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As a direct access immigration barrister practising in London as part of a specialised team we are often contacted by family members or by the individuals themselves who have been locked up and want their relative released.

I have a good record in securing bail. There are no guarantees but I have been doing bail applications for over 15 years now as I enter my 18th year of practice, my first few years working for the Home Office where I learned a great deal. However I have found that a properly prepared bail application and sureties who are properly prepared and understand their responsibilities can often lead to release where previously they would not be released.

However an idea hit me recently. I had noticed that when the Home Office are considering detention in respect of an individual who is signing on and who has an outstanding application, the Home Office often calls individuals in to “collect” the decision. This has lead in most cases to the individual standing a good chance of being detained. There is a short interview, but absent children and if the Home Office has a valid passport such clients are easy targets for detention and also immediate removal.

A client approached me and was concerned about being detained as he did not think very strong. I looked over the application and agreed with him. I considered from his nationality and that the Home Office had his valid passport he was liable for a quick detention and removal. However I also thought that the Home Office might make mistakes in respect of the letter and that this could give rise to either an in country right of appeal or judicial review. However if the client was detained it would cost twice perhaps to get him released, their being the need for a pre action letter, judicial review and bail application plus of course for the client the stress of being detained.

It struck me that if I or one of my highly qualified and motivated staff went along with the client then the client would not be “outnumbered” or pushed into circumstances where they either make a voluntary departure as they are told that the alternative is detention, without informing the individual that there was the possibility of challenging the refusal.

This is indeed what happened and we attended upon the client and the Home Office had intended to detain him and remove him within 72 hours. However being present at the interview it was possible to point out the obvious flaws in the letter and that there was an obvious JR claim that could and would be made which could potentially lead to a grant of leave.

After several tense hours and a number of long arguments the client was released. The client has now instructed us to proceed against the government.

As things often happen we had two further requests to attend interviews and on both occasions we were able to secure the client’s release and they have instructed us.

If you have an outstanding application and you are asked to collect in person there is a possibility it is with a view to removal. If you wish to remain in the UK and if you have paid a great deal of money in your case please get in touch at the earliest available opportunity in order that we can try to keep the person out of detention.