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As a direct access barrister the thought of Cambridge College of Learning students obtaining ILR after admitting dishonesty would have been an unusual if not impossible concept. However, this is exactly what has happened with a couple of my direct access clients.

The reason why they obtained ILR was that they told the truth at the first available opportunity.

The case was unusual they were from a country where homosexuality is unlawful and they were in a relationship. They had come to the UK to live together and to continue their relationship. It was not possible abroad for them to live together.

I met them at a conference where they were proposing to try and get leave on a discretionary basis and somehow fudge the CCOL dishonesty. It was never going to work. Whatever seems to have happened is that they thought that they could get away with it.

Meeting with them it became clear to me that they seemed to be a couple. I took a deep breath and asked if they were. They went very quiet and I was worried that I had overstepped the mark. I then explained that if they were gay and genuinely in a relationship it would help rather than hinder their case. They then stated that they were and produced evidence that put beyond doubt that they were in a relationship.

The CCOL was admitted to have been a silly attempt to stay in the UK together as there was suspicion in the other family’s as to the reason why they wished to remain in the UK.

The appeal was adjourned and on the second occasion it became clear that the Judge did not want to deal with it. I reminded him of the original service of the bundle and that the overriding objective meant that we should carry on.

The appeal was allowed.

Five years passed and then I received a call from the clients, I often, and will write a post on this, have clients return asking if I could do an ILR application for them. I explained that there was the CCOL issue and that the Home Office often holds such matters against people years afterwards.

Another issue was time, in order to ensure that all the material was submitted in time, me and the team came in over a weekend and working with the clients, who are now settled and working in professional jobs and are plainly assets to the United Kingdom, got the applications lodged.

I was therefore a little worried as to the outcome of this application.

It was with a pleasant surprise that I got a call to say that they had been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What I take from this account is that if there is a good reason for having done something dishonest or silly it is better it comes out first rather than later. Given the potential persecution had this couple been returned as a result of their lying meant the result was all the sweeter.

Paul Turner is a highly regarded direct access immigration barrister and is the head of Imperium Chambers, Grays Inn Buildings, Grays Inn, WC1r 5ET, he also practises from Goldsmith Chambers, the chambers of Anthony Metzer QC and a door tenant at 39 Park Square Leeds LS1 2NU and is licensed by the Bar Council to litigate and to provide advice and representation directly to the public.