Our immigration team is comprised of Solicitors and Barristers with decades of experience at the very highest levels of immigration law. Given our UK immigration law specialism, we understand that some firms or individual legal practitioners (solicitors or barristers) may not offer competent advice on the merits of visa applications, or may miss important limitation dates or even apply for the wrong type of visa.
Sometimes our clients come to us having been dissatisfied with the service offered by other less established immigration law firms. Unlike other immigration firms, we also work in tandem with specialist professional negligence lawyers to ensure that if you have been given bad advice by an immigration solicitor or barrister which has prejudiced your case, then we can issue a claim for compensation at the County Court or High Court.
Have you been given bad advice by an immigration lawyer or adviser?
Our litigation team specialise in providing expert legal advice on professional negligence claims against solicitors and all members of the legal profession. Professional negligence claims against members of the legal profession tend to be complex in nature and argument.
Professional negligence claims against members of the legal profession tend to be complex in nature and argument. Professional indemnity insurers will often instruct a specialist City of London law firm to defend claims vigorously and therefore it is essential to take legal advice at the outset from our expert professional negligence team.
What is the basis for a professional negligence claim against an immigration lawyer?
A negligence claim must satisfy three basic requirements on the balance of probabilities otherwise it will fail: (1) a duty of care must be owed by the professional (immigration specialist solicitor, barrister or adviser); (2) the professional must have breached this duty; and (3) the breach of that duty must cause a loss.
If you have suffered a loss regardless of the immigration adviser’s negligence or if the real cause of your loss was due to an extraneous factor outside of the responsibility of the professional then a claim could be reduced or extinguished.
How do I start a professional negligence claim against my immigration solicitor?
In order to commence a professional negligence claim before a Court in England & Wales you must issue a County Court or High Court claim form accompanied with Particulars of Claim setting out the details of the claim including the remedy sought from the errant immigration solicitor or barrister. The issuance of the Claim Form must be done within strict time limits known as limitation periods and the relevant court fee must be paid (which is a percentage of the losses claimed up to a maximum of £10,000). For a step-by-step guide on how to start a professional negligence claim for compensation click here.
What is the time limit for commencing a claim against a immigration lawyer/adviser?
Time limits and limitation periods are essential to adhere to in litigation. Missing a limitation period is fatal to the chances of success of any claim and will leave a claim statute-barred.
When it comes to ascertaining the limitation date for a particular claim, there are a number of factors to consider. In simple terms, the limitation period is six years from the accrual of the cause of action (section 2, Limitation Act 1980). However, if the six year time limit has passed but you have only just discovered the effect of any latent damage, then the limitation period may be extended to three years from the date of knowledge (section 14A, Limitation Act 1980).
Another complicating factor is that in almost all circumstances, a legal professional will owe a client concurrent duties i.e. a duty in both contract and tort (the contract will be the retainer that you signed at the outset with your immigration solicitor, barrister or adviser). This means it is up to you to choose whether to bring an action in contract, tort or both. The relevance is that although both contract and tort have a limitation period of six years after the relevant cause of action accrues, in contract the cause of action accrues once the relevant contractual term is breached and in tort it accrues once damage has occurred. Therefore, limitation periods for both causes of action vary.
If you have a complaint against an immigration professional, then our advice is that you take independent legal advice as soon as possible.
Why instruct us to bring your professional negligence claim against an immigration solicitor or adviser?
Our dual-qualified Solicitor & Barrister team assess your case at the outset. We will quickly determine the merits and prospects of the claim and then also advise you on how to obtain an optimal settlement (often on a no win no fee basis):
- We are a team of both solicitors and barristers at the only law firm within chambers in the Middle Temple (a Barristers’ Inn of Court) in the City of London with years of experience.
- We provide results-focused legal representation to individuals and companies that have been subject to bad advice or conduct and can often act on a no win no fee basis after an initial assessment.
- Our litigation team are dedicated members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA), with expertise in high value professional negligence disputes and claims.
- Our typical cases have a value of several hundred thousand pounds and our largest current case is worth in the region of £7 million and is a complex case against a large well-known London law firm.
- We have a specialist team of professional negligence legal experts with years of experience in negotiating with professionals, their indemnity insurers and their solicitors. We regularly represent our clients at mediations with insurers which often lead to settlement
- Our immigration and professional negligence solicitors and barristers offer regulated, independent and confidential legal advice.
- Our immigration lawyers are experts in immigration law which is a complex area with its own legislation and case law unique to other types of law in the UK, which many specialist professional negligence firms will fail to comprehend to the high level we understand immigration law. We can understand where a solicitor has made an error, or provided you with poor advice as we are experts in immigration law.
- Immigration law firms or OISC regulated immigration services will most likely have professional indemnity insurers who will often instruct a specialist City of London law firm to defend claims vigorously, therefore it is essential to take legal advice at the outset from our expert immigration professional negligence team.
Common Examples of Negligence by An Immigration Lawyer
- Visa application errors, for example by applying for the wrong type of visa;
- Errors in drafting applications, court or legal documents which prejudices your case;
- Poor performance of instructions provided by you;
- Missing a limitation date which causes your immigration/asylum/appeal to become time-barred;
- Providing incorrect or misleading advice on your immigration matter;
- Missed deadlines in visa applications;
- Failure to apply for judicial review in immigration cases and/or missing the strict time limit to do so;
- Failure to address all the issues in your immigration/asylum case;
- Failure to advise you on rights of appeal if an application is rejected;
- Failure to obtain documents which are material to the success of your case;
- Preparing an application without the correct specified documents that are mandatory;
- Not submitting appeal hearing bundles in accordance with tribunal directions resulting in (for example) the hearing being decided on papers on the day without consideration of meaningful evidence; or
- Mistakes by solicitors making simple errors on UK visa application forms resulting in a 10 year ban ban on future applications on the grounds of deception (pursuant to paragraph 320(7A) of the Immigration Rules).
Can I challenge my immigration solicitor’s bill?
In addition, unlike many other law firms, we have an experienced legal costs team, who specialise in challenging the reasonableness of bills/invoices rendered by your previous immigration solicitor. We find that in many professional negligence claims, clients are not happy with the service they have received and in tandem the price that they have paid for the sub-standard work completed.
If you consider that your bill (i.e. invoice) is overpriced for the work that you instructed to be done, our expert costs team can help you to understand the reasonableness of the bill(s) and if appropriate, challenge the bill in addition to any professional negligence claim.
Can I challenge my solicitor’s bill and start professional negligence proceedings?
This is a relatively contentious area. Challenging a bill is commenced in the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO), whereas commencing professional negligence proceedings (if the claim is for more than £100,000) is in the High Court.
One of the Court’s overriding objectives in the Civil Procedural Rules is to save time and expense. The Court generally do not condone claimants commencing parallel proceedings and if costs proceedings are commenced in the SCCO, and the pre-action protocol for professional negligence is ongoing, the SCCO will likely order a stay of the costs proceedings in order to enable the parties to comply with the pre-action protocol for professional negligence. However, this varies depending on the individual facts of a case.
Book an Initial Consultation
If you have a potential claim against a professional get in touch with our specialist immigration professional negligence team so we can assess the legal merits of your case. We often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis once we have advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.
Specialist Professional Negligence Solicitors
We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers operating from the only law firm based in the Middle Temple Inns of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. Our team have expertise in advising on claims for compensation against immigration professionals that have fallen below the standard expected, which causes clients financial or personal loss. We are experienced in bringing successful claims against all immigration professionals such as SRA regulated solicitors, BSB regulated barristers and OISC regulated immigration advisers.