What is a lawyer and why do you need one?
In your immigration or asylum application, the most important thing you need is legal representation or advice. In the UK, the term lawyer can be used for anyone qualified to give legal advice, which could include a caseworker, solicitor or barrister.
Your lawyer may be a caseworker. They will not necessarily have qualified as a solicitor, but will have qualified as an immigration caseworker under the OISC regulations (that regulate immigration legal advice) and so are permitted to give legal advice on asylum, immigration and relevant areas of human rights law.
A solicitor is a lawyer who traditionally deals with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in court. In immigration/asylum cases, it is normally a barrister who will take a case to the higher courts, or who will represent you in court in the case of a judicial review.
Barristers are specialist legal advisers and court room advocates. In England and Wales, you may be represented by a barrister at the immigration tribunal, and if your case goes to the higher courts, it will usually be a barrister speaking in court in support of your case. In Scotland, the lawyer who represents you at higher courts is called an advocate.
Finding a lawyer
Use these databases to search for legal help in your area.
The OISC regulates immigration advisers operating in the UK, ensuring that they are fit and competent and acting in their client’s best interests. You can search for an immigration adviser on their website
Asylum Aid offers free, confidential and independent legal advice and representation. The advice line offers free one-off legal advice.
The Advice Line operates on Mondays 2.00 pm – 4:30pm and Thursdays 10.00 am – 12:30pm. Asylum Aid Advice Line: 0207 354 9264