More Concern that Criminal Lawyers may be failing migrants by providing poor advice says CCRC

More Concern that Criminal Lawyers may be failing migrants by providing poor advice

“If I had known I had a defense to not being in possession of a passport, I would not have pleaded guilty”

Due to the complexities involved, and the fact the clients are often reluctant to assist their lawyers, immigration offences prosecuted by the CPS are an area which falls outside of the general knowledge of many criminal law practitioners.  It is essential that anyone advising those suspected of immigration offenses are aware of the law.  From police station representatives to those providing representation in court, a lack of knowledge of this complex area is resulting in some clients pleading guilty or being found guilty of offenses for which they have a defense.

In interviews with inmates at the prisons housing foreign nationals, the common comment is that they were not aware that a conviction could mean they were likely to be deported at the end of their sentence.

In the USA, a failure to advise a foreign national client of the possibility of being deported if they plead guilty to an offence is regularly classed as Ineffective Counsel, and has been the result of many successful appeals.  While it is not suggested that the Ineffective Counsel arguments are adopted in the courts in England and Wales, a better awareness of the offences and defences available is essential if the clients are going to be effectively represented.

  • The detainee without a passport may have been a victim of human trafficking.
  • The youth in the YOI may mistakenly have believed that as he has leave to remain he would not be deported at the end of his sentence for his involvement in the Riots

Take the first step to identifying the immigration offences and the defences available – come along to a free training session “Identifying Victims”, where Migrant Help Prison advisors will explain their role in assisting inmates facing deportation.

Alison Gurden of 1 Grays Inn Square chambers will talk about identifying victims, including the indicators of a human trafficking victim and how they differ from a person who has been smuggled into the UK.

Click here for the course schedule and the subject areas covered  ☞  identifying clients as victims schedule

Free Training (2CPD applied for) : but places are limited – RSVP to or

  • 5th July 2012, Hotel Russell, Russell Sq, London WC1B  5BE (Russell Sq Underground). 6-8pm.  Introduction by David Malone, Head of Chambers 1 Grays Inn Square Chambers.
  • 12th July 2012, Canterbuy Christchurch University, Broadstairs campus. 3.30-5.50. Introduction by Bob Underwood, retired Police Officer and tutor of Policing Studies.

Open to anyone involved in the Criminal Justice System – e.g. police station reps, lawyers, law students, magistrates, judges, advice agencies, police officers, probation officers, prison officers.

About gurdena

Social Justice Barrister, interested in all things contentious & anything criminal justice related including prisoners and complaints against the police. Specialising in criminal law - mainly sex, violence, and football fans (not necessarily all 3 at the same time!). Represents people facing death penalty in the USA. Associate Member at Drystone Chambers

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