Terms and Conditions
4.1 About us
Westkin Associates is one of London’s leading immigration law firms. We are regulated by the OISC. Our regulation number is F200800119.
At Westkin Associates we endeavour to maintain the highest degree of service, our quality and reputation has been built upon our commitment to honesty, competence and professionalism.
We are regulated by the OISC at the highest level, level 3.
4.2 Setting Ourselves Standards
We operate a system in our office insisting all our staff meet certain standards with regard to client care. Standards include:
- Clients should receive copies of all substantive correspondence, including, without limitation, all correspondence between Westkin and the Home Office and/or UKBA in relation to your case
- Telephone calls from clients are to be returned on the same day where possible.
- You will be notified of the receipt of correspondence of any sort on the same day and the correspondence is to be dealt with promptly within a reasonable time and certainly before your case is prejudiced in any way.
- Letters to clients and outside agencies are to be written in plain English.
- Appointments are to be given to clients within a reasonable timeframe and without any due delay.
Please remind us if you feel we have not kept to our standards as we are always looking for ways to improve our services further.
Please also feel free to be open with your concerns as your case proceeds, we are happy to amend our normal processes to ensure we work in a manner that suits you, within reason.
As an organisation, we have in place a procedure to keep all the instructions and information you provide to us confidential. This means that we will not disclose any information that you provide to us to any person or body,
- whose knowledge of your case/ information and whose involvement are NOT considered as necessary for the success of your application, and
- who is not required by law to learn about your case, without your written approval.
There are specific and limited circumstances where this organisation will be compelled to disclose information by reason of a legal regulatory obligation. Full details of this are available upon request.
It should be noted that the regulating body, the OISC, can examine our files. This is largely done to ensure that quality of advice is maintained, not to disclose that information to the prejudice to your case.
4.4 Complaints Procedure
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients. Please inform us if you feel we have not met these standards.
If you have a complaint, please contact us with the details.
If we have to change any of the timescales set out below we will let you know.
- It may be possible to resolve your complaint immediately, please speak to your caseworker if you have any concerns.
- If the complaint is serious or cannot otherwise be resolved through a simple conversation, your caseworker will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and asking you to confirm or explain the details. We may suggest that you and the caseworker meet to clarify any details.
- We will then record your complaint in our central register and open a file for your complaint and investigate your complaint. This may involve one or more of the following steps.
- The caseworker will consider your complaint again. We will then send you a detailed reply or invite you to a meeting to discuss the matter.
- At this stage, we would arrange a meeting with a senior lawyer, we would aim to be in a position to be able to meet with you within 14 days of first receiving your complaint. If you would prefer not to meet, or if we cannot arrange this within an agreeable timescale, we will write fully to you setting out our views on the situation and any redress.
- Within two days of the meeting, we will write to you to confirm what took place and any solutions we have agreed with you. In appropriate cases we could offer an apology, a reduction of any bill or a repayment in relation to any payment received.
- At this stage, if you are still not satisfied, please contact us again with your views. We will review the decision.
- We will let you know the result of the review within five days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position on your complaint and explaining our reasons.
- Please note alternatively, you can at any time make your complain directly to the OISC, who regulate all Immigration Advisors, by completing the OISC complaint’s form.
- This form is available in a range of languages on the website, www.oisc.gov.uk office of any regulated adviser or community advice organisations. You can also make your complain in person to the OISC office, on 5th Floor, Counting House, 53 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QN or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Telephone: 0845 000 0046 Fax: 020 7211 1553 Website: www.oisc.gov.uk
4.5 Papers Held by Westkin Associates
On completion of matters, we will return your original documents to you unless otherwise agreed with you. Westkin Associates will undertake to retain files for at least six years in line with Commissioners Code of Standards.
We reserve the right to destroy the files without further reference to clients after retaining the files for the period stated above.
4.6 Inspection of Files and Quality Standards
Westkin Associates works to the quality standards of the Office of The Immigration Services Commissioner.
