Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Defence Services

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Defence Services


Although solicitors spend most of their time assisting and defending clients, there can be occasions when a solicitor is themselves called before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (STD) for alleged breaches of the Codes of Practice. This can be a daunting process and in many cases will have occurred after an Intervention into the solicitors firm. Events like this are life changing and potentially can have very serious implications for the solicitor concerned. At times like these you need to rely on professionals who are experienced in dealing with matters of this nature which will often have very personal and confidential issues involved.

If you are a solicitor facing possible Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) proceedings and want to speak to a colleague in confidence, call us on 020 8401 7352. We have extensive experience of representing clients in relation to SDT proceedings and potential criminal proceedings which may be associated with the Solicitors Regulation Authority investigation into your firm. We understand the pressures you will be under at this most difficult stage in your career and you can be assured of our integrity and confidentiality in dealing with your matters.

The outcomes of SRA investigations and SDT proceedings are never isolated in nature. These are likely to impact on your ability to practice, your insurance coverage, your financial circumstances, your reputation and your relationship with your firm and clients. We understand the wider context of disciplinary investigations and proceedings, advising on issues relating to Practising Certificates, Indemnity Insurance Coverage Investigations, Partnership, LLP & corporate issues and Costs in Regulatory Proceedings. When faced with a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigation, it is vital that you seek professional advice as soon as possible. An SRA interview is unlike any other interview. You will not have a right to silence and more often than not the interview will be tape recorded and conducted by senior and highly experienced SRA fraud investigators. Those conducting the SRA interview will already be in possession of vast amounts of information about you and your practice. As a solicitor it is vital that such interviews are conducted whilst you have the benefit of expert advice and with a view to the consequences.

A Solicitors Regulation Authority investigation can last for many months, sometimes even years and throughout this time you may still need to function in your practice. This can be a draining and debilitating time even for the most professional solicitors and it is crucial that at every stage you receive advice on your position and liability.

Any solicitors seeking advice and assistance in relation to pending or threatened SDT proceedings or facing a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigation will receive a 30 minute free consultation. You can email us in strictest confidence at 


Applying for a UK visa from Australia

Applying for a UK visa from Australia


During March 2014, VFS Global will take over running the visa application service in Australia.

New UK visa application centres will open in:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Perth
  • Canberra

The British High Commission or British consulates will no longer provide a visa biometric enrolment service.

Priority service

You can choose to buy a priority visa service to fast track your application. Priority applications will be placed at the front of the queue to be processed. The priority service fee is £100 for non-settlement applications and £300 for settlement applications. You can only pay for the service online before visiting the biometric enrolment centre. You must bring your priority visa service receipt with you when you attend your appointment. You cannot purchase the priority service at the biometric enrolment centre in Adelaide.

Use of the priority visa service is optional and does not imply or guarantee that your visa application will be successful. All visa applicants must meet the requirements of the UK Immigration Rules. The fee for the priority service and the visa application fee are not refundable if your visa application is refused.

Priority service processing times

We aim to process all non-settlement priority visa service applications made in Australia within 5 working days and all settlement applications made in Australia within 10 working days.

Your application may take longer if you:

  • do not include the priority service receipt with your application, or you submit it afterwards. Please ensure this receipt is stapled to the front of the application form, and write ‘priority’ on the front of your envelope
  • have previously been refused a visa for the UK, or refused leave to enter the UK
  • have previously been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK
  • have overstayed a period of leave in the UK
  • have previously been refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA or the Schengen countries
  • have been convicted of a criminal offence in any country
  • do not submit all relevant documentation with your application

If you are wanting to apply for a UK visa from Australia and you suspect that your application may take longer due to any of the reasons listed above or for some other reason then you may well benefit from having expert legal advice and assistance. We are specialists in all aspects of UK immigration law and policy and provide a boutique service to select clients. Email us your enquiry to and we will respond promptly with sensible and useful advice.

