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As a direct access immigration barrister based in London I am often confronted with individuals who come to see me with an Entry Clearance Officer refusal and sometimes Entry Clearance Manager refusal. These cases can be heartbreaking. I have had a case recently where somebody wanted to bring over a child.

The Immigration Rules provide for the bringing over of a child to the United Kingdom, particularly where there is one parent in the United Kingdom.

The problem almost always lies in the evidence produced with the application. Its often patchy, incomplete and supported by sometimes no more than a statutory declaration made in this country and also abroad which state the parent in the United Kingdom is the sole provider.

ECOs and ECMs in my experience often refuse applications that are supported by evidence, in cases where there is little or no evidence often the case has very little prospect of winning if the evidence is not there.

There are usually three reasons for this:

  1. The Appellants have gone to a solicitor who has prepared the application without proper regard to the Rules;

  2. The Appellants have gone to a local “agent” someone abroad who says they can “fix” things; or

  3. The Appellants have done it themselves and when asked why almost invariably say “I thought it was easier.”

There is no excuse for a proper application being refused. This is because the exact documents required are contained within Appendix FM-SE which sets out exactly what is required. Appendix FM-SE sets out exactly what documents are needed. There is no room for wriggling.

The problem is then compounded because at appeal the Judge can only look at the material that was before the decision maker, with certain small exceptions. The difficulty that one has with this is that no matter what the client puts in after seeing me even if it meets the Rule it is very hard to win.

While this paints a bleak picture there is a silver lining to this cloud. This is that when presented with this set of circumstances I will ask the clients to produce all the evidence as if they were making a new application.

Once all the documents are together that would be used for a new application I use this for the bundle of documents to be relied upon at the appeal.

Once the appeal has been dismissed then we are able to make a fresh application based upon the material used for the appeal and this usually leads to the application being granted. This is what I have done on a number of occasions recently.

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.