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Terms of Business and Client Care

  1. Definitions
    • The terms ‘we, our, us, adviser or consultant’ shall refer to Cornerstone Advisory Services of 7 Queens Gardens, Aberdeen, United Kingdom AB15 4YD.
    • The ‘client’ shall mean the individual person or corporate entity that engages our services to provide consultancy, advice or services with respect to their own application or on behalf of their dependants or identified third parties subject to these terms of business and referred to under this agreement as ‘client’, ‘applicant’, ‘they’, ‘you’, ‘yourself’ or ‘your’.
    • ‘The Agreement’ shall mean the contracted engagement by the Client of the services offered by Cornerstone Advisory Services pertaining to the consultancy service, application and subsequent completion of an immigration application subject to these terms and conditions.
    • ‘Third Party’ shall mean any individual person or corporate entity made party to the engagement of Cornerstone Advisory Services by the client as detailed in 1.3 above and includes but not limited to an Employer, Recruitment Agency or individual job seeker or prospective employee, visitors or any third party whose immigration status or application is directly related to the client’s status or immigration application.
    • ‘Fees’ shall mean our professional fees as advised by your consultant or via formal confirmation of service request, via email, letter or invoice and shall be based on our OISC approved fee scale.
    • ‘Engagement’ shall mean the request by the client, on its own behalf or on behalf of any relevant third parties, made to Cornerstone Advisory Services to engage our services for the conduct of their immigration case and shall be subject to our acceptance of the case based on our objective criteria for service engagement and case load.
  2. When the agreement starts
    • Once we have received the completed and signed engagement letter (which contains these terms & conditions and your instructions), your confirmation of service request and letter of authority (if required), we will consider your request and decide whether we will provide the services described in these terms & conditions to you.
    • Once we have made our decision, we will contact you via email to confirm our decision. If we decide to proceed with your case and accept you as our client, a case reference number will be allocated to you.
    • The agreement will only begin if we have decided to provide the services to you. If we decide not to provide the services to you and we advise you that this is the case, we shall have no legal responsibility to you and there will be no agreement between us.
  3. The Service
    • We will request documentation and information that we believe are relevant to your case and service request.
    • In order for us to review your application and to provide any necessary advice or support that you may require, we will require scanned copies of all documents that you intend to submit to the UKVI in support of your application. You understand that these documents will contain vital personal details and you may request for a copy of our ‘Client Confidentiality policy’ which provides details of how your personal details will be managed by Cornerstone Advisory Services.
    • We will consider and review the information and documentation you provide to us and confirm whether we will go ahead with your case as outlined in section 2 above.
    • The client agrees, upon engagement of our services, to provide any and all documentation and any other data as may be requested by us from time to time including but not limited to accounting, payroll, incorporation, HM Revenue & Customs, contract, invoicing, lease, mortgage and other trading data if applicable for the purposes of performing our consultancy service and/or making an application and to make any third party aware of our similar obligations to do so.
  4. Your responsibilities

To enable us to provide you with an efficient service, you are committing yourself to ensure that:

  • You always keep us updated whenever any of your contact details change
  • You will provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions
  • You will provide all the relevant information and documentation required for the conduct of your immigration case
  • You will be required to provide us with your authorisation to act on your behalf and permission to collect your documents from the UKBA at the completion of your case if using the same day service.
  • Your dependant may be required to provide us with a letter of authorisation if you are submitting any documents in your joint names in support of your application
  • You must not give us false information or any documents which are misleading, falsified or incorrect
  • You agree to provide any document or information we ask for to support your application
  1. Communication
    • Contacting you: We will contact you by telephone, email, text message or by post to your contact address and you agree to inform us immediately if your contact details should change especially before your case is completed.
    • Contacting us: Our normal office hours are from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. During this period you can reach us via email to clientsupport@cornerstoneimmigration.com and you can also call our service desk on 01224 515 552. Please note that the service desk personnel are not able to answer immigration related enquiries and they cannot access your file due to our strict policy on protecting client confidentiality. In particular, we ask clients not to attend our office except by prior appointments only and most of our work are carried out on an offline basis i.e. via email and telephone correspondence, which allows us to deliver a more efficient service and removes the requirement for multiple client meetings at our office, thereby allowing our clients to focus on their work and daily activities and gives us a unique opportunity to better focus on the delivery of our client’s requirements. All advisory related services based on your service request/instruction will be carried out by our OISC accredited Immigration Adviser, Mrs Taiwo Olabinjo, who is accredited as a Level 3 Adviser by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and also accredited by the Law Society as a Senior Immigration Casework under the Immigration & Asylum Accreditation Scheme (IAAS).
    • We will therefore require scanned copies of all supporting documents to be submitted with all applications. These can be sent to us via email or uploaded via our website or through our corporate Dropbox account to protect client confidentiality.
    • By signing and accepting this terms and conditions, you accept to work with us based on the proposed terms, including offline processing of your documents and personal information and you will ensure that you provide all the required documents 3 – 4 weeks prior to the application submission date to allow sufficient time for the application and document review process and also allow time for required modifications to be made or missing documents to be provided prior to the submission date.

