Solicitor and junior counsel directed to address specific concerns arising from conduct of asylum and immigration proceedings

By: James Cross BL

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High Court, in judicial review proceedings brought by Polish national challenging the decision of the Minister for Justice ordering his removal and exclusion from the State, which were dismissed following a series of irregularities: 1) awards the costs of the proceedings to the Minister; 2) makes a wasted costs order against the Polish national’s solicitor; and 3) directs his solicitor and junior counsel to answer specific matters of concern raised by the court in relation to breach of proper standards of professional behaviour arising from the conduct of these proceedings.

Judicial review – asylum and immigration – practice and procedure – costs of legal proceedings – judicial review proceedings withdrawn – respondents applied for costs - whether it is appropriate to make a wasted costs order against the applicant’s solicitors – conduct of the litigation - court’s inherent jurisdiction to hold to account the behaviour of lawyers whose conduct of litigation falls below the minimum professional and ethical standards – challenge by Polish national to decision to remove him from the State and exclude him for 5 years – convicted of various offences in this state - ex parte application for leave – application not made to judge presiding over asylum list - brief and fragmentary account of the events - relief sought, grounds advanced and arguments made ex parte – transcript of leave application – did not open relevant statutes and cases - concerns about professional conduct and standards – incorrect threshold for leave cited - inherent jurisdiction of the court to hold lawyers to account - conduct required of lawyers - proper administration of justice and the integrity of the asylum and immigration system - duties of legal representatives in ‘last-minute’ applications - post-leave conduct of the proceedings - Minister’s motion to dismiss – delay – breach of statute – lack of experience of counsel - motion for an extension of time – made outside time directed by the court and contrary to law - release and immediate disappearance of the Polish national – application to come off record - second application to come off record - dismissal of the proceedings and the issue of costs - issue of wasted costs – Court awarded the costs of the proceedings to the Minister and further ordered that the solicitor for the Polish national indemnify him in respect of the amount of those costs when agreed with the Minister (or taxed in default of agreement) by bearing them personally - court must protect the integrity of its own processes – Court requires the applicant’s solicitor and junior counsel to show cause as to why each should not be found by the Court to have conducted these proceedings in breach of proper standards of professional behaviour and in breach of the duty that each of them owes to the Court - specific matters of concern – answers to be given within 14 days.

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