Lawyers are crucial to the hopes of would-be migrants to the UK. Their expertise and experience are increasingly important to understanding and successfully interpreting the complicated and highly legalistic processes involved in such matters as the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa. Needless to say, the increased scrutiny on all aspects of migration to the UK have only heightened the need for such high quality professional advice.
Against that backdrop the public warning issued by Judge Sir Brian Leveson to solicitors acting in migration matters should be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Sir Brian was reflecting on a recent case - R (On the Application Of Akram & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1359 (Admin)- in which he found the standard of legal representation provided by a small, independent firm of solicitors with no specific immigration background to be a matter for concern. Sir Brian highlighted a ‘remarkable lack of knowledge and/or regard for’ the procedures and even the law relating to immigration matters. He further criticised what he called ‘hopeless and/or unprofessionally prepared cases’. The case did not relate specifically to Tier 1 entrepreneur visas however Leveson’s remarks are being seen as a wider warning to all those with an interest in immigration law.
Sir Brian further pointed to the way that an already overburdened legal system was being clogged up by cases that were being mishandled by legal practitioners who were - in effect - learning on the job.
Viewed from afar the judge’s evident impatience with the conduct of lawyers in this area points to the absolute requirement for those seeking representation to ensure that the professionals they employ are specialists in immigration. It is all too easy to assume that a simple legal qualification equips someone to deal with the legal complexities of the immigration process. Lord Leveson’s strikingly blunt comments point to the fact that that is not the case.
For anyone finding themselves needing legal advice in this area, including those involved in Tier 1 entrepreneur visas, the value of a specialist immigration lawyer cannot be overstated.