 

  1. Our Fees & Payment terms
    • We do not operate on a ”no win-no fee” basis and we charge for our services based on an OISC approved fee scale for all immigration advice and services that we are authorized to provide to our clients as an OISC Level 3 organisation.
    • Please note that application fees to the UKVI and all other government agencies or tribunal are not included within our fees.
    • We normally advise our client to make payments to the UKVI and other government agencies directly by cheque, postal orders, debit or credit cards. If for any reasons you prefer to make such payments through us, we operate a client account with Barclays Bank through which such payments can be made and if you prefer this option we will provide you with details of our client money & account management policies.
    • Should you wish to withdraw your instructions part-way through your immigration case, we will charge you for all work we have undertaken at the hourly rate for consultation as advised on your confirmation of service request.
    • Our professional services (except Appeals, Casework & Advocacy) are offered via email and telephone correspondence, as a means of providing flexibility to our clients and to avoid multiple trips for face to face appointments at our office and we can arrange teleconference if required.
    • Details of the services covered by our fees shall be provided to the client in writing via email, letters, fee scale, service request form etc. If we are unable to deliver any of the services due to additional or alternative requests from the client, inaccessibility of the right documents or any other reason attributable to the client, then we will advise the client accordingly and shall be free of any legal obligation to provide such services and the client will remain liable for the payment of the fees due to us.
    • Additional charges to cover travel and accommodation expenses for UKVI representations may become chargeable to the client. All charges and expenses will be discussed and agreed with the client prior to commencement of our services.
    • Fees quoted for Appeals, Casework, Advocacy & Representation exclude consultation fees which will be charged separately at the hourly consultation rate. Additional expenses incurred for travel and accommodation for attendance at Hearings or UKBA representations are also chargeable to the client.
    • We accept payment for our services via PayPal or bank transfers to our dedicated client account with Barclays Bank Plc.
    • For all application types, full payment of the agreed fee must be paid into our dedicated client account with Barclays Bank prior to the commencement of our services.
    • For clients who require the use of UKVCAS Priority service, the client will need to contact the UKVCAS directly to confirm the applicable fees and select the required service via the UKVCAS service. This is a 3rd party service offered by Sopra Steria on behalf of the UKVI.
    • Our fees are quoted based on the type of advice, complexity and/or urgency of the case, and the average time required to fulfil client instructions based on our OISC approved fee scale.
    • Please note that we reserve the right to inform you in writing when further payment will be required in situations where extensive communication or additional specialist work or the use of an expert is required due to complexity of the case or based on additional client requests or in the event of an unsuccessful case leading to an appeal.
  2. Outcome of the matter
    • We will try our best to get a favourable outcome on all matters using our legal/professional expertise, knowledge and experience in UK Immigration and Nationality Laws. However, success is not guaranteed, and outcome is dependent upon the merit of your case as determined by the Home Office.
    • If your case is not successful, you might be able to appeal. Unfortunately, it is not possible to appeal against every refusal. However, it might be possible to seek an administrative review. If an application is refused the immigration authorities will issue you with a refusal letter and we can review this together and advise you whether you can appeal against the decision and provide you with our assessment of the merits of an appeal. If you decide to pursue an appeal, we will treat this as an additional service under the terms of the existing agreement between us and advice you of the cost of the additional services we will be required to provide to you.
  3. Complaints
    • We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you however have any concerns regarding the conduct of your case, please raise them with us in writing. Please let us know if you would like to receive full details of our complaints procedure and we shall make them available to you.
    • If we are unable to resolve the matter to your satisfaction or you wish to pursue your complaint through other channels, please note that you are entitled to make your complaint directly to the OISC, who regulate immigration advice and services within the UK, by completing the OISC complaint’s form. This form is available on the OISC website (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-immigration-services-commissioner). You can also contact the OISC at the following address: The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, 5th Floor, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3HF. Telephone: 0345 000 0046.
  4. Confidentiality
    • We are under the duty to keep your affairs confidential to our firm and to ensure that our staffs do the same. If we are to release any confidential information which is unauthorised then this can lead to disciplinary action against us.
    • The duty of confidentiality applies to information about your affairs and general information. We will only disclose such information having discussed the matter with you, having obtained your consent to disclose information or where we are under a professional or legal obligation to do so.
  5. Professional Ethics & Conducts
    • The Client agrees that any information or documentation provided to us shall be true and accurate and if any claims made by the client are inaccurate or cannot be substantiated by relevant documentation deemed acceptable to us then we will provide options to the client on how to proceed pursuant to these terms of business.
