A first-tier tribunal judge whose rulings led to a string of appeals is ‘wholly failing’ to meet the standards required, according to a damning appeal judgment.
The Upper Tribunal brought together series of immigration and asylum appeals to examine the conduct and competence of Judge Amir Ali Majid, who had presided over the cases in the first instance.
In an extraordinary summary of Majid’s body of work, three Upper Tribunal judges said his rulings were ‘clearly open to criticism’ and, looked at together or individually, show that ‘nobody should assume that Judge Majid has an adequate knowledge of the law or of his task as a judge’.
They added: ‘It seems to us that the complaints made about Judge Majid’s decisions are entirely well-founded. Nobody reading them could detect how the judge reached the conclusion he did, acting within the law and applying the relevant substantive law to the facts as found.’
The 13 appeals, grouped under AA069062014 & Ors, were arranged in the same list because so many had given rise to successful applications. The grounds of appeal were largely similar and Majid’s judgments themselves were usually very short and substantially word-for-word the same.
The Upper Tribunal judges said they were aware of the dangers of collecting appeals in this way, as well as the fact Majid is blind. They accepted it would be ‘wholly unreasonable’ to expect him to assimilate a complex matter in writing at short notice, but his disability should not prevent him from hearing both sides and reaching a properly reasoned conclusion.
The judges said Majid’s citations suggested he had not read the judgments he was quoting, or even decisions on the duties of a judge.
Texts of certain rulings were said to be ‘wholly obscure’ and showed a lack of understanding about what he needed to do.
Majid failed to set out the relevant rules, and many of his judgments were appealed based on the inadequacy of reasons given, with parties unsure why they had won or lost (on one occasion, a complaint was even made by the successful party in a case).
These errors, the Upper Tribunal said, ‘give the impression that the judge has very little idea of either his own (limited) powers or the content of the law that is in issue in the appeals before him’.
Reference to the facts of cases was ‘sparse’ in Majid’s judgments and in some cases there was almost no indication what took place in the hearing.
Decisions of his were ‘full of observations many of which are of dubious correctness, some of which are of dubious relevance, and a few of which are wholly inappropriate’.
The judges said Majid made no attempt to check the decision for grammatical or linguistic errors, citing his use of the phrase ‘the evidential elements of the evidence’ as one example.
In each case, Majid’s decision was set aside or remitted to the first-tier tribunal. The Upper Tribunal said the judge’s future decisions are ‘clearly open to criticism’ if they continue to have the same features identified.
Following publication of the ruling, a judicial spokesman said: 'There has been a complaint against Judge Majid, who is a fee-paid (part time) judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
'Within that jurisdiction, issues concerning conduct and discipline are in the first instance responsibilities of the Chamber President, Judge Michael Clements.'