JUSTICE, the all-party law reform and human rights charity, is calling for a crackdown on ‘incompetent and dishonest’ immigration lawyers and advisers.
Immigration and asylum appeals – a fresh look
, a report published by the charity on 2 July 2018, says the working party that compiled it had been ‘troubled by examples [it] encountered of unsupervised and unqualified persons giving advice and assistance on immigration matters, representatives who had exploited vulnerable clients, and those who were incompetent and, in a few cases, dishonest’ (para 7.6).
The report acknowledges that the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner are doing more to investigate such cases, but states that there are still serious problems with the quality of some immigration advisers. It recommends that the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal ‘collect and retain information, with contemporaneously recorded reasons’ where it has concluded that advisers have provided a poor-quality service and where claims are certified as totally without merit.
In the report, JUSTICE also expresses concerns about the use of video conferencing and virtual hearings, arguing that these should only be used in limited circumstances with judges retaining the discretion to require a traditional hearing.