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September 2014

Visit by Staff from The Legal Department of the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation

AJO Solicitors were delighted and privileged to be one of three Law Firms in Liverpool to host a visit by Law Students from the Legal Department of the Chineses national Offshoe Oil Corporation (CNOOC) at the end of their three-month attendance at Liverpool John Moore’s University (LJMU).

They had attended classes there in order to improve their knowledge of the English Legal System and the English language.  The visits to the Law Firms were intended to give them further insight into the practical application of three areas of English Law.

AJO Solicitors were chosen for their expertise in Immigration and Asylum Law.

The presentation began with an introduction to the Staff and close Associates of the Firm.  The Principal, Adewuyi Joel Olorunfemi (known by all as "Femi"), then gave an account of his Life’s journey, from his birth in Nigeria, service in the Nigerian Merchant Navy, immigration to the UK as a Mariner, studying law before being called to the Bar and subsequently qualifying as a Solicitor, specialising in Immigration and Asylum Law for about eleven years in a large Firm in Liverpool and then setting up on his own some three years ago.

The group’s project manager, Dr Wang from LJMU, was particularly pleased to point out the message within Femi’s biography by contrasting his experience with what lay ahead for the young lawyers from CNOOC.  While not wanting to entice them away from there, he said that Femi’s story was an excellent example of what some of them might want to do some day, deviating from the trend in China of remaining securely within one large organisation, and branching out on their own.  He added that such an action would be beneficial for China as well as for the individuals concerned.

Femi also described how most of his new Clients come on the recommendation of his very satisfied Clients.  He explained that he always applies The Platinum Rule® by treating his Clients the way they prefer to be treated.  In other words, he adapts his approach to suit each individual which creates a more relaxed atmosphere and allows better communication.

To illustrate the work of the Firm, four actual cases involving different areas of Immigration Law were described.  Following an explanation of the particular category of Law involved, anonymous details were recounted, highlighting the additional challenges faced when dealing with Clients in this field.  For example, it took Femi four months to persuade one very impatient Client to collect sufficient documents to support his appeal against a previous refusal by the Home Office of his “Settlement-Entry Clearance” application.  Femi then had to placate an angry Accountant who eventually calmed down and provided the required documentation.

The other areas of law were "Family Reunion", where a ‘Refugee’ fleeing religious persecution successfully applied to have his family join him in the UK;  "Long Residence (Private Life)", where Femi successfully appealed in the High Court to have a Home Office decision overturned, allowing a student couple to re-apply for a variation of their ‘Leave to Remain; and, under the "Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, when Femi’s appeal in the Immigration Court again saw a Home Office decision overturned.  However, the Home Office were granted ‘Leave to Appeal’ against that decision so the case will not be settled until mid-September.

To add another dimension to this area of Law, other categories of entry to the UK were also explained, namely, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur, Tier 1 Investor, and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer.  The latter was particularly relevant for this audience as CNOOC owns Nexen Petroleum UK Limited which operates in the UK North Sea with offices in Aberdeen and Uxbridge.

Throughout the two-and-a-half hours, many of the Students asked very intelligent questions, some of which could only be briefly answered because of the sheer complexity of Immigration Law.  It would have taken all day to respond fully!  Dr Wang considerably enhanced the presentation by frequently relating what was being said to the particular experiences of the group.

After the Presentation, Femi and the group’s leader Mr Chang, exchanged gifts. Femi received a lovely hand-crafted tapestry representing a cloud. This gift is of special significance in Chinese Folklore and the number produced is strictly controlled.  Mr Chang was given a limited-edition painting of  Liverpool’s iconic “Three Graces”, as viewed from the river.

Many photographs were taken as souvenirs of a very pleasant and informative meeting.

“The Platinum Rule®” is a registered trade mark of Dr Tony Alessandra : used with permission.
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