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Applying for an injunction to prevent a deportation order is an urgent matter and one in which I have, as a direct access immigration barrister a great deal of experience with over the last decade.  However, in his recent decision in the case of R (On the Application Of Butt) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 264 (Admin), Sir Brian Leveson, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, has promised that solicitors who make such applications without a proper consideration of the evidence on a number of occasions will be reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Sir Brian Leveson has expressed concern that the firms are presenting injunctions applications without proper evidence to support their clients’ cases and this, he claims, is a waste of court time which cannot be accepted in times of austerity. Solicitors, like barristers, have an overriding duty to the court in conducting their cases. The concern in the field, however, is that fear of such punishment may discourage firms from acting to assist those facing deportation.


It would seem that, in taking this hard line approach to injunction applications seeking to prevent deportation, regard has not been had to the fact that deportation orders often follow overnight raids and the decision to deport can be taken within hours of such a raid. In a situation of this nature, firms seeking to obtain injunctions have only hours between learning of the deportation and the flight departing to gather evidence and instruct counsel. The only comforting factor in Sir Leveson’s judgement, both for solicitors and those facing deportation, is that when a firm fails to provide sufficient and proper evidence in support of an injunction preventing deporting it will be given the opportunity to explain itself; it is hoped the court will learn to appreciate the practical difficulties described above in relation to gathering evidence. After all, despite the duty to the court, legal practitioners must also maintain a duty to their clients.

Paul Turner is a highly regarded direct access immigration barrister practising from Mansfield Chambers, the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, 5 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1lG and a door tenant at 39 Park Square Leeds LS1 2NUand is licensed by the Bar Council to provide advice and representation directly to the public.