Category Archives: Individual Services

Immigration Bail Application

Immigration bail is an application to a court for release, usually under certain conditions. When a detainee makes an application for immigration bail they are brought to an immigration court (the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal) where an independent Immigration Judge makes a decision on whether detention should be maintained. The case may be presented by a legal representative and will generally be opposed by a Home Office Presenting Officer.

Immigration bail guidance

You can apply for immigration bail if the Home Office is holding you on immigration matters. This means you might be released from detention but you’ll have to obey at least one condition.

Conditions of your immigration bail

If you’re granted immigration bail, there will be at least one condition you have to obey.

You might have to:                                          

  • report regularly to an immigration official
  • attend an appointment or hearing
  • be restricted on where you can live
  • have an electronic monitoring tag
  • have restrictions on the work or studies you can do
  • obey any other condition decided by the person granting your bail

You or your financial condition supporter might have to promise to pay money if you break one of the other conditions of your bail. This is called a ‘financial condition’.

These conditions can be changed after you’re granted immigration bail.

If you do not follow the terms of your immigration bail you might:

  • have your immigration bail conditions changed so that there are tighter restrictions
  • be charged with a crime
  • have to pay the money agreed at the hearing – or your Financial Condition Supporter might have to pay
  • be returned to detention


Can I apply for immigration bail?

You can apply whether you’re held in an immigration removal centre, a detention centre or a prison. You must be held on immigration matters.

When you’re more likely to get immigration bail

You’re more likely to get immigration bail if you have a place to stay.

Your immigration bail application is also more likely to succeed if you have at least one ‘Financial Condition Supporter’. This is a person who:

  • will pay money if you don’t follow the conditions of your bail
  • can attend your bail hearing

Give information about where you’ll stay and your Financial Condition Supporters in the application form.

Immigration bail application refusal

You may find it harder to get immigration bail if you:

  • have broken bail conditions in the past
  • have a criminal record, and there’s a risk you might offend

If you were refused bail in the last 28 days, you won’t get another hearing unless your situation has changed significantly. If you are refused bail, you’ll get a written statement telling you why.


Contact Expert Immigration Solicitors

As Immigration bail solicitors based in the easily accessible area of Colchester, Chelmsford and London, we can assist in making an immigration bail application and represent the detainee in the immigration court.

For more information, please contact us at 01206500181 or send us an email-




Immigration detention

We specialise in helping those who are held unlawfully, or whose rights are abused in custody.

What is immigration detention?

Immigration detention is the practice of holding people who are subject to immigration control in custody, while they wait for permission to enter or before they are deported or removed from the country. It is an administrative process, not a criminal procedure. This means that migrants and undocumented people are detained at the decision of an immigration official, not a court or a judge. Unlike most other European countries, there is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK.

UK Immigration Detention policy

Immigration detention in the United Kingdom is the policy of the United Kingdom government in holding individuals suspected of visa violations, illegal entry or unauthorised arrival, and those subject to deportation and removal in detention until a decision is made by immigration authorities to grant a visa and release them into the community, or to repatriate them to their country of departure.

Overview of Immigration Detention matters

Home Office policy says that immigration detention must be used sparingly and for the shortest possible period. In our experience, immigration detention is the norm rather than the exception: many thousands are held each year, and some for very lengthy periods, causing serious mental distress.

Who is detained?

Numbers of people are held under Immigration Act powers every year, for a range of reasons. Some are asylums seekers who have had their claim refused. Others are asylum seekers who have a claim in the process and are being held while that decision is made (under what is known as the Detained Fast Track). Some will have overstayed or breached the terms of their visas or will be foreign nationals who have completed a prison sentence and are to be deported. Some will newly arrive in the UK; others will have lived lawfully here for many years. These categories are fluid and can overlap, for example, a foreign national may claim asylum from prison.  The single most common category of immigration detainee is the asylum seeker. Around 50% will have claimed asylum at some point.

Immigration Detention statistics

  • Around 30,000 people are held under Immigration Act powers every year.
  • In 2017, 27,331 people entered immigration detention.
  • In 2017, 42 children entered detention, despite the government’s claim to have abolished child detention in 2011.
  • At the end of 2017, there were 2,545 people in detention. The top five nationalities were Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nigerian and Polish.

