3.2 Taking Client Instructions
This is a process which requires some finesse as the client will not always be able to identify what is relevant and will not always be able to tell their story in a logical sequence. You might need to probe for more detail and/or filter information from the client’s instructions in order to take things forward.

Part 1- Formalities

Use this part of the interview to put the client at ease, ensure the client understands your role. If you know the client in another role (e.g. a welfare support role) explain the new Immigration advice role you are playing and how it relates to the old role, in particular, whether it is independent (i.e. if you stop acting for the client in their immigration matter, can they continue to access other support?). During any formalities, try to establish a slightly more formal relationship with the client (for the purposes of taking instructions.) But if you can make the client laugh, this is the time to do it – a formal relationship doesn’t have to be dull.


    Introduce yourself
    Anyone else

Explain your role:

    Destitution/welfare role
    Legal adviser role
    Independence of destitution/welfare role

Explain the interpreter role:

    Interpret what is being said ‘verbatim’
    Be impartial
    Maintain Confidentiality

Explain the limitations:

    OISC Level

Explain duties:

    Client’s best interests
    Duty to court (can’t deceive court/home office)

Check nay conflicts of interest?

Explain the forms:

    Confidentiality/consent form

Explain how you will take instructions:

Part 2 - Taking Instructions

This is the longest part - allow at least an hour. Record everything verbatim (i.e. write down questions and answers word-for-word.) Try and establish a rhythm of question and answer with minimal interruptions. Begin with some fairly open questions - e.g. “how can I help you?” and give the client some space to talk.


    What does the client want to do?
    Biographical information (date/place of birth, nationality, parents etc.)
    Background (education/employment, etc.)
    Immigration history (applications, appeals, etc)
    Family in UK
    Private life ties to UK
    UK antecedents

Protection (if applicable):

    Past persecution
    Future fear
    State protection
    Internal flight
    Journey to the UK
    Dublin/safe third country issues
    Entry into UK
    Actions on arrival
    Reasons for any delay in claiming

Private Life


    Length of Residence in the UK
    Education/Qualifications Children
    Medical Issues
    Exceptional Circumstances
    Insurmountable Obstacles
    Relatives/ Friends
    Criminal & Immigration History
    NHS & Litigation Debts


    Length of Residence in the UK

Child life in the UK:

    Education/Special Education Needs, Fees
    Medical Issues
    Language Spoken and Written
    Places of Worship
    NHS & Litigation Debts
    Criminal & Immigration History

Life of the Child in the proposed country:

    Single Parent Family
    Family members who are LGBTQ
    Conditions of entry
    Healthcare Facilities
    Child Mortality rates
    Child Labour
    Child Marriage


    Complete any necessary forms
    Agree tasks for you
    Agree tasks for client
    Agree deadlines

Part 3 - Advice and Actions

If you are uncertain, you may wish to reserve the bulk of this for a second interview and give only interim or qualified advice.

Re-check: Conflict of Interest?

Do the instructions raise anything new that may compromise your independence?


Outline any possible applications, claims or other courses of action, and for each action, explain:
    Requirements to be met
    Evidence needed
    Strengths and weaknesses
    Prospects for success
    Advantages and disadvantages
Also explain any current circumstances and potential consequences of inaction:
    Liability for detention
    Risk of enforcement action
    Criminal offences
Webpage: Immigration Guidance For Professionals (Bar Standards Board)
A PDF document containing guidance for professionals working with people with Immigration and asylum issues.
Last modified 5mo ago