The Legal Aid Agency has been told to directly apologise and pay £10,000 to an expert witness in immigration cases for causing him distress, inconvenience and financial loss by excessively auditing his bills.
In a report seen by the Gazette, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman says it has decided to ‘partly uphold’ Dr Alan George’s complaint. Middle East expert George had alleged that the agency unfairly denigrated his character, unfairly reduced, capped and refused his fees; and unfairly subjected his work and fees to excessive assessment, review and audit from spring 2011 until autumn 2013.
The ombudsman says: ‘We found that LAA did not act transparently when investigating their concerns about Dr George and they failed to keep useable records. Further, that they treated Dr George unfairly when failing to properly consider and respond to his complaints and were not free from bias. We agreed with Dr George that LAA’s actions caused him inconvenience, distress and had a financial impact on him. However, we did not find that LAA denigrated Dr George’s character.’
For the full story click the link below. Those with long memories will recall that Dr George previously won an apology from the immigration tribunal after instructing Carter Ruck Solicitors.