The Lawyer Inquiry: David Burgess

David Burgess, 47, is a partner in Winstanley Burgess and a specialist in refugee cases – he has acted for many asylum cases of the past 20 years, including Sri Lankan Viraj Mendis. He lives in London

What was your first job?

Pipe laying across the Yorkshire Dales.

What was your first salary as a lawyer?

u10 per week during articles.

What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?

Something more exportable.

Which law could you live without?

Section five of the Immigration Act 1988, which effectively denied an appeal in deportation cases unless individuals have been resident in the UK for at least seven years.

What car do you drive?

A 1985 Volkswagen Golf.

Who inspires you?

My 11-year old son coping with bullying at his new school.

What's the best thing on television?

'Red Dwarf'.

Which film do you wish you'd appeared in?


What is your most-worn piece of clothing?

An old jersey which was once my grandfather's.

What makes you seethe?

Actually quite a lot. For example, the immigration service complaints procedure; the Legal Aid Board announcing out of the blue that solicitors can no longer claim the costs (including interpreter's costs) of travelling to take instructions from detainees.

What is the worst piece of architecture.

The Home Office at Queen Anne's gate – built to protect our betters.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone entering the profession now?

You don't need any. You are a genius to have found a trainee position. You won't need me to tell you not to rely on legal aid's future.

Where would you most like to be right now?

In a free Tibet.