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Seminar on Immigration

Seminar on Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights Law Update 2016 organised by ASLLUK

On 24 September 2016 the Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers in the UK hosted the annual seminar on Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights Updates. The seminar took place at the BPP University on Red Lion Street. ASLLUK and BPP University have, over the years, formed a wonderful relationship with each other and BPP have been generous and gracious in allowing ASLLUK to use their premises which always forms a more than perfect setting for events such as these.
This seminar, like the ones before it, was booked out and carried a hefty 6 CDP points. ASLLUK have formed a formidable reputation for organising and hosting exceptional and worthwhile courses which provide practical and useful lessons to legal practitioners and students alike – it’s no wonder people are now jumping at the opportunity to secure their places on these courses.
After the attendees were efficiently registered, the course started at 09.30am. Mr Wasantha Tennakoon, the General Secretary of ASLLUK, opened the course by welcoming everyone. Mr Tennakoon then brought on Mr Lalith de Kauwe who, after many years of experience as a Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, gave an inspirational speech which ignited fires.

Mr de Kauwe highlighted the responsibilities legal practitioners carry to improve our practice, our experience, knowledge and skill. As black minority lawyers representing, for the most part, people from minority communities, we have a responsibility to ensure that the client’s best interests are always kept paramount. We have a responsibility to protect our clients who are sometimes vulnerable victims of their circumstances. Mr de Kauwe encouraged us not to take advantage of such clients, to spend time on their matters, to instruct the best advocates and to work collectively with other practitioners and to present a united front. His words certainly reminded some of us why we got into this field of work and I’m sure the students in the room were given a good idea as to the kind of lawyers they should be striving to become.
Mr Azher Chohan took to the stage after Mr De Kauwe. Mr Chohan was the main presenter of the day and he proved to be an excellent course deliverer and we are all most grateful to him for the lessons he departed during the course. Mr Chohan spoke for nearly 6 hours and he managed to hold the audience’s attention and intrigue throughout the day. Mr Chohan spoke passionately, clearly and knowledgably; he divided the course up into a number of clearly defined sections and managed to cover a lot of material before the end of the course.
He started his lessons with an update on the latest developments in Immigration law and highlighted the importance of going through online applications with clients before submitting them. He delivered numerous useful tips and lessons which should be taken onboard by any serious immigration practitioner and he varied his lessons between basic tips and more hefty legal know-how.
Mr Chohan moved onto discuss the new increases in Tribunal Fees and what this would mean for clients. It is important to let clients know from the very onset of any matter, what the fees are likely to be should their matter go before a Tribunal. It is also important to advice clients correctly on the type of documents they will need to progress any successful application or appeal.

Mr Chohan went onto discuss updates and procedures on Human Rights Law and Asylum. Much was discussed about the rights of children, what to do in the event that an out-of-country appeal is necessitated and the different ways in which an individual can go about challenging the Home Office. This was part of the lesson was especially useful and was full of excellent tips.
After Lunch, Mr Chohan moved on to discuss updates in case law and the effect Brexit will have on Immigration Laws and the effect it is already having on policies in the UK. The future looks daunting for immigration law practitioners and for immigrants alike as the Government seems to be curtailing almost all avenues of entering or remaining in this country. The Government are also further limiting the ways in which individuals can challenge the Home Office – this is highlighted by the fact the Extended Family Members of European nationals no longer have a right of appeal if their applications for a Residence Card is refused. Mr Chohan also highlighted how it is nearly impossible for adult dependant relatives to join their family members in the UK – he encouraged anyone who is dealing with adult dependant relative cases to get in contact with Migrants’ Law Project at Islington Law Centre (sonalg@islingtonlaw.org.uk).
Ripon Akhter of 1 Pump Court chambers took over from Mr Chohan towards the end of the day to give a talk on the case of MA Pakistan v SSHD which looks at Children, the 7 year rule and reasonableness. This talk was useful for a number of the practitioners present at the course as it is an issue that many of us are having to grapple with. The talk proved to be highly constructive especially due to the fact that Ms Akhter was one of the advocates that worked on this case. Ms Akhter spoke eloquently and clearly and invited discussion and questions – it was a pleasure to have a mind such as hers at an ASLLUK event.
Throughout the course, attendees were invited to discuss the issues being presented and to ask questions. The Course was concluded by an hour long interactive session which all resulted in this
seminar being one of the most engaging and interactive courses organised by ASLLUK. The success of the evening has to be credited to Azher Chohan who laboured for many hours but we must not forget to give thanks to all those members of ASLLUK who worked behind the scenes to make this event the triumph that it was.
For anyone that did not attend, you should strive to get your hands on the course material which was handed out to attendees as it contains an exhaustive list of useful information and articles.
A special thank you has to be extended to the organisers at ASLLUK for putting together such a thoughtful and useful course; not to mention the delicious lunch and refreshments that were provided to attendees throughout at the day. We look forward to revisiting this event next year!

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