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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has issued a warning notice to solicitors and law firms reminding them of the rules and requirements they must adhere to when providing immigration services to clients.

The SRA notice aims to remind solicitors of their obligations to uphold the rule of law and ‘to act with honesty and integrity’. Specifically in the context of immigration, this means they should:

  • Make sure clients provide honest and accurate information in any applications
  • Not be complicit in providing false or fabricated information or claims, or making applications that are totally without merit
  • Provide clients with realistic assessments on the strength of any potential case

The warning notice focuses on themes that the SRA has picked up through recent investigations, as well as through its wider work.

Issues identified have included poor drafting of applications, advising clients to pursue totally-without-merit appeals, and solicitors supporting clients in the submission of false or exaggerated evidence to support applications.

Most recently, in July 2023, the SRA intervened into three firms and made an order restricting the practice of a further individual, as a result of evidence supplied to it by the media.

Paul Philip, Chief Executive of the SRA, said:

“Users of immigration and asylum legal services can be among the most vulnerable people in society, and can potentially face severe consequences if not advised properly. This warning notice should act as a reminder that our rules are clear about the high professional standards we expect. We won’t hesitate to take action against solicitors or firms who fall short.”

The warning notice builds on the SRA’s wider activity to support law firms and solicitors working on immigration matters, and to protect the public by taking action where expected standards are not being met. In the last year, this work has included publishing:

The SRA has also committed to publishing further new guidance to support law firms, and to conducting a follow-up thematic review, looking specifically at the provision of asylum services.