Rumours have been circulating over the weekend but the Legal Services Commission has now confirmed [UPDATES: see also BBC news story, Law Society Gazette story and comments and follow-up, Guardian story and subsequent FM post] that IAS, the largest provider of immigration advice and representation in the UK, has gone into administration:
Immigration Advisory Service announce their decision to go into administration
11 July 2011
LSC to secure alternative provision as soon as possible
Today, Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) announced that they have gone into administration.
IAS is a not for profit charity and the largest provider of legal aid services in the asylum and immigration market. It has 14 offices across England and Scotland and operates outreach in a number of different locations nationwide.
Our priority now is to work closely with IAS and the administrators to ensure clients of IAS continue to get the help they need, whilst safeguarding public money. We are now identifying alternative advice provision in the areas affected and arrangements for case transfer will follow as soon as possible.
IAS clients are advised to visit IAS’s website where updates on arrangements will be posted –www.iasuk.org.
Anyone who needs immigration advice should contact the Community Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4 345.
Going into administration is obviously not good news, to put it mildly, but it is not necessarily the end for IAS yet. There is massive uncertainty for staff and clients and nothing official yet seems to have been announced by IAS itself either internally or externally. Many staff only found out this morning when they came to work to find that their offices have been shut down.
Despite the shock and uncertainty, this morning I saw an old colleague from IAS who had come in to Taylor House as soon as she heard the news to make sure the judges knew and make sure adjournments were granted for clients.
By strange coincidence this development comes almost exactly a year after the demise of Refugee and Migrant Justice.