As a result of this we are or may become subject to periodic checks by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner for Audits and/or complaints. This could mean that your file is selected for checking by the OISC, in which case we would not need your consent for inspection to occur as the OISC does not require permission to inspect our client files.
All inspections are, of course, conducted in confidence. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can explain this further.
4.7 Transfer of File
If you wish to instruct other Firms to deal with your matter, we will transfer your file to another adviser but you will still be liable for fees on work done.
We will always release your file whether you have paid us or not.
We may take action in the county courts to recover our fees should you refuse to pay.
4.8 Alternative Representation
You should also be aware that Firms such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Law Centre and Immigration Advisory Service may be able provide you with advice and representation in immigration matters free of charge.
If you wish to consult them, their number can be found in the Local Telephone Directory.
4.9 Insurance Cover
Westkin Associates maintains Professional Indemnity Insurance.
4.10 Engaging Experts
Westkin Associates will only engage experts using objective criteria. In a situation where you may have need for interpreters, medical attention/report, etc., we will engage only professionals who are registered with a recognised accreditation body. Recognised bodies for interpreters include, The National Register for Public Service Interpreters, Metropolitan Police Test, Diploma in Public Service Interpreting, etc. while the General Medical Council regulates medical doctors in the UK. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is another important regulatory body since we may be engaging the services of Nurses and Midwives during the cause of our work. It is also our company policy not to engage the services of the client’s family member or friend in order to avoid a conflict of interest in providing a professional service.
4.11 Contacting Us
EMAIL REMAINS BY FAR THE MOST EFFICIENT ROUTE TO CONTACT US IN FIRST INSTANCE.
All our advisers are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). You should attempt to email assigned adviser who will be dealing with your case until the completion of the matter, or otherwise being advised by you to stop doing so, copying in any assistants whom you have met.
You can contact us by telephone or by post however the most effective way of contact is by email.
We would also ask that you do not try to attend our offices without an appointment, as it will be extremely unlikely that you will be seen. Please ensure that you notify us in writing of any change of your address.
4.12 Fees and Payments
Westkin Associates are keen that all payments are transparent, fair and consistent. We make the following promises:
- We work on Fixed Fees. We calculate fixed fees based upon an assessment of your case and once we understand your needs, we give you a quote. We stick to this quote unless you require additional services, not previously discussed, or some fact that was not previously disclosed means we have to undertake more work than was originally agreed.
- We do not expect this figure to change, but if it does we will contact you with full reasons as to why costs have increased.
- You will be informed before making any payments to us of the grand total figure that will need to be paid and the hourly rate it is based upon.
- You will be informed before making any payments to us of what work this covers
- This figure will be held in our client account and will only be transferred to our professional account once the work has been completed satisfactorily.
- A client account is similar to a trust account and the money will be returned if and when you wish it, minus the amount required to cover work that has been done and agreed by yourself.
- We will inform you of when we transfer money into the professional account and when we invoice you, what work we are taking payment for.
Clients can pay in cash, bank transfer or by cheque. Details are available upon request. We do not take credit card payments.
Please be aware we do not undertake publically funded (legal aid) work and you may be able to obtain legal advice free of charge elsewhere. Please contact the OISC or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureaux (CAB) for more details.
There may come a time that you will incur additional costs other than our professional fees. These are called disbursements; examples of these may include costs for interpreters, expert or other reports or lodging fees.
We will not incur these costs until we have spoken to you and you have agreed to bear them.
*Some clients will be charged VAT. We will only charge VAT when we have explained the reasons for doing so and will make clear what amount of your fee is made up of VAT. Our VAT assessment is based upon our VAT policy which is available upon request.
+Westkin Associates hopes that Home Office fees can be made by postal order made payable directly to them. Please speak to us about this if more details are needed.
Thank you for instructing Westkin Associates.
If you have been pleased with our service so far, please tell others who might benefit. If you like further information please do not hesitate to contact us.