Jan Doerfel (The Chambers of Jan Doerfel)-Members of the public can go to barristers directly to get specialist legal help. Barristers are the specialists of the legal profession who are skilled in advocacy, legal research and will best present your case keeping in mind case law developments to make sure any visa application you make or any appeal has the best chances of success.
Before, the only way you could be represented by a barrister was for you to pay a solicitor to take on their case and for the solicitor (or immigration advisor) to contact a barrister. You could not have any direct contact. Also, this meant that previously members of the public had to pay both a solicitor and a barrister.
Now people with immigration problems can go to barristers directly - they don't have to pay solicitors for the work that barristers can do. Also, many people experience the following when they are having a first meeting with a solicitor – they talk generally about their case but when they ask about chances of success or ask other specific questions, the solicitor will tell them that he/she needs to get a barrister’s legal opinion answering the question. So in the end, it is often a barrister anyway who will deal with the difficult questions anyway so you save yourself time and worry by going to a barrister directly! When you meet with me, I make sure that my clients get an answer to their questions.
There is also another advantage in having one specialist immigration barrister work on your case who does and can do everything that needs to be done for your case to have the best chances of success, who will prepare your visa application expertly bearing also in mind how you could challenge any subsequent refusal if necessary. Barristers also have a lot of experience dealing with complex cases.
Recently the Home Office has abolished the possibility of going to an immigration tribunal to appeal any refused visa - unless you have a human rights or asylum case. In other cases, the only way to challenge any negative decisions (for example in Ankara application refusals) is through administrative review (a request to the Home Office to review their previous decision) or judicial review which barristers specialised in. Of course, administrative reviews are not independent as the Home Office decides the outcome – which is another reasons why administrative reviews have to be perfectly drafted (in fact like judicial review applications) in order to have a chance to succeed. Barristers are the best lawyers to draft administrative review and judicial review grounds.
The fact that challenging negative decisions has been made a lot more difficult by the Home Office and is likely to be lengthy and very expensive, initial visa applications have to be as perfectly prepared as possible to maximise chances of success. So I would advise people who are planning to apply for visas to get the best expert advice for the making of visa applications and to see a direct access barrister for that – rather than putting in a badly prepared application as refusals (and negative findings by the Home Office) are likely to be much more difficult to repair.
So rather than saving on visa preparation, my advice would be to get expert advice from a barrister from the start – and not when the damage is done and 100 more times more difficult to repair. Also, you mustn't forget that immigration applications and decisions are extremely serious matters that are or can be life-changing and can make the difference between being able to continue living and working in London – or having to leave the UK and being torn apart from one’s family and loved ones. When it comes to your future, you want your immigration matters to be in save hands!
The Chambers of Jan Doerfel
Parkshot House, 5 Kew Road
Richmond, TW9 2PR
Tel: 0203 070 1234
Fax: 0203 070 0606