A highly experienced immigration solicitor has joined Williamsons Solicitors in Hull marking the creation of a new department for the leading private client firm.
Frances Ledbury works for individuals and businesses in a full range of immigration issues and also has a speciality in applications for declarations of presumed death.
She said that Brexit could lead to a raft of new enquiries, with the rights of EU nationals depending on the outcomes of the negotiations between the UK and EU.
Previously working at other law firms and most recently for Citizens Advice, she said that while many tend to think of immigration in terms of asylum, the regional picture is much more varied, with very few people seeking asylum in Hull following the surge in the 1990s.
“I help bring families together, where perhaps one is working in the UK and their spouse and children want to join them. There is a lot of immigration work around employment, particularly in the NHS and broader healthcare sector.
“The Home Office can be very cruel and often interpret policy entirely incorrectly. Windrush is a good example of this, but similar mistakes happen frequently and don’t get challenged by the vulnerable people it affects.
“It’s my job to fight the client’s corner during what can be an utterly bewildering, traumatic and drawn-out process. The ultimate aim for many is to be granted citizenship and I get to know my clients over a number of years during this journey. When we reach our goal, it is immensely satisfying.”
Frances has worked on a number of cases where declarations of presumed death are required due to there being no physical body. All have involved people who have gone missing abroad and are presumed dead due to the circumstances of their disappearance.
The declaration is essential in providing families with closure and access to probate.
Williamsons director Bill Waddington said : “Frances is a leader in her field with huge experience and adding immigration law to our services is a very exciting development for the firm.”
Frances finished her legal training in 2004 and initially set up her own immigration advice business, providing services to the University of Hull’s students, before going on to work for law firms in the city. She lives in Brough, near Hull with her three children and partner.