Whatever the circumstances, being held in prison-like conditions without a time limit causes anxiety and distress. Many detainees already have traumatic backgrounds, and the psychological impact of being held is absolutely damaging.

Our work includes:

  • Advice on the legality of immigration detention for individuals across the range of immigration status including Foreign National Prisoners, failed asylum seekers, citizens of EU member states, those on work permits or other forms of temporary leave.
  • Claims for damages for unlawful immigration detention in respect of an entire period of detention or for those detained unlawfully at the end of a prison sentence or lawful period of detention.
  • Public law challenges the legality of immigration detention.
  • Claims for damages and public law challenges to conditions of immigration detention including the Human Rights Act 1998 claims engaging Article 3 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for inhuman or degrading treatment.
  • Claims for damages or public law challenges in respect to the immigration detention of vulnerable groups, including torture victims, children, elderly or pregnant persons, those with serious medical conditions or disabilities.
  • Claims for assault on removal or in immigration detention.
  • Advice and representation after deaths in immigration custody.

Our clients have brought claims against the UK government, privately run immigration detention centres and private escort and removal companies.

For more information, please contact us on 01206500181 or send us an email-


Cohabitation Agreements

In our modern society, more and more couples are living together before marriage or choose not to get married at all.

Unfortunately, cohabiting couples are not afforded the same or even similar legal protection as married couples and it’s therefore important to plan for any future bumps in the road.

Cohabitation agreements can assist couples in amicably deciding how property should be divided if the relationship breaks down.

What is a Cohabitation agreement?

The cohabitation agreement is a form of legal agreement reached between couples who have chosen to live together. In some ways, such a couple may be treated like a married couple, such as when applying for a mortgage or working out child support. However, in some other areas, such as property rights, pensions and inheritance, they are treated differently.

Why a cohabitation agreement is essential for non-married couples?

Unmarried couples have no legal rights if they separate – so without an agreement, one of them could be left with nothing.

The unfortunate truth is that relationships can go wrong. In the event of separation, unmarried couples have very little legal protection.  Cohabitation agreements set out what should happen in the event of separation.  In this way, they can help to significantly reduce the costs of dealing with separation in terms of time, stress and money during what can be a difficult time.


Content of cohabitation agreement

A cohabitation agreement can consist of the following (but its total couple’s decision which of these, and other, matters that they would like to cover)

  • Who owns your home, the shares in which you own it and the amount that you each contributed;
  • who will pay bills such as the mortgage, utilities, house maintenance and renovation work, food and general living costs and the effect, if any, such payments will have on ownership of the property;
  • If there are any endowment policies or other savings or investments, who is going to pay for those and how they will distribute on separation;
  • Who is going to pay for any life insurance policies and how these are going to distribute on separation;
  • if there is a joint bank account, how much will you each contribute to it and what will happen to it on separation;
  • Whether you will nominate each other for death in service benefits for your pensions, if any;
  • If you wish to make preparations to cover death than these should be confirmed through a will;
  • You can deal with personal belongings by establishing out who owns which particular item and who will pay and own future items
  • If either of you has received or expect to get gifts or inheritances, the agreement can refer to those and make preparations as to their future ownership;
  • If parents lend money to assist with a house purchase, who will be responsible for repaying the loan.

Contact us for legal advice regarding Cohabitation Agreements

If you would like advice or assistance in relation to cohabitation agreements contact one of our solicitors on 01206 500181


Consent Order

Separation is not easy for anyone, and sometimes the mention of the word court can cause tension and anxiety, and may pointlessly intensify the situation further.The very first thing one needs to understand is that the divorce simply deals with the ending of the marriage and it does not cover finances or your parenting arrangements.  That’s why consent order is essential.

What is a consent order?

A consent order is an order made during in divorce proceedings, where both parties have agreed their financial settlement and consent to an order being made without the need for a court hearing. The order can also include details on spousal and/or child maintenance arrangements, which enables the family court to enforce these if the maintenance is not paid.

