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Immigration: asylum and human rights

Garden Court’s Immigration Team continues to be the premier collection of immigration practitioners at the Bar. We remain the only set ranked in Band 1 of the Chambers UK Bar Guide, with 25 individual barristers ranked for their immigration expertise.

The team is involved in the leading cases in the Senior Courts, in influencing and lobbying governments on law and policy, in media commentary, and in consultancy work internationally. The team writes, edits, or co-authors all the authoritative texts on immigration, asylum and nationality law. We are committed to representing vulnerable clients. 

What others say

“The foremost set leading the way at the London Immigration Bar, Garden Court Chambers houses an unsurpassable team of advocates who handle the full gamut of immigration matters. Its practitioners, from top-quality juniors to renowned QCs, appear in the highest courts acting on behalf of vulnerable clients and high net-worth private individuals alike. Many of them have recently been leading the way on policy and casework to relieve the refugee crisis in Calais and across Europe.”
Chambers UK Bar Guide

Areas of expertise

The team covers all aspects of immigration work including:

  • Asylum and international protection
  • Family and children immigration
  • National security, terrorism and international armed conflicts
  • Human rights
  • EU free movement
  • Commercial and business immigration (including the Points Based System)
  • Sponsor licences for businesses and colleges
  • British nationality
  • Trafficking
  • Deportation
  • Third country removals
  • Foreign criminal matters
  • Immigration detention
  • Migrant welfare
  • Private immigration work, acting for individuals from the highest echelons of international politics, business and sport

The team represents clients at all levels from the First-tier Tribunal, to the Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Team members regularly act in the most sensitive and controversial cases, often in the national security context before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).

The team provides strategic advice in other countries, working in partnership with local lawyers, and on applications from other countries to international tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights. Members of the team also engage in international policy work through a variety of institutions including UNHCR and the Council of Europe.

Domestically, outside of their formal practice, members work with NGOs and community organisations on policy work. These include ILPA, ATLeP, JCWI, Liberty, Amnesty International, and the Trafficking Law and Policy Forum.

Notable cases

“A child is foremost a child before he or she is a refugee”
Court of Appeal provides new guidance to tribunals to ensure children and vulnerable persons have their voices heard in asylum proceedings.
AM (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Lord Chancellor [2017] EWCA Civ 1123

Significant victory for families separated by the ‘minimum income requirement’ immigration rules
This Supreme Court judgement gives significant hope to couples and families unable to show earnings above £18,600 or unable to evidence it in the manner required by the July 2012 Immigration Rules. Covered by The Guardian.
MM (Lebanon) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] UKSC 10

Supreme Court rules ‘Deport first, Appeal later’ system is unlawful
Landmark judgment which emphasised the importance of the right to an effective appeal. Arguably, it means that all previous removals under this ‘deport first, appeal later’ power were similarly unfair. Covered by the BBC and The Guardian.
R (Kiarie; Byndloss) v SSHD [2017] UKSC 42

Failure of Secretary of State to have due regard to equality duties in considering asylum claims in detention
Test case challenging the lawfulness of the Home Office’s new procedure for deciding claims for asylum by people in immigration detention – the “Detained Asylum Casework” system. High Court ruled that the SSHD had breached the duty in the Equality Act to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination when implementing her policy. Covered by the Free Movement blog and the Electronic Immigration Network.
Hossain and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1331 (Admin)

Test case representing 35 vulnerable child asylum seekers from Calais camp
Test case regarding 35 child asylum seekers pursuing legal action against the Government. The children were refused entry to the UK and are seeking written decisions and reasons for the determination that it was not in their ‘best interests’ to be relocated to the UK. More information  via The Guardian, the Evening Standard, The Telegraph and The Independent.
ZS v Secretary of State for the Home Department

SIAC test case defeating Home Secretary’s use of closed material in citizenship refusal cases
A test case for approximately 60 cases that were waiting to be heard in SIAC, after being transferred from the High Court. The High Court found in our favour by ruling that the Home Secretary was not entitled to defend the refusal of citizenship using closed material without disclosing the underlying material which founded the decision.
Secretary of State for the Home Department v Special Immigration Appeals Commission,  and AHK and 5 Others [2015] EWHC 681 (Admin) High Court

Successful judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to detain pregnant women
Public interest challenge brought against the SSHD’s policy and practice of detaining pregnant women under immigration powers. The Home Office conceded the case, agreed to review its policy on pregnant women in detention, issue a new Detention Service Order and pay PA compensation for unlawful detention. Covered by The Guardian.
PA v Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD)

Suspension of detained fast-track system
Successful challenge to the legality of the Detained Fast Track Asylum system leading to its suspension and the Home Secretary admitting the existing process was unfair and breached the Equality Act 2010 and the UK’s trafficking obligations. Covered by the BBC and The Guardian. R(JM and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (PU and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2014-2015)

Landmark Supreme Court judgment on obligations owed to trafficked workers
Test case on the obligations under domestic and international law owed to trafficked workers from overseas. A team of Garden Court barristers were instructed to represent Anti-Slavery International. The Supreme Court ruled that victims of trafficking are entitled to compensation for mistreatment even if their entry into the UK was illegal. Covered in The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph.
Hounga v Allen [2014] UKSC 47

Details about more of our high-profile immigration and asylum cases can be found on the news pages of our website.


We have authored or contributed to all of the authoritative texts on immigration law including:

  • Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (Butterworths LexisNexis, 9th edition 2015)
  • Immigration Appeals and Remedies Handbook (Bloomsbury, 2015)
  • Immigration Practice and Procedure in Family Proceedings (Jordans, 2013)
  • Fransman’s British Nationality Law (Bloomsbury Professional, 3rd edition 2011)
  • JCWI Guide to the Points-Based System (JCWI, 2011)
  • Halsbury’s Laws of England (Butterworths 5th ed, vol. 4 2011) British Nationality
  • Asylum Law and Practice (Bloomsbury, 2nd edition 2010)
  • Blackstone’s Guide to the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Support for Asylum Seekers and other Migrants (Legal Action Group, 2009)
  • HJT and ILPA’s Home Office Policy Manual (HJT, 2009)
  • Blackstone’s Guide to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Jackson and Warr’s Immigration Law and Practice (Tottel, 4th edition 2008)