Guidance on accepting instructions from Immigration Advisers

As a result of cases referred to the BSB for consideration recently, it has come to our attention that there appears to be a gap in the understanding of the relationship between the regulatory scheme overseen by the Office of the Immigration Commissioner (OISC) and the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales (the Code of Conduct).

This appears to be in relation to both the knowledge of barristers and those immigration advisers seeking to instruct them.It appears that it is thought that if an immigration adviser is accredited to Level 2 or 3 by the OISC, that is sufficient for them to be entitled to instruct a barrister (for advice or to attend court). That of course is not the only requirement. An immigration adviser seeking to instruct counsel must:
a) Be registered to Level 2 or 3 by the OISC (depending on whether it includes an instruction to appear at a hearing); AND
b) Be a Licensed Access Client within the meaning of paragraph 401 and Annex F1 of the Code of Conduct. It is noted that the OISC website does state, under the heading “OISC Level 3: Advocacy and Representation” that work permitted at Level 3 includes:

  • conduct of specialist casework
  • preparation of cases in the AIT, including drafting full grounds of appeal
  • representing clients before the AIT instructing a barrister or advocate to appear at the AIT (where permitted by the Bar Council).