S Chelvan International Human Rights Law
“[A] master of his subject. Very informative, humorous, personal, inspiring and very thought provoking.”
The Right Hon. Sir Terence Etherton, Chancellor of the High Court (London: 5th February 2013).
Known as ‘a tenacious battler who fights with vigour and commitment’ (Legal 500), Chelvan is praised as being ‘very impressive’ and ‘praised for his academic appreciation of the underpinnings of human rights law’ (Chambers UK 2013). His academic background stems from his Masters in Law at Harvard Law School, specialising in international human rights law, enabling the ability to view litigation through a human rights prism, in order to provide effective solutions to his clients. Chelvan has a domestic and international practice which is at the forefront of cutting edge litigation in the field. He provides advice, where the need arises, in the pre-application stage, to ensure that if litigation occurs then his clients start from a position of strength. His international work not only includes litigation, but also encompasses advisory work with practitioners, academics, the judiciary, the UN, NGOs, the European Parliament, the media and governments.
One of the UK’s foremost LGBTI rights activists, acting on behalf of those fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. “He has majorly contributed to the big change in the attitude of the tribunals to LGBTI cases” “He excels in High Court work, he is very passionate …”
(Chambers & Partners UK, 2016, Immigration, Band 2)
“Very intelligent, hard-working, and imaginative in his approach to cases” (2015) "He has great client skills, as well as court skills. He is a very eloquent speaker and is very watchable in court." "He has probably become the leading practitioner in the UK for political asylum claims on sexuality” (2014) “The "very impressive" S Chelvan of the same set is praised for his academic appreciation of the underpinnings of human rights law and his ground-breaking work on asylum claims based on gender or sexual identity” (2013, Immigration, Band 2). Chelvan’s "strong advocacy and dedication to clients." He is known as a doyen of immigration cases involving issues of sexual identity. (2012). [A]t the forefront of ground-breaking cases in the area. Sources say that he is “extremely committed” and “a particularly effective advocate.” (2011). Chelvan has “immense expertise” and, “the very welcome knack of putting vulnerable clients at ease.” (2010). “You can rely on him to work exceptionally hard and more importantly, highly effectively.” (2009). “Lawyers agree that he is “leading the way in relation to [sexual orientation and gender identity] claims in this area (2008). Chelvan is referred to as having an “expansive knowledge of the law” and being “an extremely principled man”, who “always demands and strives for the highest standards of fairness and goes that extra mile for the client” (2007).
“An unsurpassed reputation for work with LGBT clients” (2015)
'Committed to forwarding the rights of migrants.' (2014). S. Chelvan is a “ tenacious battler who fights with vigour and commitment” (2010). Chelvan “is renowned for his expertise in gender identity and sexual orientation cases” (2009/10). S. Chelvan’s (with others) record cases with a strong human rights element (2007/08), his “immigration experience” in successful “sexual and gender identity” claims (2008/09)
M.E. v SWEDEN, Application no. 71398/12 (European Court of Human Rights) (written comments dated 9 April 2013)
Instructed by FIDH (Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme), ICJ (International Commission of Jurists) and ILGA-Europe (European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association). Landmark case to address how all 47 Council of Europe member states will determine claims from lesbian and gay asylum seekers. Chelvan has been instructed by all 3 international NGOs over the last two years to identify a suitable case for intervention.
European Union Law
R (RH and DY) v SSHD (CO/12528/20112) (permission granted by HHJ Thornton QC on 18 April 2013).
Judicial review challenge to decision to transfer Eritrean Claimants to Belgium under Dublin II transfer regime, as the First Claimant was outside the territory for more than 3 months, prior to her re-entry (Article 16 (3) of the Regulations). The Second Claimant has never been to Belgium, and was born following departure. Belgium initially refused transfer request. The substantive hearing will also consider whether the current provisions are compliant with Article 13 of the ECHR and provide an effective remedy, in light of Court of Justice’s steps to accede to become a party to the Convention.
Penny Norma Davies v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (CSP 503/07) (Social Security Commissioners) (March 2008) - striking down of non-retrospective section of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 as being incompatible with the European Social Security Equal Treatment Directive (79/7/EEC) as it did not provide payment of pension for trans women who turned 60 prior to April 2005 - instructed by Herbert Smith LLP on a pro-bono basis through Law Works - legal teams short-listed for team award for Law Works Awards 2008 and ranked in the Standout category in Dispute Resolution for the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers 2008).
X v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police – Administrative Court
Challenge to disclosure of allegation of a historic assault on a vulnerable adult to a borough council investigating to whether to undertake a section 47 of the Children Act 1989 inquiry. Challenge to determine reasonableness and Article 8 ECHR proportionality exercise.
K - County Court proceedings
Using European Convention to provide basis for challenge of lack of effective police investigation of harassment on the basis of gender identity. Articles 8 (with 14) and 10 (with 14) of the ECHR pleaded to address expression of, in addition to possession of gender identity.
LLM – International Human Rights Law (Harvard Law School) (Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar – UK Equivalent to Rhodes). Executive Editor, Harvard Human Rights Journal. Article Consultant, Harvard International Law Journal. Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for International Human Rights Law, Northwestern University, Chicago (Awarded Summer 2000 fellowship).
BSc (SocSci) Politics and Law (First Class) (Southampton) (ranked 1st out of 70 in department).
BVC (Very Competent) Inns of Court School of Law. Called October 1999, Inner Temple, Major Scholarship & Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Award.
PhD in Law Candidate (Part-Time) (King’s College London) (commenced 2008, upgraded 2010)
Preferred Panel, Equalities and Human Rights Commission (April 2013 to date)
Equality and Diversity Committee, General Council of the Bar (2008-to date)
Bar Pro Bono Unit (Panel Member)