A district judge has described how an immigration solicitor who continued to practice despite being suspended left behind her a “trail of destruction”.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board have been warned to improve the way they regulate immigration practitioners or risk enforcement action by the Legal Services Board – including the ultimate sanction of losing their ability to regulate the area at all.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched a bid to regulate non-lawyer immigration advisers. However, at the same time the body that oversees them – the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioner – is seeking to take over the regulation of specialist lawyers.
The Bar Standards Board is to push back against a Legal Services Board demand that it implement a regulatory regime for immigration specialist barristers by the end of 2012, saying the LSB has failed to produce evidence it is necessary.
Providing immigration advice and services may need to become a reserved legal activity, the Legal Services Board has suggested. It found that there is likely to be “significant consumer detriment” in the way this work is being regulated at the moment.