The Immigration Advisory Service has been around since 1972, although, out of the ashes of the old United Kingdom Immigrants’ Advice Service, it transmogrified into its current incarnation in 1994. IAS is one of the biggest providers of immigration and asylum advice and representation, but has traditionally punched below its weight, producing few landmark cases or legal challenges. While Chief Executive Keith Best has something of a reputation for outspoken boat rocking, IAS staff have been fairly anonymous in the sector in the past.
That is definitely changing. One of the biggest immigration cases this year, EB (Kosovo), was an IAS case, and the long running Zimbabwe litigation was brought to a successful conclusion by IAS. Meanwhile, the organisation has recruited some hot legal talent. The indominatable Sheona York, formerly of Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre, will shortly be joining them as some sort of lead lawyer and Kalvir Kaur at IAS (right, flanked to the right by the severe-looking Julian Bild and to the far left by Martina Flanaghan – both very good lawyers themselves) was recently recognised as Immigration Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year for her fantastic work with children and victims of trafficking.
Hopefully all this will give IAS staff a bit more to be proud of and instill a bit of justified self confidence.
Oddly, though, IAS was recently joined by a senior secondee from the Home Office, who is helping out for a year with management processes. Bringing in help from an organisation that (a) is hardly a model of administrative efficiency and good practise and (b) is your opponent in everything you do doesn’t sound terribly self-confident.