3.1 Key Elements of the Adviser/Client Relationship

Beginning a Case

Some projects or services might be strictly limited in scope - for example your assistance might be confined to one-off advice or assistance. However you are more likely to be offering a complete service, representing the client until the matter is resolved, or until it reaches a stage where you can no longer act. When you do this you are entering into a contract with your client. There will be obligations on both sides - even if your client is not paying for your service.

Responsibilities usually involve

    Taking and following instructions.
    Ascertaining exactly who is your client (usually this will be the person giving instructions, but not always - your client will be the person making the application, not their sponsor who comes to see you in the UK, if they have one!).
    Advising your client.
    Taking steps to resolve the immigration issue on the client’s behalf (at Level 1, this usually means submitting an application).
    Acting in your client’s best interest.
    Having trust and confidence in your client (note: this does not mean that you must believe whatever your client tells you - if you have good reasons to doubt your client you can and should discuss this with them).
    Maintaining confidentiality.
    Ensuring that the client is giving their instructions freely (note: if you suspect that your client is acting under duress or under the influence of someone else, you will need to exercise your judgment as to whether to continue to act).
    You should meet at intervals with the client (virtually and/ or in person) to discuss progress, review documents sent and received and to plan next steps.
    You should keep your client informed of all developments in their case You should always record in writing the advice you have given.
    You must keep the client informed in writing of any risks which exist or which might arise as the case develops.
    Beware of any deadlines from court or the UKVI- ensure that you never miss a deadline and if there are reasons beyond your control why you cannot meet a deadline, write to those concerned and request an extension of time.
    Always speak to your supervisor if you are unsure about an ethical issue that might arise in the course of obtaining instructions
Note: Your client also has a duty to also keep you informed of any developments that might have a bearing on their case such as a change to their financial and or family situation.

Ending a Case

There are many reasons why the relationship might end and the most common ones are:

    The client is granted immigration status or refused, and the client agrees that no further action should be taken.
    It becomes apparent that your client needs advice or assistance that neither you nor your organisation have the required level of competence. For example, if you are working in a Level 2 organisation and your client needs help with an appeal.
    You lose contact with the client and can no longer take instructions- you would normally send a letter to the client's last known address requesting the client to contact your offices. This normally within 14days of receipt of the letter.
    The client decides to stop instructing you or changes to another advisor.
    You are no longer able to continue to advise due to a breakdown in your relationship with the client – if the client is unhappy with the service provided every effort should be made to find out the problem and resolve it if you can.
    Your client has become abusive and you cannot reasonably be expected to ignore this. (Small verbal outbursts at times of extreme stress may be tolerated.)
    Your client has become uncooperative to the extent that you can no longer effectively represent them.
    Your client has used deception and will not allow you to reveal the truth. In these circumstances you must withdraw from the case.
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