Is Consent Order legally binding?

A consent order is a legal document that has to be drafted by an experienced legal professional to become legally binding. You need to get a solicitor to draft a ‘consent order’ and ask a court to approve it – this makes it legally binding. The order becomes legally binding when the Decree Absolute has been granted in the divorce proceedings.

A consent order is a legal document that confirms your agreement. It explains how you’re going to divide up assets like:

  • money
  • property
  • savings
  • investments

It can also include arrangements for maintenance payments, including child maintenance.

Consent Order court approval

There’s usually no court hearing. A judge will approve your consent order to make it legally binding if they think it’s fair.

If they do not think its fair, they can:

  • change your consent order
  • make a new court order to tell you how to divide your money and property

Why should I get a consent order?

It is always sensible to draw a line in the sand when it comes to splitting your financial matters in a divorce. If no order has been made then, unless they have remarried, either party can go to the court and make a financial claim against the other, even years after the divorce took place.

And if one party does not keep to the terms of the settlement the other party will need to ask the court to take steps to enforce the settlement, but the court can only take enforcement action if the settlement has been incorporated into a court order.

Contact Us for Legal Advice regarding the Consent Order


Consent Orders are such binding documents and so difficult to revise, it is crucial that each party receives proper advice before agreeing to terms of the settlement, and then the document is professionally drafted to certify all the necessary terms are included in suitable terms.

There are specific rules as to how a consent order should be drafted and what can and cannot be included in one and we can advise you in this regard.

To discuss your options in relation to obtaining a consent order please contact our solicitors on 01206 500181.

Dissolution of Civil Partnerships

To obtain a Civil Partnership dissolution, you must have been in a registered Civil Partnership for at least 12 months. The law around Civil Partnership Dissolution is actually very similar to that relating to divorce – if you are looking at ending a civil partnership, or would like more information on how to dissolve a civil partnership, we can help, just give one of our solicitors a call on 01206 500181

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements can create certainty for those contemplating marriage and can be a means of protecting assets owned before the marriage, inheritance, and existing family commitments such as children from a previous relationship or marriage.

A prenuptial agreement is a formal document in which a couple set out their rights and intentions in relation to any property, income, savings, debts and other assets either purchased together or acquired individually.

Once individuals get married these assets become matrimonial assets and, unless specifically protected, are thrown into a single financial pot. The primary purpose of a prenuptial agreement will often be to limit the potential claims on the wealth and assets of one of the parties to the marriage.

If you would like advice or assistance in relation to prenuptial agreements give one of our solicitors a call on 01206 500181

Frequently asked Questions

How long do I have to be married before I can start a divorce?

ANS – You have to be married for at least one year before divorce can be commenced.

Do I have to divorce in the country where the marriage took place?

ANS – No. You are able to divorce in the UK as long as you or your spouse have been resident here for at least one year before starting your case, or you and your spouse are domiciled in the UK.

If my spouse and I have been separated for two years, are we automatically divorced?

ANS – No.The same procedure has to be followed before divorce is finalised

What paperwork do I need to start a divorce?

ANS – A divorce petition
– Original Marriage Certificate, with translation if appropriate
– A fee

How long does it take to divorce?

ANS – An ‘agreed divorce’ takes about 5-6 months to finalise

What happens if I cannot find my spouse?

ANS – You are still able to divorce by showing the court that you have made attempts to locate them. The facts of 2 years’ separation with consent or adultery should not be relied upon in this instance.

I am in a same sex relationship – do my rights differ?

ANS –  No, as long as you entered into and registered your civil partnership or are married to each other.

What is the cost?

ANS – Agreed divorces are at a fixed fee of £750 plus VAT, and the required court fee.

For more complicated divorces, fixed fees can be offered after discussion during our initial consultation.

Divorce and Separation

One of the main challenges you may face is, getting your partner to agree upon getting a divorce and the reasons stated. At HS Legal we follow the protocol as cited by Resolution to ensure that agreement is reached at the outset where possible to avoid escalated costs, delay and stress. We are here to advise and support you throughout the process of filing for divorce.

