In supplying a list of affiliated solicitors, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group intends to provide its users with access to good quality legal advice and assistance.
1. UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) as an organisation does not provide immigration legal representation. It signposts to solicitors’ firms that are affiliated to the Group. UKLGIG refers enquiries to this list of affiliated solicitors if advice is required. In order to be listed on the website, solicitors’ firms pay an annual affiliation fee set from time to time by UKLGIG.
2. In order to be considered for affiliation, solicitors’ firms must initially meet at least one of the following criteria:
• The firm, or an individual within the firm, is listed in the latest or previous edition of the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as a leader in immigration law,
• The firm employs at least one person who is an Immigration Law Practitioners Association course trainer,
• The firm employs at least one person who is accredited as a senior caseworker or above under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme.
If a solicitors’ firm meets one of these criteria, UKLGIG will decide whether or not to invite them to affiliate. The Group reserves the right to decide if a firm is invited to affiliate. A firm is more likely to be accepted if it is proposed by a firm already listed.
3. UKLGIG shall choose a selection of individual solicitors from the affiliated list to attend the monthly general meetings (asylum and partnership). Any advice given by the solicitors at the meetings is given by the individual solicitor on behalf of his or her firm on a pro-bono basis and not on behalf of UKLGIG.
4. If any UKLGIG volunteer, employee or Executive Committee member receives a written or verbal complaint from a UKLGIG service user concerning an affiliated solicitor, the complainant will be advised to put their complaint in writing to the solicitor. If the complaint is not resolved, the complainant should be advised of their right to complain to the Legal Services Ombudsman or Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and will be asked to send UKLGIG a copy of the complaint made.
5. If an affiliated solicitor becomes the subject of a formal complaint to the Legal Services Ombudsman or SRA by a UKLGIG service user, the Group will forthwith withdraw the invitation to attend monthly general meetings, and remove that solicitor’s firm from the website and the affiliated list pending determination of the complaint (any such decision to be ratified at the Trustee Board meeting).
If the Legal Services Ombudsman or SRA upholds the complaint, UKLGIG will terminate the affiliation of the solicitor’s firm.
If the Legal Services Ombudsman or SRA dismisses the complaint, UKLGIG will discuss, at its next Trustee Board meeting, whether to invite the solicitor to re-affiliate and, if applicable, to attend the monthly general meetings.
The complainant should be advised of the action taken by UKLGIG.
6. If UKLGIG becomes aware of an issue concerning an affiliated solicitor or firm that has the potential to reflect badly on the Group, e.g. poor or incorrect advice, overcharging, unnecessary work, homophobia or rudeness, UKLGIG will take appropriate action. Such action will be at the discretion of UKLGIG and could include raising the matter verbally and/or in writing with the individual or firm involved, withdrawal of the firm from the website and/or any other action that the Group considers appropriate depending on the nature and severity of the issue. Such decisions will be at the sole discretion of UKLGIG.
UKLGIG reserves the right to make judgements on the quality of service provided by solicitors’ firms and where there is any doubt, the Group will always act in the best interests of its users and the reputation of the Group.
7. If UKLGIG removes a solicitor from the website, it will refund to that solicitor a proportion of their annual affiliation fee calculated on a pro rata basis from when they were removed, e.g. if 5 full months of their affiliation is left to run, they will be refunded 5/12ths of their annual fee.
8. No affiliated solicitor will partake in any decisions made by UKLGIG as part of this policy.