15 September 2019

Blog: Monthly message from our Chair, Baroness Blackstone

With immigration having been such a hot news topic recently, I hope that you will find the work that the BSB has been doing in this area of particular interest.

Two years ago, we published a comprehensive Immigration Thematic Review Report, which summarised the risks in the immigration advice and services market.

The report identified three key themes, which affect the experiences of immigration clients. These were:

  • there are barriers to accessing justice: demand for immigration services outstrips supply, and cost and geographical location affect clients' ability to access services;
  • immigration clients may not understand the system, how to access help or how to seek redress if things go wrong; and
  • immigration clients experience varying standards of service across the range of providers in the market.

Since then, we have published a range of materials to help immigration clients better understand the system and to access appropriate legal advice. Last month, we released a new online guide to assist immigration barristers when they work closely with vulnerable clients. If you work in immigration, I do hope that you will read it, because it is designed to help you identify, assess and manage vulnerability as well as to help you meet your regulatory and other legal duties. You can read more about this new resource in this edition of Regulatory Update.

Elsewhere in this edition, you can find details of our latest research about women's experiences at the Bar and a summary of the collaborative action we are taking with the Bar Council and other Bar representative groups to tackle some of the important issues highlighted. There is also a reminder to share your views on our plans presented in our current consultations to modernise our regulatory decision-making and about sexual orientation and religion or belief monitoring within chambers and BSB entities. I hope you will respond by the closing dates of 31 May and 5 July respectively.