Difference between separation and divorce

The main difference between getting a separation and getting a divorce is that divorce ends the marriage. Spouses return to an unmarried status and are thus are allowed to remarry. The separation lets couples keep their married status while acknowledging that they are no longer living together.

The Grounds for getting a Divorce

There is only ground for getting a divorce in the UK which is that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

When you are filing for divorce there are five potential reasons on which you can rely:

  1. a)Adultery –  you will need to have proof that your spouse/civil partner has committed adultery or ensure that they will agree to a divorce based on this reason. The place of adultery and the date when it was committed, or when you became aware of the same, will need to be included when detailing this fact on the divorce petition.
  2. b) Unreasonable behaviour – If you have been subject to unreasonable behaviour which includes acts of violence, emotional abuse or lack of support, this can be presented as a strong reason for divorce. A petition based on this reason does not need to be very detailed. However, you must be able to recall and share details of a minimum of four incidents, which you deem to be acts of unreasonable behaviour.
  3. c) Two years’ desertion – you will need to state that your spouse/civil partner left you without your consent for a period of two years and you have no knowledge of their whereabouts.
  4. d) Two years’ separation with consent – If you have consented to live apart socially, sexually and domestically for a period of two years immediately before the presentation of the divorce petition you can file for divorce of grounds of consensual separation. There are many forms of separation e.g. you can still be living in the same house and be separated. In all cases, you must be able to confirm the date of separation and ensure both parties consent.
  5. e) Five years’ separation – If you have been living apart socially, sexually and domestically for a period of five years immediately before a presentation of the divorce petition you can file for divorce. The other party’s consent is not essential in this case.

For more extensive advice and information please email or call us to book an initial consultation.

Agreed Divorce

We offer a fixed fee for an agreed divorce of £750 plus vat and court fees of £550

Amicable divorce and separation cases take approximately 4-5 months to resolve. If your case involves children or financial concerns, it can sometimes take longer. We recommend discussing your case at our no-obligation initial consultation where we can advise you on timescales and costs.

For more extensive advice and information about getting a divorce please email or call us to book an initial consultation.

Contested Divorce

If one party is not agreeable to a divorce then matters can become complicated. A set procedure will need to be followed within certain time limits and the content of the petition defended. Defending a petition is costly and stressful and unlikely to be successful as one party who wishes to end a relationship cannot be forced to remain married. Therefore, a defending party will usually be advised to allow the divorce to proceed, and perhaps negotiate some changes to the reason cited within the petition if this is in their benefit.

If you fear that your spouse/civil partner will defend a divorce, do seek advice and your fears can be allayed.

For more extensive advice and information for filing for divorce please email or call us to book an initial consultation.


Divorce can be started in England if both parties are residents, or if the respondent is living in England for at least one year before the date of the petition, or the petitioner and the respondent are domiciled in England. It may be the case that one party wishes to start as soon as possible to ensure that England is the country that will deal with any ancillary financial issues. The country in which a petition has been filed first will decide any money and/or property issues between the parties.

International Divorce

If you are living abroad, but still have ties to the UK, or if your spouse is living in the UK, we can assist you with your filing for divorce process and any ancillary issues such as finances and child arrangements.


For more extensive advice and information about getting a divorce please contact us to book an initial consultation.

Sexual Offences

Sexual offences are, understandably, a particularly sensitive and complex area of law. Allegations of sexual misconduct can be difficult to defend because of the public attention they attract. The nature of the crimes also means that it is often the complainant’s word against the defendant’s. Further, the impact of an allegation of a sexual offence can be devastating for all those involved and their families. As such, it’s important to contact solicitors who are experienced in defending such claims.

If you would like some further advice in this area please call or email us to book an initial consultation.


Cybercrime & Online Offences


The law surrounding the use of technology and conducting criminal activity has undergone a great deal of development in previous years and is developing into a sophisticated body of rules and regulations. It is broadly reflective of the new and innovative ways that computers are being used to commit crimes that, historically, would have been more difficult to commit.

Here we provide an overview of what cybercrime in the UK is: what it means to commit cybercrime, how it is regulated and what the current state of the law is.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is deemed to be any kind of criminal activity that can be committed through the use of a computer. As a result, there are lots of different kinds of cybercrime, including fraud, hacking, harassment, espionage and sexual offences.

