top of page
  • Writer's pictureChristopher Dias

Ethical Immigration Advice

In recent days, the immigration legal field has come under scrutiny with the Home Secretary announcing the launch of the Professional Enablers Taskforce, aimed at addressing misconduct within the industry, following a Daily Mail investigation which uncovered some unethical lawyers offering to submit false asylum claims for clients. The timing could not be worse, with anti-immigration rhetoric at all time high, and it seems that lawyers are being used as a convenient scapegoat for Government failure to deal with illegal migration. However, in this heady climate, it is important to remember that the overwhelming majority of immigration lawyers are unwavering in their commitment to providing ethical, accurate and confidential immigration advice, guided by a deep sense of integrity.

Immigration lawyers play a pivotal role in guiding businesses through intricate immigration rules, reuniting families within the confines of stringent regulations, and supporting genuine asylum seekers seeking international protection. Their dedication echoes the true essence of justice and underscores the importance of ethical immigration advice in a complex landscape. There are far more lucrative areas of law to pursue a career in, and to assume immigration lawyers are 'fat cat' lawyers is a misconception.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has taken strong action by intervening in the three legal firms who were caught offering to submit fake asylum claims. The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has rightly emphasised the significance of addressing misconduct while also reminding the Home Secretary of the substantial backlogs in asylum claims, which she should perhaps be focussing her attention on. In the midst of these discussions, we should note that the Home Secretary is a legal practitioner herself – a King's Counsel (KC) barrister – who practised law at No.5 Chambers before entering politics, a set that is famous for it's immigration team. Given her background and former role as Attorney General, it is crucial that she balances her current duties with the need to ensure that her actions and statements do not lead to a form of 'lawyer bashing' for political gain.

Within this context, it is worth noting the steps that we take at to ensure the provision of confidential and ethical immigration advice that complies with the law. Our commitment extends to advising clients on all viable legal pathways, including advising a client to leave the UK when no viable application is available, rather than subjecting them to the challenges of the immigration "hostile environment." Furthermore, we restrict our involvement in asylum cases to those that are genuinely deserving, referring such cases to specialised charity organisations or legal aid contract holders rather than handling such claims ourselves. Our lawyers are encouraged to devote some of their time to pro bono work, and it is through this work with other organisations, such as the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre (QMLAC), or Kanlungan, that our lawyers are likely to encounter asylum seekers. It is not the policy of the firm to financially benefit from giving such advice.

As an organisation, recognise that we owe a duty of care to both sides of the equation, and seek to work within the confines of the laws set down by the Administration and by our professional regulator. However, this does not mean that we agree that lawyers should just agree to every crazy Government whim to come our way. Immigration lawyers are at the forefront of the balance of power between public and private rights. What the Administration does to migrants today, they could do to the rest of us tomorrow, if an abuse of power goes unchecked. Immigrants deserve the full protection of the Law, and we should be proud that the rest of the world aspires to be more like our free society rather than seeking to make our society less free.

Initiatives that bolster the integrity of the legal profession and protect vulnerable individuals are commendable. It is important to remember that the majority of immigration lawyers diligently serve their clients while upholding the highest standards of justice. By fostering collaboration between legal practitioners and policymakers, we can work towards a fair and just immigration system that stands as a testament to our shared values, without demonising the lawyers or their migrant clients, and without diminishing our society.


bottom of page