments.

Case Management and Timelines:

To ensure effectiveness, appeals are handled inside the court system. The importance of adhering to deadlines strictly. Deadlines that are not met may lead to the appeal being dismissed. The seamless operation of appeals is ensured by effective case management, which also makes sure that all parties are informed of their responsibilities and deadlines.

Judicial Review in the UK

Definition and Purpose of Judicial Review:

The legality of decisions made by public authorities, such as governmental departments or regulatory bodies, may be contested through judicial review. Judicial review is primarily used to make sure that public authorities follow the law, adhere to procedural fairness, and respect individual rights. It acts as a tool for holding government agencies responsible for their deeds.

Grounds for Judicial Review:

Legality, irrationality, and improper procedural practices are the justifications for starting judicial review proceedings. When a public authority goes beyond its legal authority or behaves unlawfully, it is said to be acting in an illegal manner. Decisions that are so irrational that no reasonable authority could have made them are considered to be irrational. When there are severe weaknesses in the decision-making process, procedural irregularity results.

The Process of Judicial Review:

A judicial review must be started by adhering to a set of rules. Pre-action guidelines call for the claimant to send a letter outlining their concerns before taking any further action, giving the public authority a chance to react. The matter moves on to a full judicial review hearing in the Administrative Court if authorisation is granted. After reviewing the decision’s legality, the court may confirm, reverse, or send the decision back to the public authority for further consideration.

Recent Developments:

In the UK, the laws governing appeal and judicial review have significantly changed in recent years. For instance, the Judicial Review and Courts Bill 2021 seeks to make modifications to the judicial review procedure, including prospective adjustments to the review’s grounds and its purview. To comprehend the effects of these legislative changes on the appeals and judicial review scene, it is crucial to keep up with them.


The UK legal system is not complete without appeals and judicial reviews because they provide avenues for redressing injustices, guaranteeing accountability, and preserving the rule of law. Anyone wishing to contest a judgement rendered by a lower court or other public authority must be familiar with the appeals process, the grounds for appeal, and the steps for starting judicial review or administrative review. People can better navigate the administrative reviews, appeals and judicial review processes, protecting their rights and advancing a fair and just legal system, by keeping up with recent developments. When engaging in appeals or judicial review proceedings in the UK, it is strongly advised to seek legal counsel and representation to secure the best results.

Expert UK Immigration Solicitors

If you have had a visa application refused and wish to consider your options of challenging the Home Office’s decision, please contact a member of our dedicated immigration team so we can arrange for you to meet with an experienced immigration solicitor who can consider your options with you.

The Immigration Rules along with specific rules and regulations relating to Tribunal appeals and Judicial Review can be complex and daunting. Our team of expert lawyers who are located a short distance from the Upper Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) often find themselves representing clients at the First tier and Upper Tribunal.

We are a UK law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our professional personal immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02030110276.

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