The Solicitors Research Authority (SRA) has published new extensive research on the quality of legal advice provided to asylum seekers. The study was carried out by MigrationWork CIC, Refugee Action and Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC).
The study involved speaking with 123 asylum seekers, an online survey of solicitors and interviews with solicitors, community groups and representative bodies. A barrister with extensive experience in immigration and asylum casework undertook file reviews.
Previous investigations by the Legal Services Board (LSB) and the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) identified a lack of understanding about the market for immigration advice, highlighted the complexity of regulation in this area of law and raised concerns about the detriment to asylum seekers of poor quality advice.
Our research into the quality of legal advice for asylum seekers has found many examples of good solicitor practices and behaviours. We also uncovered a number of issues and practices that require further investigation and engagement with solicitors and other key stakeholders.
In light of the issues found in this research and through other sources, the SRA has started a thematic review of asylum legal advice and are currently investigating a number of serious allegations and issues. These include broad competence issues such as those outlined above but also concerns about firms who have made applications for Judicial Review of asylum decisions that have been judged to be without merit.
Further information on the SRA Homepage.