“Worse than Useless”
You would struggle to come up with a more damning criticism than this.
But that is how Judge Nicholas Easterman described some Presenting Officers who represent the Home Office in appeals at the Tribunal.
While he did also comment that some were also ‘good and fair’, it seems that Judge Easterman did not mince his words about the ‘worse than useless’ ones.
Among his criticisms were
- their frustrating efforts to defend “impossible” and “unsustainable decisions”
- being ‘obsessed’ with minor discrepancies in the evidence of appellants
- their willingness to always appeal when they lose a case
- their failure to give “proper assistance” to judges in cases where appellant did not have legal representation
To be frank, I do not think I have made a practitioner in the country who has not thought the same at one point or another.
The above criticisms have led to many appellants I represent believing that the Home Office has some form of personal vendetta against them.
They feel as if they are almost being persecuted by the Home Office.
It is refreshing for a judge to publicly call out these ‘worse than useless’ officials although I am not sure whether it will make any significant difference in practice as to how the Home Office conducts itself.
Judge Easterman’s comments were made at a Bar Council event and originally published on the Legal Hackette’s Brief blog run by journalist and barrister Catherine Baksi.