We are an experienced department practising in a wide range of immigration matters. We deal with cases from the initial application stage through to the First Tier and Upper Tribunals, higher courts and European courts. We are committed to providing high quality representation and advice.
Examples of the sorts of cases we do include:
- Asylum applications
- Applications for Refugee Family reunion
- Applications under the European Convention on Human Rights
- Citizenship and nationality applications
- Family applications
- Applications for entry clearance
- Domestic violence applications
- Detention and bail
- Applications under the Turkish Association (Ankara) Agreement
- European law
- National security cases
- Judicial Review
Who we are
Our department consists of an experienced team of solicitors and caseworkers all of whom have more than 2 years experience in asylum and immigration work. The team is supervised by four solicitors all of whom have over 12 years experience in asylum and immigration work.
Roba Al-Ghabra (Solicitor)
Irfan Cangatin (Senior Caseworker)
Rachael Despicht (Senior Solicitor)
Elizabeth Farrell (Senior Caseworker)
Daniel Furner (Senior Solicitor)
Arun Gananathan (non practising Barrister equivalent to Senior Solicitor)
Sumiya Hemsi (Senior Caseworker)
Nigel Leskin (Senior Solicitor)
Mishka Nelson (Solicitor)
Sonia Routledge (Senior Solicitor)
Barry O’Connor – (Consultant Senior Solicitor)
Noemie Adam (Trainee)
Kai Ming Man – (Trainee)
Our commitment remains to assisting people in need and to ensure that they can access our services in accordance with what they can afford. Therefore wherever possible our work is funded by legal aid. With effect from 1st April 2013 the coalition government removed Legal Aid funding from most non-asylum immigration work. We continue to do asylum work under legal aid and also other immigration work that remains in scope for legal aid, or where legal aid can be obtained under Exceptional Case Funding, subject to the applicant meeting the necessary requirements. If you are not sure whether you qualify for legal aid please contact us and we will assess whether you are eligible.
Clear about cost
Where there is no legal aid we offer competitive and affordable rates. We make sure that there will be nothing unexpected. We will always discuss our charges with you at the outset of your case. We are happy to discuss a range of funding options, although when legal aid is not available we usually charge a fixed fee.
The average fixed fee charge that we make for a standard immigration application or a standard immigration appeal is £1800 plus VAT (where appropriate) not including disbursements. In some circumstances we can offer a reduction on this fee. In some cases it will be higher. A full case specific estimate can be obtained by contacting us.
Disbursements are costs that are payable to third parties and include such payments as Home Office fees for making the application or appeal as set out on the Home Office’s website, interpreter’s fees (which are on average £20- £30 per hour depending on language and availability plus travelling and waiting time) and fees for expert reports (which can range from £20 for a GP’s report to £2500 for an expert psychiatrist report). We will decide with you in advance whether any disbursement is necessary and how much you want to pay.
We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
If at an appeal hearing Counsel is required we will instruct high quality barristers to represent you. We work closely with the barrister and in most appeals will arrange a meeting with you and the barrister prior to the hearing (known as a “conference”). We will discuss with you the options and offer you a range of experience and price. Costs for the barrister are likely to be in the range of £750-£2,000 plus VAT if payable.
All figures including disbursements exclude VAT which will be charged at 20%. In general, if you reside outside of the European Union or have no current permission to be in the United Kingdom no VAT is chargeable.
Hourly rate cases
In the rare case that you request, or we otherwise agree, we will charge at an hourly rate. Our hourly rates will vary between £150-£350 depending on the complexity of the case and the experience of the fee earner preparing the case – usually it will be £350 ph for senior solicitors, £250 ph for assistant solicitors, £200 ph for senior caseworkers and £150 ph for trainees and caseworkers.
The average length of time for an application to be made to the Home Office for the type of cases that we do is between 5-20 hours to complete. This means that on average, if paying at an hourly rate, our costs would be between £750 and £7,000.
The exact number of hours it will take depends on the circumstances in your case. Such as:
The factual and legal complexity of the case and whether the application is compliant with the relevant law.
The amount of supporting evidence that we need to consider
Which language(s) you speak
Whether you are applying with other dependants
The level of contact the case requires with yourself and the number of enquiries you have during the course of your case.
If you are able to provide sufficient evidence at our first meeting and clearly meet the applicable Immigration Rules, the cost is likely to be at the lower end of this range.
Please note the anticipated number of hours and fees are an estimate based on the facts above. All applications are likely to vary and of course, we can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information about your specific case.
Services which are included:
In applications to the Home Office our work will involve:
– Discussing your circumstances in detail and confirming whether this is the most appropriate application for you to make and what other options may be available to you;
– Giving you advice about the requirements of the Immigration Rules and policies,
EEA Regulations, settlement scheme or citizenship laws and whether you meet the criteria and if you do not fulfil certain criteria, whether this can be overcome and how, all of which on average takes 1-5 hours;
– Considering the supporting evidence you have provided, which on average takes 1 – 5 hours. The amount of hours depends on the number of documents, whether they need to be translated, whether anything is missing and how long it will take to obtain the missing documents;
-Where necessary, helping you obtain further evidence (such as medical records and bank statements), including taking statements from any witnesses, which on average takes 1 – 5 hours ;
– Preparing your application and submitting it on your behalf, usually online, which, on average, takes 3-6 hours;
– Attendance at a Home Office interview: it is very rare for there to be an interview but if the Home Office ask you to attend an interview, we will give you clear advice (and discuss the possibility of us attending with you) at the appropriate time, which on average takes 1-5 hours to give.
– Giving you advice about the outcome of the application and any further steps you need to take, which on average takes 1-2 hours.
In Advice and representation in relation to appeals at the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) against Home Office visa or immigration decisions our work will involve:
We will prepare grounds of appeal advising on law and procedure, advising you specifically as to evidence and witnesses and preparing all necessary statements and documents. The time taken to prepare an appeal varies considerably depending on the issues of the appeal. On average this can take between 10 – 40 hours, which charged at the hourly rates already set out would, for preparation of the appeal, be on average between £1,500 and £14,000. These figures exclude VAT which if applicable is charged at 20%. In addition there would either be Counsel’s fees or our fees for representation at the hearing ( our fees would be the same as or less than Counsel’s fees).
How long will my application take?
We cannot guarantee how long the Home Office will take to process your application unless you make a premium service application which should usually be decided on the day of the enrolment of your biometrics. You can read the current processing times on the Home Office website.
We will work with you to ensure that all applications, appeals etc. are prepared and submitted within the required time frame. We will normally be able to submit application within 1-3 weeks of you instructing us depending on the availability of the required documents, but we will let you know at the earliest opportunity if it is likely to take longer than this. If your case is urgent with a deadline for submission within 1 week we will discuss with you the practicalities of meeting the deadline and if we are able to do so agree an appropriate plan of action.
We can take details of your matter by telephone. Due to our busy practice and the fact that we are a relatively small department, we can only accept calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm.
Alternatively you may send an email to BPPImmigrationDept@birnbergpeirce.co.uk and we will respond within 24 hours.
Please note that we cannot take drop in enquiries.