HM Courts & Tribunals Service - Redesigning the services for the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Service

Helping society’s most vulnerable: The Immigration and Asylum Tribunal helps people appeal against decisions made by the Home Office that deny them the ‘right to remain’. These are often some of the most vulnerable people in society, who speak little English and have very low trust in government.


Our challenge was twofold: first, reimagine the appeals process on behalf of asylum seekers, and secondly, to replace outdated legacy systems with one joined-up efficient digital service. To achieve true transformation, we needed to redesign end-to-end, and use in-depth discovery and concept designs to give our client and their partners the confidence to start afresh.


True transformation

We started by examining a complex web of judicial rules, operational behaviours, legacy technology, user communities and life-changing decisions to create a map of design challenges and opportunities.

Next we built a community of practice with users and stakeholders, through co-design and validation workshops. This gave us invaluable insights into isolation hierarchies and user stories, and helped us set out high ambitions for the team to achieve. We used storytelling as a tool to generate empathy and balance value with the business, making leaps of faith towards more radical, future facing ways of working possible. Judicial rules were changed, powers were developed to help expedite service delivery and external government departments changed their policy.

And finally, our design and development teams worked hand in hand to deliver prototype service journeys, which we tested and iterated to take our service to Public Beta within 18 months. .


  • 18% of cases no longer require physical hearings and are resolved earlier.
  • Digital uptake is at 80% of all appeals submitted, which means 7,200 appeals could be resolved this way.
  • Several teams have started working through local operational changes using design methods we used for our service design .

The IAC project is the stand out project by a country mile. You’ve achieved so much in such a short space of time… I’m not just blowing smoke here, you’re held up by judges great and small as the exemplar project. You’ve done a great thing.

Deputy Director Tribunals, HMCTS

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