An immigration solicitor accused of persistently abusing and trying to undermine the immigration system has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Vay Sui Ip, a partner at Manchester-based Sandbrook Solicitors, will face six charges.

In 2015, the firm appeared before the upper tribunal in Manchester Civil Justice Centre after it was suspected of deploying a strategy of seeking last-minute interim relief in deportation cases and failing to issue proceedings in the hope that clients would fall ‘below the radar’.

Commenting on five cases in which Sandbrook had been involved, Mr Justice Green said they showed the firm was prepared to advance cases on virtually any ground ‘however tenuous or hopeless’, simply to enable applications for interim relief.

Green referred the firm to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

In a decision published today, the SRA said it was satisfied that there was a case to answer.

The charges against Ip are that he:

  • Brought judicial review applications that were totally without merit and an abuse of process.
  • Engaged in a systematic course of conduct designed to undermine the immigration system, amounting to a persistent abuse of the process of the court.
  • Failed to act in accordance with the duty of candour owed by legal representatives upon a without notice application for interim relief and failed to place the full facts before the court.
  • Failed to follow correct court procedures by failing to pursue judicial review claims and/or serve a Notice of Discontinuance following the grant of interim relief.
  • Failed to co-operate with the court by not responding to correspondence in a timely manner and not being able to answer specific queries in relation to the relevant files at a hearing in May 2015.
  • Misled the court during the hearing by stating himself and through his representative that the reason for Mr J’s non-attendance at that hearing was Mr J’s ill health.

The charges are not proven and are subject to a hearing. 

Previously, Benny Thomas, an immigration lawyer and former senior partner at London firm Consilium Chambers, was struck off by the SDT. Thomas was charged with contempt of court after his evidence was found to be ‘untruthful’. Consilium was closed by the SRA in 2013.