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Duncan Lewis Solicitors: Statement of Apology (22 February 2018)

Date: 22/02/2018
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis Solicitors: Statement of Apology

We recently represented ‘SB’ in his immigration related Court of Appeal matter. We wish to apologise for misrepresenting the facts in SB, this is a case of a last minute attempt to prevent a young man, ‘SB’, from being returned to Afghanistan. While, as the Court of Appeal clarifies, we made these representations ‘honestly and in good faith’, we accept unreservedly the criticism of the judges in this case.

To provide some clarification, SB seeks refuge in the UK from the Taliban. His case was referred to us at the eleventh-hour. We were informed of SB’s removal from the UK on the same morning on which he was due to be removed, only a day after we had agreed to represent him.

In challenging SB’s removal by way of judicial review, we obtained orders from the High Court that the Secretary of State for the Home Office should bring our client back from Kabul. The orders were challenged by the Secretary of State and subsequently upheld in a hearing at the Court of Appeal. In the same hearing however, permission was granted to appeal these orders.

After a subsequent hearing on 30 January 2018, the Court of Appeal allowed the Secretary of State’s appeal and in judgment criticised one of the grounds for judicial review put forward by us on behalf of SB.

Ultimately, in our urgent submissions to the court, we had included a ground, with advice from the instructed barrister, which was subsequently found to have been based on an incomplete understanding of our client’s immigration history. While, as the Court of Appeal held, there is ‘no suggestion’ that our solicitor and counsel acted ‘deliberately to manipulate the court’, the court found that this ground amounted to a misrepresentation of the facts.

As a company that is proud of its specialism in this field, we are genuinely sorry for the error that occurred. This error is not representative of the work that is undertaken by our many dedicated lawyers in this area of law where cases are often conducted under extreme time limitations. As a firm we acknowledge that we are often the last port of call for many who would otherwise have no legal representation. We are passionate about providing access to justice to those most in need.

We wish to make clear that we are fully aware of the potential consequences of this oversight. We fully acknowledge that this case risks straining the very important relationship of trust that must exist between the courts and practitioners in cases of this nature. We are deeply sorry for this and we will do everything we can to prevent such mistakes occurring in the future.

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