Border Agency faces London Met Brick bat

London Metropolitan University has turned to Brick Court Chambers in its fight against the UK Border Agency (UKBA), which has revoked its licence to sponsor international students.

The UKBA decided to strip the university of its “highly trusted” status, which allowed it to take on students from outside the EU, after checking a sample of its students and finding almost a quarter didn’t have permission to stay in the UK.

Fighting back, London Met has instructed Penningtons and Brick Court Chambers’ Richard Gordon QC in a bid to quash the UKBA’s decision, which has left thousands of foreign students unable to return to study (see story).

Gordon is no slouch – he was instructed by Clifford Chance for Philip Morris in judicial review proceedings over display bans for tobacco products.

London Metropolitan University is expected to file its judicial review case against the UKBA decision at the High Court this week. In this instance, justice must be swift if it is to do any good for the some 2,600 foreign students that have until 1 December to find an alternative course or leave the UK. It remains unclear how many of those are studying law, with the university so far failing to respond to requests for the numbers.

It is not the first time that the pesky border agency has interfered with the UK’s potential lawyers of tomorrow. In August 2010, The Lawyer reported that Norton Rose failed to secure a work permit for one of its future trainees and had to turn away a number of Indian interns in the wake of the UKBA’s points-based work permit system (16 August 2010).

The government may be keen on exporting law, but its not in too much of a hurry to import lawyers, it seems.

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