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Business Immigration

Judicial Review Sponsor Licence

Pre Action Protocol

The decision to refuse or revoke a Sponsor License does not carry any appeal rights. Judicial Review (JR) may be the only option for a business if their licence application is refused or existing Tier 2 Sponsor Licence revoked. The Judicial Review is conducted through the High Court and is designed to determine if the Home Office has made a lawful and reasonable decision.

Pre Action Protocol or PAP is a notice of potential Judicial Review proceedings to the Home Office, in normal circumstances Home Office is given 14 days to respond to this pre-action protocol letter. The objective of the pre-action protocol is to avoid unnecessary litigation. The time limit to bring judicial review proceedings is as soon as possible and within 90 days from the date of original refusal decision and a pre action protocol letter has to be given to the Home Office within those 90 days.

Grounds for Judicial Review
The organisation may bring in a Judicial Review relying on the following grounds.
  • Illegality (error of law in the making of the decision)
  • Irrationality or unreasonableness
  • Procedural impropriety and unfairness
  • Breach of the Human Rights Act 1998
  • Breach of UK’s obligations under the EU law

Judicial review is a complex legal process and is normally deemed as a remedy of last resort. The purpose of a pre-action protocol letter is for the applicant bringing the judicial review to set out their case against the Secretary of State for the Home Department (the Home Office) allowing them to consider the merits of the case before any litigation commences.

The Judicial Review of sponsor licence application or revocation is conducted at the High Court. At City Legal we can assist the organisations in preparing a letter before action, after gathering all evidence in support of the case. Strong cases are often resolved at this point. If successful negotiation is not attained at this point, the organisation may be able to pursue the Judicial Review and we can signpost you to a qualified barrister or Solicitor Advocate, who can  pursue this further. A strong and justifiable PAP letter may lead to UKVI withdrawing the revocation, reinstating the sponsor licence, or negotiating terms such as agreeing to downgrade to B rating rather than a revocation. Time is of the essence, so prompt action is essential, as any challenge must be made as soon as possible or in any event within three months of the revocation decision.

How can we assist?
Our team of UK Immigration Lawyers can expeditiously deal with pre-action protocol letters. Our Immigration Lawyers shall discuss your pre-action protocol letter in length and advise on the required documents and procedure of the pre action protocol to the Home Office. In the light of detailed consultation, we shall prepare the organisation’s representations for PAP on their behalf explaining the case efficiently and diligently to UKVI. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Organisation may file the Judicial Review application, if the Home Office has not satisfactorily responded to the Pre Action letter. Please note that the Judicial Review must be filed as soon as possible or within 3 months of the original negative decision.
The PAP is considered as an alternative dispute resolution method and involves assessing grounds for JR, negotiating with the Respondent (Home Office), entering into mediation if required and sending a detailed letter before claim to the Home Office setting out the legal basis for challenging the decision.
Judicial Review should be pursued as a remedy of last resort and when there are no other options to challenge within the system, such as no right of appeal or error review process and should be raised on any of the grounds mentioned above. The court may grant a mandatory, prohibiting or quashing order, damages or a costs award as a remedy.
The applicant may approach the Court of Appeal to challenge the Judicial Review decision, normally the time limit is 21 days from the date the lower court made the decision being appealed.
The Pre Action Protocol forms part of the Civil Procedure rules and sets out a code of good practice and contains the steps which parties should generally follow before making a claim for judicial review. It is not necessary to follow this in very urgent cases, for example stopping a removal of the applicant when removal directions are set.