How is cybercrime regulated in the UK?

Cybercrime is not limited by borders and regularly involves international agencies. In the UK, the main regulator of cybercrime is the National Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency. It is the role of this government agency to police, investigate and prosecute instances of cybercrime that occur in the UK.

What is the law regarding cybercrime?

In terms of any law regarding cybercrime, the most important piece of legislation is the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. This introduced a number of new offences:

1. Unauthorised access to computer material

This is the lowest level offence under the Act and one that many people who would not normally consider their actions to be criminal in nature, fall foul of.

If you have ever accessed someone else’s computer system, either by accident or intentionally, you will technically have committed this offence. It is not necessary for you to have altered someone else’s information, e.g. deleted their files. The fact of the matter is that you accessed someone else’s computer without their permission, thereby committing the offence.

2. Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate a crime

This is the next level offence under the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. The distinctive feature of this offence is that you must have accessed someone else’s computer on purpose in order to commit a crime.

This kind of crime would include instances where someone hacks into a bank account with a view to committing fraud. Alternatively, it would likely cover an individual gaining access to confidential information regarding a company and its business relationships with suppliers.

3. Unauthorised modification of computer material

Deleting information with the express purpose of causing damage to someone, either an organisation or an individual, attract criminal liability.

This offence is designed to cover instances where someone knowingly unleashes a virus onto someone else’s computer, damaging or corrupting the information that it comes into contact with.

4. Making, supplying or obtaining information which can be used in computer misuse offences

This offence is quite broad and means that anyone that is caught in any stage of the process of aiding in the commission of cybercrime will be liable as having committed an offence.

This offence is designed to catch individuals or organisations that are involved in the creation or collation of dangerous programmes i.e. viruses (spyware etc.) that are to be released onto a computer or computer network.

What kind of penalties are there for Cybercrimes?

The penalties for engaging in cybercrime vary, depending on their severity. The lowest offence under the Misuse of the Computers Act carries a penalty of a maximum of six months imprisonment alongside the imposition of a fine. All other offences can attract up to five years imprisonment and a significant, or in some circumstances, unlimited fine.

Are there any other areas to be aware of?

Technology has created a variety of opportunities for individuals to engage in criminal conduct. As a result, there are a number of pieces of legislation that have been created to cover specific instances of criminal activity. One kind of cybercrime where there has been increased regulation of technology is in relation to pornographic images.

Accessing pornographic or indecent images online

Accessing indecent images online is a very delicate area of criminal law, and as a result, is dealt with under a completely different pieces of legislation, including the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, the Protection of Children Act 1978, the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and, in more serious cases, the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Under the 2008 Act, it is illegal to be in possession of any material – photographs, films and particularly computer data on a hard drive –that is of an extreme pornographic nature. Individuals are also increasingly being targeted by criminal law agencies for accessing child abuse images online. Offences include: making, distributing, showing or advertising any indecent photo of a child under the Protection of Children Act 1978; possessing an indecent photo of a child under the Criminal Justice Act 1988; and, possessing a prohibited image, such as drawings or cartoons, of a child under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

While it may not be considered to be part of traditional computer crime, the possession of extreme pornographic imagery or indecent images is very much a major feature of anti-cybercrime legislation and is taken very seriously by regulatory authorities and the police. If you have been, or believe you may be, investigated by the police in relation to accessing illegal images online it is vital you get legal advice as soon as possible.

Cybercrime Legal Advice & Criminal Defence

Cybercrime law is arguably the most progressive and most complex area of the law to understand. Owing to the rapid development of technology, this area of the law is under constant review and changes regularly. It is incredibly important that if you are affected by cybercrime in any way, you seek the advice of specialist lawyers who have experience of dealing with the rules and regulations in the field.

Here at HS Legal Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of expert cybercrime lawyers. We have many years of experience in advising clients who have become involved in cybercrime investigations and are regularly instructed to represent. We will work in partnership with you to ensure that you are advised on how you may be affected by the law in this field, and answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us, we are here to help.