Area of law: Immigration and asylum
Complaint reason(s): Conduct
Remedy: No remedy
Outcome: Ombudsman’s decision rejected by complainant
Mr E went to the firm about his immigration matter and paid them £700 up front. Mr E didn’t want to remain in the UK permanently, only long enough to obtain a diagnosis for his daughter. His application had been rejected, and so it was going to a hearing.
The hearing took place but Mr E appeared to change his instructions. He was now asking to remain in the UK permanently, instead of just extending his visa. The solicitor double-checked this with Mr E, as it would mean changing the witness statement and the argument already prepared. The judge also demanded clarification. Mr E then reverted back to appealing for only an extended stay, and the hearing continued, but permission to stay was denied.
Mr E later raised a complaint to the firm, saying he did not feel the solicitor had asked the right questions in the hearing. The firm said that they were under the impression that Mr E he had been happy with the service at the hearing. They suggested that there may be merit in appealing the decision, but it would cost £200. Mr E agreed to go ahead with this.
The court refused Mr E permission to appeal, and the firm explained the decision to him. Mr E raised complaints against the firm; about their costs and the work carried out.
We found that there had been confusion at the court hearing in relation to what Mr E was applying for. From the evidence, we felt the firm had clearly followed Mr E’s instructions, and prepared to appeal for an extension of his visa, conditional on his daughter’s health. They also offered to apply for an adjournment when Mr E changed his instructions. We therefore decided that the firm had acted reasonably toward Mr E.