23 February 2021
Justice Threatened as Migration Court Fee Hike Goes Ahead
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is greatly concerned that Parliament failed to prevent the Morrison Government’s 380% increase in Federal Circuit Court (FCC) fees for migration cases.
Today, Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff’s disallowance motion, supported by the ALP, Australian Greens as well as Senators Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie failed to prevent an increase in FCC fees for migration cases from $690 to $3,330.
This fee hike seriously undermines access to the justice system and uniquely targets people seeking asylum, as fees for migration cases at the FCC will now become the most expensive, with the vast majority of other fees for non-corporate proceedings costing under $1000.
Furthermore, most people seeking asylum are not entitled to government support and, in some cases, do not have work rights during their appeal process, making the fee hikes all the more punitive.
There is already a high rate of unlawful decision making in this area of law, with the FCC quashing the decisions made by the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) in 42% of cases finalised and 34% of decisions made in the refugee division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
Carolyn Graydon, Principal Solicitor and Manager Human Rights Law Program at the ASRC said: “This fee hike is yet another move by the Morrison Government to deny due legal process and justice to people seeking asylum, leaving them without the means to challenge unlawful decisions made by the IAA or the AAT, the latter of which already has a very high fee of $1,826.
These fees are also likely to cause delays in the already overloaded Federal Circuit Court system, as people miss application deadlines or put off applying to court because they cannot afford the fees.”
Kon Karapanagiotidis, CEO and Founder of ASRC said: “The Morrison government has ushered in an apartheid legal system where people seeking asylum will pay four times as much as other Australians to put their case before the same court.”
“We will see more unchecked power go to the Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton, we will see the poor punished, we will see more waitlists, we will see the overburdened courts clogged up even more and we will see more families separated as more people are put back into detention centres as a consequence.”
“This action is unconscionable, immoral and an attack on the rule of law.”
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