As a direct access immigration barrister, I feel compelled to write this article on the back of two emergency applications I had to make last week.
It used to be years ago that you could make an application at any time, whether you had leave or not, then the Home Office introduced a “grace” period of 28 days, which in reality was exactly the opposite and was a limit on the making of further applications.
The Secretary of State has subsequently cut the time limit to 14 days and added a requirement that “exceptional” circumstances be shown, a further example of the Secretary of State making it harder for clients.
I have recognised this. Me and my team, which continues to expand and contains only barristers, which includes an excellent tenant (Mr Jay Gajjar), an exceedingly promising pupil (Ms Kareesha Maitaram) and a paralegal who has been called to the bar and has at least five years immigration experience (Ms Aisling Selvakumar) are at hand to help you at short notice.
We have had cases where Jay has worked over the weekend to get a family’s application lodged on a Monday having been instructed on a Friday afternoon.
Last week we had to lodge a JR on 24 hours notice to prevent a client with serious health issues from running the risk of detention and secondly and perhaps more stressfully I had a client on Wednesday ask whether he could challenge the Court of Appeal’s refusal of permission. He could not. However, during our long conference it became clear that he had an Indian child which set the MK (India) Statelessness bells ringing. However he had until Friday to submit the application. This arguably was harder than the JR as at least with the JR you have a decision to work with rather than putting together an application from scratch.
Much work was done and the application was sent. The application has good prospects of success in my view, my worry was that the Home Office would have fallen back on the 14 day Rule to refuse the application, this has now been denied the Home Office.
These are but a couple of applications. We have regularly made applications the same day, whether that be appeal, or JR and have made new applications on the same day or with 24 hours notice.
What I would say to anyone is that if you have a refusal, or are considering in making any sort of application, please do not delay. I would urge against forum shopping, by this I mean asking four or five lawyers, I once met a client who travelled to London to meet 6 lawyers, firstly, the cost of the conferences was more than the application I would have charged and secondly I felt sorry for the client who was thoroughly confused at the end of the process. By all means get a second opinion but anything more than two views from reputable lawyers is likely to be a waste of money and lead to confusion. A second opinion can be a good thing, you might feel that the other lawyer understands you more or is more in tune with your case.
Please feel free to contact me if you have a problem and would like some advice, again I have a number of other members of my team, in particular Mr Gajjar who is qualified in his own right and would also be willing to provide advice, we of course would be happy to ensure a good price should the work remain in chambers.
Paul Turner is an experienced and highly regarded direct access immigration barrister also licensed to practice litigation and has a team of 4 to help make any problem appear its true size. He is the head of Imperium Chambers, a boutique, possibly the first, set designed to help direct clients who do not want a solicitor and who want direct access with a barrister who was called in 1998 and has been practising immigration since 1999. I am also a member of the excellent set of Tony Metzer QC, Goldsmith Chambers, based in the Temple. He can be contacted on 0207 242 3488.