    • The client hereby indemnifies us for any loss or damage we may suffer directly or indirectly as a result of the client’s breach of this agreement based on the quality or information contained in the document provided to us by the client, such loss or damage including but not limited to the legal costs of defending any civil claim or criminal penalty against us arising from the client’s breach hereof.
    • Please note that as a regulated Immigration firm, we are obliged to discontinue a case if we become aware that the applicant intends to submit documents that are not genuine except, they decide otherwise.
  6. Exclusion of Liability
    • We shall have no legal responsibility to you for any unforeseeable loss, damage or expense incurred by you as a result of the outcome of any applications or cases submitted on your behalf. Losses are foreseeable where they could be contemplated by you and us at the start of this agreement, we may advise on how to avoid or minimise such losses but we shall have no legal responsibility arising from the client’s actions, inactions or decisions.
    • In any event our liability shall be limited to the amount of the fees received from the client in respect of any individual application from which such liability may arise.
    • We shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever that the Client may suffer as a result of us being unable to fulfil any of our obligations herein due to the occurrence of an event of force majeure, which term shall include but is not limited to legislative and regulatory acts of government, armed conflict, civil insurrection, strike, lockout, computer failure, failure of power supplies, earthquake, typhoon, tidal wave, and Acts of God.
    • Nothing in these terms and conditions of service shall exclude or restrict any liability arising from fraud or dishonesty or other liabilities that cannot lawfully be excluded or limited.
  7. Changing or ending these terms and conditions
    • We can change or replace any of these terms and conditions by giving you not less than 7 days’ notice. However, if you do not agree to the change, you may end the agreement by giving us not less than 14 days’ notice.
    • You can end this agreement by giving us at least 14 days’ written notice at any time
    • We can end this agreement by giving you at least 14 days’ notice
    • If these agreement ends before the conclusion of the service request, it will not affect our obligations to you or your obligations to us that arose before it ended. You will however remain liable for payment as in clause 6.4 above.
    • In all cases this agreement shall end once we have completed all the services listed on the service request form for the level/type of service chosen by the client. Additional request for services or professional advice if required may be subject to a separate charge.
  8. Rights of people or organisations who are not part of this agreement
    • Nothing in this agreement benefits or is meant to benefit anyone not named on the letter of engagement or service request form other than you, your direct dependants or us.
  9. Whole agreement
    • To protect your rights please read these terms and conditions carefully before signing the engagement letter, as we intend to rely on the written terms set out in this agreement. If you are uncertain about any of the terms listed under this agreement, please ask us for clarity and we will endeavour to provide you with an explanation where possible, alternatively you may wish to seek independent legal advice first.
    • The unenforceability of any part hereof shall not affect the enforceability of the balance hereof.
  10. Inspection of file & Quality standards
    • The Office of The Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) may need to access your file whilst checking our competence or during an audit process for quality standards. Please note that the OISC does not require permission to inspect our clients’ files. Please be assured that the OISC will maintain your confidentiality at all times during such process.
  11. Your file & Document custody
    • We are required by the OISC to keep copies of your fully completed application form, relevant supporting documents and records of our communications (letters, emails, notes from meetings, instructions, advice etc.) with you in your client file with us.
    • If you have any objections to us keeping copies of your vital documents, please note that you will need to issue us a signed letter stating the reasons for your objections and we will keep this in our files for record and audit purposes.
    • After your case is closed, we will undertake to retain your file for at least six years in line with the Commissioners’ Code of Standards. Please note that unless you make arrangements to collect your file from us thereafter the file may be destroyed without further reference to you.
  12. Transfer of file
    • If you wish to instruct other firms to act on your behalf, we will transfer your file to an adviser or firm of your choice as soon as we receive your instructions.
    • Please note however that should you wish to withdraw your instructions part way through your immigration case you will still be liable to pay the charges for all work we have undertaken on your behalf as in clause 6.4 above.
    • We may take legal action through the country’s courts to recover our fees should you refuse to pay.
  13. Equality & Diversity
    • We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
  14. Free help & assistance
    • Please be aware that firms such as Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to provide you with assistance in immigration matters free of charge.
    • If you are a low-income earner or if you are receiving welfare benefits you may qualify for legal aid under the Community Legal Services Scheme to assist you with your case.
    • Please note that Cornerstone Advisory Services does not represent clients under the Legal aid scheme and if you prefer to be represented by the Community Legal Services Adviser, please let us know and we will provide you with further details on where you can get possible alternative representation.
  15. Engaging Experts
    • We 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.
    • It is also our company policy not to engage the services of the client’s family members or friends in order to avoid a conflict of interest in providing a professional service.
  16. Insurance cover
    • We always maintain a valid Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  17. Applicable Law
    • Relevant UK laws shall apply to this agreement