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Adams Winter Update

From time to time we like to keep our clients abreast of changes, wins and other news from Adams. This time, we round up all of our winter news including the exploits of one of our more intrepid partners!San Goes ExploringIn October, our San Chima (managing partner) hiked to Everest Base Camp. After months of training on the streets of London and hills of Wales, San travelled to Nepal where he made the gruelling trip to Base Camp all in the name of charity. His chosen charity was Railway Children, an organisation who bring much hope to street children.San said, “ The experience was extremely challenging, even though I had done some training prior to the trek. I lost a stone in weight! Ultimately the experience was very rewarding and to be able to contribute in a small way to a charity like the Railway Children is a very nice feeling.” We are now waiting to hear about San’s next trip – never one to stay still we are expecting big things! If you want to find out more about Railway Children, please click here Goes StellarOur star department of winter 2012 was definitely the litigation department. After two years, Sam Maginnis secured a final victory in his fight against the London Borough of Havering over the disputed ownership of his client’s field in Rainham. With barrister Robert Harrap of Five Paper, Sam had previously achieved success in the Court of Appeal in April when the court overturned the original judgment in Havering’s favour because the trial judge had incorrectly applied the law in his judgment.The case was sent for a retrial in September when, over four days, a new judge heard evidence of the ownership and use of the field for the past 30 years. Sam’s client found himself vindicated when the judge accepted that he had been using the field as its owner since the mid-1980s and ordered that Havering grant him formal legal ownership of the field. The victory was sweetened just before Christmas when Sam successfully negotiated the repayment of 90% of his client’s trial costs by Havering.Sam said: “it was a long time coming, with plenty of lows as well as highs along the way, but I maintained confidence in my client’s account of events as he maintained confidence in my advice throughout, and in the end we were both proven right. This win shows that even when you are up against the might and resources of an organisation like Havering, justice can still be done if you have the confidence, determination and the right legal team behind you.”Jill Becomes a ProfessorAlso in October our Jill Gray (solicitor) received an invitation to become a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, the largest university in Ireland. She was delighted at the opportunity and not surprisingly was very pleased to accept. Her first task in the role was to visit the university in late October to deliver a talk to the students on the realities of finding work in law.With employability such a big issue for recent graduates, the seminar was full and debate was lively. Following the talk, she took part in a conference on child protection. Jill said she was very pleased to be able to give the students the chance to ask questions about the next stage in their career preparation. She was extremely well looked after by the university whilst in Belfast and met some very interesting people; she is now looking forward to delivering lectures on immigration law.Curried Christmas!Christmas at Adams was, as ever, a very special affair. We ended our tradition of recent years that saw us celebrating in Covent Garden and instead opted for the great British curry at Tower Tandoori near Tower Bridge. The staff at the restaurant couldn’t have been more attentive and the food was exquisite. Back at Adams House we had a huge Christmas tree and a fairly large haul of cards from clients. Everyone had a lovely break over the holidays.
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Immigration Applications– What do we do?

Immigration applications are just about filling out forms. No?It might surprise readers to know that most of the work that solicitors do, in all areas of law, starts off with a form of some sort. Court forms, claim forms, search forms and ancillary relief forms to name just a few are all in constant use in all solicitors firms. In immigration, before anything can be done, the correct type of application needs to be decided on before a form is selected. In straightforward cases this is relatively easy. But what about when the client is illegal, has a long term girlfriend who is also illegal and a child of seven born in the U.K. suddenly the question of which type of application and which form is much more complicated. Then comes the issue of whose application to make first! Once we know which application we are making, we request a tailored list of documents from the client. Many failed applications meet their demise through poor document choices, so this is an integral part of our job. Once we have all of the documents we can draft the form and then move on to the legal representations. There are many reasons why legal representations are necessary. Firstly, it is to remind the immigration officer of the law and why the client’s application is within the law. Secondly, it is to explain the background to the application and thirdly it is to deal with any problems such as illegality, failed previous applications and finally matters such as offences and good character problems. Legal representations along with the document list are the most important part of the job for immigration solicitors and their importance should never be underestimated. Legal representations tend to run to four pages in a straightforward case and can run to upwards of ten in complex cases. They need to be expertly drafted and attention to detail is key. There is often a misconception that legal representations are a ‘cover letter.’ This is not the case. Within those pages are the only real chance to ‘speak’ to the immigration officer; so failure to draft them correctly is a real lost opportunity. We use the immigration rules, UKBA guidance and case law to really hammer the application home. Following the drafting of the form and the legal representations we then bundle the documents into an indexed package for the UKBA to use to make their decision. So, are immigration applications just about filling out forms? As you can see, the answer is ‘no!’
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Immigration – A Waiting Game

Immigration applications make clients nervous; with good cause. Jobs are on the line, houses have been purchased and children are in school, so there is a lot riding on the success of the application.As a solicitor who ONLY practices immigration, I spend lots of time reassuring clients that current waiting times for applications are normal and no reflection on the strength of their application. At present, we are seeing decisions on straightforward ILR applications taking around six months. Even Tier 1 and Tier 2 are taking Inflatable Games about four months. Of course, it is nothing new that EEA applications continue to take six months.We are, however, beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel on some applications. At the start of 2012, we were seeing employer licensing applications taking up to four or five months. This has now come down to around a month. Registration applications for children also seem to be taking around a month. It is hardly surprising that the most common question I hear from clients is, ‘can you speed it up?’ The answer, unfortunately, is ‘only if you have a very good reason.’The UKBA is most sympathetic to genuine business or family reasons for requesting an expedited service. When attempting to expedite a Tier 2 application where there are genuine and demonstrable business reasons for needing the migrant in question to start as soon as possible, we are often able to have the application expedited. At other times, a serious illness in the family overseas, if demonstrable, can also form grounds for a successful request to expedite. The bulk of applicants, however, want their application expedited because they are nervous or have holidays planned. In both instances, even the most creative request for speeding up the process is likely to go unheeded. The golden rule that I tell all clients is to never book travel until they have their passport and BRP in their hand.Moving to discretionary applications, outside of the Immigration Rules, waiting times on these can run to many months. As a practice, we generally have these applications decided in about nine months at present. We have, however, had clients come to us where their application has been sitting at the UKBA for well over a year. I find these very long wait times to have, almost without exceptions, been caused by lazy lawyering. Once an application has gone past the six month mark, it really is time for solicitors to start contacting the UKBA and find out why the case is delayed. A good way of doing this is to offer to provide them with any further documents they may require. In any case, it is not o.k. to let a case sit for a year without follow up.It remains to be seen whether we will ever get back to the heady days of applications (particularly the old WP1 applications) being turned around in fourteen days. For the immediate future it seems highly unlikely. This means that clients need to think about their upcoming application well in advance. Perhaps they need to save a little extra cash so that they can use the premium service at a PEO. Most importantly, they need to get all necessary travel completed before the visa application goes in.We are registered users of the legal representatives premium slots at the UKBA. This means that if our clients come to see us early enough before their visa expires, we can usually obtain a premium slot for them in Croydon.If you require immigration advice, please contact Prof. Jill Gray of Adams Solicitors on 020 7790 2000 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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