Summary 11

Summary 11

Area of law: Immigration and asylum

Complaint reason(s): Failure to advise; failure to respond to complaint

Remedy: £150 compensation

Outcome: Ombudsman decision accepted by complainant

Mr F was an overseas student studying in the UK. His request for a temporary visa was declined by the Home Office. He asked the firm to contact the Home Office and reconsider their decision. He explained that he could not afford an appeal.

The firm agreed to write to the Home Office and Mr F paid them £300 to do so. Unfortunately the Home Office decided to stick with their original decision and the following they wrote to the firm explaining why they would not change their verdict.

Mr F tried to contact the firm several times to find out what the Home Office had said. He was growing increasingly concerned about the outcome of this matter and his anxiety was heightened as he couldn’t get hold of anyone at the firm. He complained by email after two months of hearing nothing. The firm said they sent Mr F a copy of the letter from the Home Office the following month, but he didn’t receive it.

When Mr F contacted the Legal Ombudsman we asked the firm to consider Mr F’s emailed complaint and reply to him. When this did not happen, Mr F came back to our office for further help.

We found that it would have been preferable for the firm to make Mr F aware of the outcome from the Home Office earlier than they did. The ombudsman noted that the firm’s delay in telling Mr F about the important decision by the Home Office had clearly caused him some concern. This was then made worse when the firm failed to reply to him or respond to his complaint. She decided that £150 compensation was fair in the circumstances and Mr F accepted this outcome.