Jessica Smeaton - Immigration, Asylum & Nationality
Jessica’s immigration practice ranges from tribunal hearings to judicial review claims for clients in both immigration and asylum cases. She undertakes work on a private and publicly-funded basis. Her expertise covers representation in court, the drafting of urgent grounds of appeal and renewed applications before the High Court. She advises businesses on day-to-day immigration issues, including applying for and maintaining sponsor licences and navigating the Resident Labour Market Test. She has considerable experience in working with vulnerable clients through her pro bono work with victims of trafficking.
Prior to joining the Bar Jessica worked in the pro bono department at Hogan Lovells LLP, advising and representing clients in a range of immigration-related matters. She managed the Hogan Lovells human trafficking work, providing legal support and representation to victims of human trafficking alongside charities such as Kalayaan and the Poppy Project. Jessica also managed the Body and Soul Legal Clinic together with solicitors from Wilson Solicitors, providing immigration advice to individuals and families affected by HIV. Jessica continues to undertake pro bono work in these areas.
Jessica holds a European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice and Montpellier, where her research specialised in the rights of refugees in France and the UK.
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
Bar Human Rights Committee
R (on the application of Byndloss and Kiarie)  UKSC 42: led by Manjit Gill QC in an appeal challenging the controversial ‘deport first appeal later’ provisions. Supreme Court ruled system unlawful, holding that the public interest in the removal of an appellant in advance of his appeal is outweighed by the public interest that a right of appeal should be effective
LC (Albania) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 351: led by S Chelvan in an appeal challenging the lawfulness of the discretion test laid down in HJ (Iran) in LGBTI asylum claims and the Home Office’s continued reliance on a country guidance case which had been set aside five years earlier
R (on the application of Sharfi) v SSHD : judicial review challenging a refusal of further leave to remain as a tier 1 entrepreneur on the basis of deficiencies in the evidence that the Home Office were aware of, and did not act on, four years earlier when entry clearance was granted. Awaiting judgment from the Upper Tribunal
AA (Iraq) v SSHD (2017): led by Danny Bazini in an appeal against the Upper Tribunal’s country guidance decision in AA (article 15(c)) CG. Appeal challenges the tribunal’s approach to the possession of a Iraq CSID card. Awaiting judgment from the Court of Appeal
R (on the application of BK (Sri Lanka)) v SSHD: led by S Chelvan in an appeal against refusal of permission to apply for judicial review. Appeal will consider the lawfulness of decisions made under the 2005 Fast-tract Procedure Rules. Awaiting hearing in the Court of Appeal. Warned 5/6 December 2017.
R (on the application of Apata) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 802: led by S Chelvan in an appeal challenging the dismissal of a judicial review challenge in a case concerning risk on return due to actual or perceived sexual identity
SM (Algeria) v ECO  EWCA Civ 1109: led by Ramby de Mello in an appeal concerning the rights of an Algerian child adopted under Algerian law to entry clearance in the UK under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. Awaiting judgment from the Supreme Court
MA (Eritrea) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 1608: appealed unled on an appeal regarding risk to non-credible Eritreans
R (on the application of Kumar)  EWHC 652: judicial review challenging the failure of immigration offers to follow proper procedures during enforcement visits
A v SSHD (UT): human rights appeal based on the ill-health of an elderly man
N v SSHD (UT): asylum appeal concerning disputed Eritrean/Ethiopian nationality and risk on return due to involvement with the OLF
C v SSHD (FTT): appeal concerning the risk of persecution to epileptics in Antigua who are considered to be possessed by demons
SK v SSHD (UT): appeal concerning the interpretation of the immigration rules, article 8 ECHR and the best interest of the child in a case concerning a very intelligent and able child who would have difficulties assimilating into a foreign education system due to the differences in standards between the UK and his home country
B Ltd (a company) v SSHD: county court appeal against the imposition of a civil penalty for employment individuals with no right to work in the UK
ST v SSHD (FTT): appeal concerning the proper interpretation of paragraph 322(3) of the immigration rules (discretionary ground of refusal) and the relevant factors to be taken into account when refusing an application under that rule