The president of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) was called on to intervene in a courtroom stand-off between a lawyer who refused to remove her full-face veil and a judge who asked her to do so twice, it was confirmed yesterday.
The lawyer was appearing at an immigration tribunal hearing in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday when she was asked to remove her face covering by Judge George Glossop, the Tribunals Service said.
The lawyer, who was acting for a man appealing a Home Office decision to deny a family member a visitor's visa, refused and the case was adjourned until later in the day, according to a spokeswoman.
The Tribunals Service said she was asked to remove her veil for a second time when the hearing reconvened that afternoon and she refused again. Judge Glossop adjourned the hearing until Monday so he could take advice from the AIT on how to proceed.
A spokeswoman for the Tribunals Service said: "There was a hearing at the centre in Hanley. The immigration judge was covering an appeal about a visitor's visa and a legal representative appearing on behalf of a sponsor wore a full-face veil. The immigration judge asked her to remove her veil, she refused, there was an adjournment.
"Later in the day, he asked again and she refused and he said 'I'm going to adjourn this until Monday to seek advise from the AIT President Sir Henry Hodge'."
The spokesman confirmed the AIT had been notified about the incident, adding: "We haven't come across this before, no precedent has been set."
The Tribunals Service said the lawyer who has not been named works for The Law Partnership Solicitors in Coventry.