Special Immigration Appeals Commission Tribunal guidance
SIAC will be recruiting Lay Members – advert will be launched on 10 September 2014.
SIAC deals with appeals against decisions made by the Home Office to deport, or exclude, someone from the UK on national security grounds, or for other public interest reasons. It also hears appeals against decisions to deprive persons of citizenship status.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) is a superior court of record created by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997. It deals with appeals in cases where the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Home Office) exercises statutory powers to deport, or exclude, someone from the UK on national security grounds, or for other public interest reasons.
SIAC also hears appeals against decisions to stop someone becoming a British citizen, under the British Nationality Act 1981, as amended, (BNA 1981). Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 introduced changes to the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981) relating to the deprivation of British nationality or status.
The BNA 1981 (as amended) provides that a person may be deprived of their citizenship status if the Secretary of State certifies that to do so would be conducive to the public good. A person may not be deprived of their citizenship status if this would make him stateless. Where the Secretary of State has certified that the decision to deprive was based wholly or partly in reliance on information which he believes should not be made public, the appeal is heard by SIAC.
As specified in the 1997 Act, the SIAC panel consists of three members. One must have held high judicial office; and one must be - or have been - a senior legally-qualified member of the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal (AIT). The third member will usually be someone who has experience of national security matters
The presumption is that SIAC hearings are heard in open court and the public and press can attend. The judge can decide to hear evidence in closed sessions. In this case the public and press would be asked to leave.
Most of the cases before SIAC are under anonymity orders so the individuals cannot be named. Appellants can apply to SIAC to waive their right to anonymity.
The Secretary of State may wish to rely on material which he or she objects to disclosing to the appellant or his representative for reasons of national security or public interest. In such cases, Section 6 of the SIAC Act 1997 allows for a Special Advocate to be appointed to represent the interests of the appellant in an appeal hearing before SIAC.
Rule 35 of the SIAC Procedure Rules 2003 sets out the functions of a Special Advocate, namely to cross-examine witnesses, make written submissions and to make submissions at any hearings from which the appellant parties have been excluded.
Onward appeal from SIAC is to the Court of Appeal on points of law. The special advocate system can operate in the Court of Appeal although, given that these appeals are on points of law, it is less likely to be necessary.