Knowing who to trust to handle your immigration matter can be challenging, especially for individuals who have no knowledge of the regulatory environment for law in the UK. Make no mistake, not all immigration lawyers are the same. Choosing the wrong immigration Solicitor can make the difference between receiving clearance to leave of remain quickly and efficiently, and facing severe delays due to errors, or even outright refusal.
It is a requirement of the UK Home Office that anyone providing advice on immigration must be regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or another regulatory body covered by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. These regulatory bodies include:
Immigration professionals who are not a member of any of the above regulatory organizations can apply to become an OISC accredited immigration advisor. To do so, they must pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and competency assessment. There are, however, no specific qualification requirements according to the OISC, "You do not need any specific qualifications to apply for regulation. However, your competence and fitness will be thoroughly assessed before you will be approved".
The SRA regulates the professional conduct of over 125,000 Solicitors in the UK, across over 11,000 law firms. To become fully SRA regulated, a Solicitor must have completed two distinct phases:
Stage 1) the academic stage - This is achieved by gaining a university degree in law (LLB) or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). The former takes between three and four years; the latter takes one year (those using this route must already have a degree).
Stage 2) the vocational stage - The vocational stage consists of the completion of a Legal Practice Course (LPC), a period of recognized training of two years (PRT), and the Professional Skills Course (PSC).
Once authorized and regulated by the SRA, lawyers are required to follow a strict set of regulations and standards. These include the following:
SRA regulated immigration lawyers must act in accordance with seven principle, specifically:
The SRA ensures that client money, trust money, and money held for third parties is kept safe. This includes the handling of client money, client accounts, separation of client monies, withdrawals from client accounts, payment of interest, and client accounting systems and controls.
Code of Conduct for Solicitors
This outlines the standards of professionalism expected by the SRA (and the public) of individual Solicitors. This includes, among other factors, maintaining trust, acting fairly, competence, and client money handling.
Code of Conduct for firms
The code of conduct for firms defines the standards and business controls that the SRA and the public expect of firms (including sole practices) authorized by the SRA. SRA approved immigration law firms must implement business systems that enable them to adhere to the SRA compliance, including record keeping, monitoring business risks, and ensuring financial viability.
Assessment of character and suitability
Solicitors must satisfy a strict set of criteria relating to satisfactory character and suitability. To do so, the SRA must be confident that its members are (and remain) of "good character", suitable for the role they are undertaking, that they will "protect the public and the public interest; and maintain public trust and confidence in the solicitors' profession and in legal services provided by authorized persons". This set of rules also deals with individuals applying to be SRA members who have a criminal record or have been found to have acted in a manner which is dishonest, violent, threatening or harassing, where there is evidence of discrimination against others, in addition to financial dishonesty, bankruptcy, a history of unsatisfactory management of finances, and possession proceedings.
The main aims of the SRA are to "set, promote and secure in the public interest, standards of behavior and professional performance necessary to ensure clients receive a good standard of service and the rule of law is upheld".
As such, the SRA is highly revered domestically and globally as a legal regulatory organization. In part, this is due to the effectiveness of their ongoing supervisory and disciplinary process, which exists to take action where there is any concern regarding a regulated law firm or an individual working within it. The SRA receives complaints in a variety of ways, including self-reports, other employees, other firms, clients, law enforcement agencies, the courts, the Legal Ombudsman, and other regulatory bodies.
Any breach of a principle or rule will be taken seriously, and if deemed serious enough will be investigated further, whether by an individual lawyer or by a law firm. If there is evidence that a serious breach has occurred, the case may then be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).
Individuals found guilty of breaching the SRA's rules, and principles may face sanctions including being struck-off of the roll of Solicitors, revocation of a practicing certificate, and placing conditions on the practicing certificate.
Anyone looking to engage the services of immigration Solicitors can be assured that by choosing an SRA regulated immigration law firm, they will benefit from the full weight of checks and balances applied to all other parts of the law industry. By choosing carefully at this stage, you will give yourself and your family the best chance of being granted immigration approval; take your time, and choose wisely.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
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