The OISC have now introduced a new authorisation for their advisors, Judicial Review Case Management (JRCM), which will allow them to offer further legal services to their clients (and to retain clients who they might otherwise have had to pass onto other representatives). Hitherto it has only been possible for OISC advisors to threaten judicial review via a Pre Action Protocol letter: from then onwards, clients have had to be referred onwards.
However, from now on, OISC advisors with the appropriate authorisation in JRCM will be able to instruct barristers who have permission to litigate in the higher courts (note: this does not simply mean that the barrister is qualified to do public access work; they must additionally be qualified for litigation by the Bar Standards Board). OISC firms with JRCM authorisation wishing to take advantage of the new scheme must identify appropriately qualified barristers and add them to their expert lists.
Under the JRCM system, the barrister will have responsibility for the actual litigation steps – lodging the judicial review claim and otherwise conducting the proceedings in the High Court or Tribunal. The OISC advisor will be able to work on various aspects of the case, particularly in taking the client’s instructions and communicating them to the barrister, and collating relevant documents and maintaining the file. The OISC have set out relevant information about demonstrating fitness and competence for this kind of work in their practice note.
The Commissioner will normally expect applicants to have had professional training in high court procedures and the Legal Aid System within the last 2 years. They should also show evidence of the immigration law training they have undertaken within the last year. The training should have been undertaken by a Designated Professional Body or a Designated Qualifying Regulator 1.
Applicants may also submit evidence of any relevant academic or professional qualifications (e.g. IAAS accreditation, qualification as a solicitor, barrister or CILEX Fellow).
Evidence should take the form of certificates issued by the relevant body. Where it is not possible to provide certificates, written confirmation from the relevant body should be provided.
Read more in the OISC JRCM practice note here.
HJT Training are offering courses on judicial review case management to OISC advisors throughout 2017 in order to introduce practitioners to this important addition to the armoury of legal services they presently offer, covering the key procedures at every relevant stage from initial advice and the Pre Action Protocol letter through to addressing the Acknowledgment of Service, renewing to oral hearings and negotiating settlement and costs, and the advisor’s responsibilities to the court/tribunal.
Beyond that, we will aim to introduce appropriately qualified advisors with barristers who would be suitable to add to their list of instructable experts.