National Preventive Mechanism concerned over treatment of migrants in detention in UK

National Preventive Mechanism concerned over treatment of migrants in detention in UK



Monitoring places of detention, the annual national report by the UK’s National Preventive Mechanism published last week, raises concerns about the treatment of migrants in the UK during the removal phase, stating that the use of force and restraint is disproportionate. The report also cites examples of unprofessional behaviour by escorts who used very offensive language in front of migrants detained.

The monitoring body also shows concern about the fact that there are no recognised safe procedures for the use of restraint in an aircraft when a migrant is being removed from a country. According to the report, the UK Border Agency should ensure that escorting staff receive full accredited training on the use of force and on child protection.

The report also states that there are cases of migrants experiencing aggressive behaviour on arrival by officials in their destination country. There are also cases of a lack of information on the migrants’ home country to help prepare for return.

According to the report, there has been a 4% increase in the number of people entering immigration detention centres when compared to the previous year. Of those leaving the immigration detention centres, 60% were removed from the UK.

The UK’s National Preventive Mechanism was established to monitor the UK’s obligations under the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The report covers the period April 2012 to March 2013 and examines other places of detention, not only immigration detention.

Syria is now the main country of origin of asylum seekers in the 44 industrialised countries

Sharp rise of asylum applications from Syrians in industrialised countries


Syria is now the main country of origin of asylum seekers in the 44 industrialised countries addressed in UNHCR’s Asylum Trends 2013 report. Around 56,400 Syrians sought protection in these 44 states in 2013, which is more than double the number of asylum seekers from that country in 2012 (25,200 claims) and six times more than in 2011 (8,500 claims). UNHCR stresses that the 2013 level is the highest amount of protection claims recorded by a single group in one year among the industrialised countries since 1999.

Sweden (16,300 claims) and Germany (11,900 claims) received the most asylum seekers from Syria and Bulgaria, the Netherlands, the UK and Austria were also important destination countries for Syrians. With the exception of five countries (Cyprus, Finland, Japan, Latvia and New Zealand), asylum applications from Syrians increased in all industrialized countries. Turkey, with 649,302 Syrian registered refugees,hosts the most refugees fleeing the crisis in Europe.

484,600 asylum claims were registered in the 38 European countries in 2013, the highest number since 2001. This represents a 32% increase from 2012, both in the EU and the wider Europe, the report states. According to the report between 2009 and 2013, amongst the European countries, Germany received the largest number of new asylum seekers (288,800 claims), followed by Sweden (138,800 claims), and the UK (138,800 claims).

After Syria, people fleeing the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Serbia (including Kosovo), were the largest groups seeking refuge in the 44 industrialized countries in 2013.

For further information:

Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and the UK registered 70% of all asylum applicants in 2013

Five countries received 70% of all asylum applications registered in the EU in 2013


435,000 asylum applicants were registered in the EU28 last year, nearly 100,000 more asylum seekers than in 2012, according to a Eurostat report published this week. Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and the UK registered 70% of all applicants registered in the EU in 2013, the report states. Syria was the main country of citizenship of asylum applications, amounting to 12% of the total number of applicants.

When compared on the basis of population per Member State, Sweden received the most asylum seekers, with 5,700 asylum applicants per million inhabitants. Sweden is also the country hosting the largest number of asylum seekers from Syria (16,540 asylum seekers), followed by Germany (12,885 Syrian asylum seekers).

Swedish Immigration Minister has said, “We don’t think it is right and proper that so few of the 28 member states are making such a huge effort when a lot of you are just sitting by the ring side. That is not sustainable.”

When referring to current numbers of asylums seekers in Sweden, the Minister stated that “we are not talking about huge numbers yet”. “Syria will be with us for a very long period of time … It is all a question if you have the political will in individual member state governments”, concluded the Minister.

After Syria, the main countries of citizenship of asylum applicants in Europe in 2013 were Russia (41,000, or 10%), Afghanistan (26,000, or 6%), Serbia (22,000, or 5%), Pakistan (21,000, or 5%) and Kosovo (20 000, or 5%).