The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today published an online guide to assist immigration barristers when they work closely with vulnerable clients. The new resource will help immigration barristers to identify, assess and manage vulnerability as well as help them to meet their regulatory and other legal duties.
The guide has been developed in response to the BSB’s 2016 Immigration Thematic Review, which found that barristers sometimes face difficulties identifying, assessing and managing client vulnerability. The review showed that consumers of immigration advice are a particularly vulnerable group and that barristers and other legal professionals working with them would benefit from this type of non-mandatory guidance. A barrister’s ability to identify vulnerability is highly likely to be relevant to their client’s legal case. This guide has been developed so it can be used by both the referral Bar and Public Access practitioners. There is also useful information for clerks and practice managers.
The vulnerability guide published today adds to guidance issued by the BSB in June 2017 in collaboration with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. It
- helps barristers to identify immigration client vulnerability and understand the factors which might contribute towards making a client vulnerable;
- helps barristers to understand every stage of the immigration client journey from identifying their legal need, choosing a provider, receiving legal advice and/or representation, to following up on the information they receive; and
- contains fact sheets, case studies, useful contacts and links to further resources.
BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod said: “This online resource is part of our response to some of the risks associated with immigration and asylum work. Assessing and managing vulnerability are essential to improving the consumer experience. We hope this resource will help barristers to adopt good practice when working with vulnerable immigration clients.”