In our 60 second interview series, Citywealth speaks to Roger Gherson, principal solicitor at Gherson Solicitors about the importance of the independent judiciary and achieving the impossible.
Tell me about your role.
I’m the principal solicitor of Gherson Solicitors, established in 1988. I established and run a practice, Gherson Solicitors, which specialises in UK immigration (including Tier 1, Tier 2, Investor, Entrepreneur and spouse visas, EU residency and all other aspects of immigration law) nationality, asylum, extradition, human rights, sanctions, Unexplained Wealth Orders and white collar crime. In addition, I’m a partner in Discreet Law, a practice that offers General Counsel advice to clients.
How has the private client industry changed?
As we deal largely with foreign clients, we see first hand the results of the harsher regulatory environment and the institutionalised xenophobia demonstrated by governments on both sides of the political spectrum for short-term political gain. The consequences of these policies will cost the economy dearly by deterring wealthy foreigners from moving to the UK and investing here. The latest proposal is a foreigner’s tax on residential property. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has until recently left many EU citizens in the dark about their future immigration status in the UK. This now seems to have finally been settled but the lack of planning and strategy by this government has been unconscionable. The rapidly changing Immigration Rules are a nightmare and have been criticised by both the judiciary and the Law Commission.
What lessons have you learnt?
The justice system still works at a time when the political system appears to be under strain and losing all credibility. The integrity and independence of the judiciary in this topsy-turvy world of fake news and political spin doctors is more important than ever to provide some form of stability.
Tell us about interesting client instructions.
I’ve been fortunate to be instructed on a number of very interesting cases in the UK and abroad. These have all involved intriguing characters and stories. Sadly, many of the most interesting cases I have handled must remain confidential. The firm’s recent successes in the EU Court in defeating a number of sanctions imposed on individuals by the EU were particularly rewarding. I have also recently been instructed in the first Unexplained Wealth Order case, which has attracted a large amount of publicity.
What challenges do your clients face?
The pressures of moving to a new country, settling their children in schools and adjusting to life in a new and often unwelcoming environment remain. In addition, many of my clients face hostility from countries they have fled and the attendant pressures of attempting to resolve their status in the UK often whilst continuing to run major business operations.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?
Gaining the trust of my clients, living up to their high expectations and achieving the desired result, whatever it takes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Take nothing for granted and don’t accept the precept that ‘it can’t be done’. I work very closely with a top team of barristers and we have all collectively, over the years, dealt successfully with some very challenging matters. Some of the most satisfying cases are the cases that first seemed impossible.
What was the last book you’ve read?
The Battle of Bretton Woods: The book covers the famous 1941 conference at the Mount Washington Hotel. The negotiation changed the balance of power and the political landscape of the world and led to the liberalisation of the world’s financial system. It’s a fascinating account.
Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?
Sweden for pleasure over the December break. After London the countryside was a welcome respite with long walks and the occasional jog.
How do you relax after a long day?
The gym or a run. Dinner with whichever family member is around.