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Immigration solicitor struck off following undercover journalist sting loses his appeal


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The High Court has dismissed and certified as totally without merit an appeal brought by an immigration solicitor against the decision to strike him off the roll, after finding him guilty of dishonest conduct in his dealings with an undercover journalist in 2017. The case is Salam v Solicitors Regulation Authority Ltd [2024] EWHC 547 (Admin).

The ”damning” transcript of the interaction with the journalist is set out at paragraph 22 of the decision. The appellant was recorded audibly and visually telling the journalist how to obtain fraudulent accountancy evidence for a spouse visa application. At paragraph 90 the court said:

Further still, the Appellant has shown no insight into his behaviour. Indeed, even at the hearing before me, instead of admitting his guilt and making submissions on sanction, he maintained the ridiculous argument that he was merely play acting or conducting research at the meetings with Client A; but then said (through Mr. Skeate) that if I rejected his defence, he would want to make further submissions as to his remorse and “further insight” in an attempt to reduce the sanction. That is another example of the Appellant seeking to play fast and loose with the court, or of him playing the system. Moreover, as explained above in paragraph 10, not only does the Appellant continue to refuse to take responsibility for his dishonest behaviour, but he continues to seek to blame his behaviour upon others, accusing everyone else of fraud or misconduct (namely, Client A; Mr. Grant; the BBC; the SRA and the SDT including the Chairman personally). That is a strongly aggravating feature of the Appellant’s misconduct.

The annex to the judgment sets out a chronology of attempts by the appellant to delay proceedings, described as “an extraordinarily depressing tale of an abuse of the court’s procedures”. The court concluded by describing the appeal as bound to fail, dismissing it and certifying it as totally without merit.

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Sonia Lenegan

Sonia Lenegan is an experienced immigration, asylum and public law solicitor. She has been practising for over ten years and was previously legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and legal and policy director at Rainbow Migration. Sonia is the Editor of Free Movement.