Students see immigration law in practice

A group of law students recently had the opportunity to visit the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal in Birmingham, organised by Alan Desmond, lecturer and module convenor for undergraduate and postgraduate immigration law courses in the Law School.

The group consisted of students studying immigration law and students involved in the Immigration and Asylum Project, one of the 9 Pro Bono projects run by Law School students.

The students observed hearings concerning appeals by asylum-seekers whose initial asylum applications had been rejected by the Home Office as well as appeals by immigrants against deportation orders.

Following the hearings which the students observed, they had a Question and Answers session with Judge Frank Appleyard. Judge Appleyard discussed the work of an immigration judge, provided some useful career advice to students and addressed a wide variety of questions concerning the challenges experienced in such a working environment. He also made reference to the increasing diversity of the judiciary that he has witnessed over the course of his career.

The purpose of the visit was to afford students a first-hand insight into the operation of immigration and asylum law and to illustrate the direct relevance of the policy and case law discussed in the lecture theatre to real-world immigrants and asylum-seekers in the UK.

Lecturer and module convenor Alan Desmond said: “The study visit to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber in Birmingham provided students with a unique opportunity to observe the practical application of immigration and asylum law. It brought alive much of the material and many of the issues discussed during class and afforded students an appreciation of the ways in which the UK immigration system impacts the lives of ordinary people on a daily basis.”

Jade Forrest, final year law student and Director of the Immigration and Asylum Project, added: "The trip to the Immigration Tribunal was extremely insightful, as it enabled me to understand how immigration law works in practice, causing me to piece together my knowledge of the area, by being able to see in person the structure of the hearings, and how the submissions from the Home Office and the Defendant work in practice.

“Also, being able to meet Judge Appleyard and find out more about the process of becoming a Judge, and the changes to the field since he took office, furthered my interest in becoming a Judge, and allowed me to learn more about this line of work. I would definitely encourage students to attend this trip in the future, as it was incredibly useful to my studies."

  • Find out more about the Immigration & Asylum Project Volunteer Pro Bono here