No5 Barristers' Chambers - Excellence is at the heart of everything we do.
Background

Jessica Smeaton

Call: 2008

"Jessica is extremely impressive and very thorough"

Chambers UK 2024 (Immigration)

"Jessica is very proactive, communicates well with clients and absorbs complex issues quickly."

Legal 500 2024 (Employment)

"Jessica has excellent knowledge, and her advocacy is very impressive. She is very approachable."

Legal 500 2024 (Employment)

"Jessica has an exceptional skill-set and shows incomparable attention to detail in preparation for hearings. She is amazing with clients, approachable and a truly calming influence to witnesses."

Legal 500 2023 (Employment)

"Jessica is very good in what she does. She has good legal thinking."

Legal 500 2024 (Immigration)

Jessica Smeaton specialises in employment and immigration and has a busy practice in the tribunals and appeal courts where she acts as both sole and junior counsel. She is praised for her ability to develop good relationships with witnesses and for her attention to detail.

Her employment practice focuses predominantly on public sector respondents and, in addition to court representation, Jessica advises employers on a day-to-day basis on complex employee relations.

Her immigration practice covers both publicly and privately-funded work. She has appeared as junior counsel on a number of significant matters in recent years, both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Jessica is a member both of the Attorney General’s panel of counsel, approved to conduct cases on behalf of Government departments, and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s panel of counsel, appointed to support the commissioner’s equality and human rights work through strategic litigation.

Jessica sits as a fee-paid Judge of the Employment Tribunal and of both the Upper and First-tier Tribunals (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

Expertise

Employment

Jessica is an experienced and specialist employment practitioner. She regularly acts in lengthy, complex trials and is known for her representation of public authorities, particularly the NHS. She has an increasing appellate practice in the EAT and is often asked to advise on the merits of potential appeals.

In addition to court representation, Jessica has long-standing relationships with public sector clients (mainly local authorities) for whom she provides advice on all aspects of employment litigation and day-to-day employee relations, including redundancy processes, TUPE, long-term sickness absence and reasonable adjustments. She forms a good team with instructing solicitors and is often called upon for assistance in developing a clear strategy in complex matters.

Because she is also an immigration practitioner, Jessica is often instructed on matters involving an overlap between employment and immigration issues, including unfair dismissal and discrimination claims concerning the right to work in the UK. This is particularly so since the UK left the EU. She also provides training to employment lawyers on immigration issues that they are likely to encounter in their practice.

Notable Employment Cases


CR v EEAS NHS Trust

Acting for the Respondent in an ongoing claim of disability discrimination. Claimant claims in excess of £1million


Doe v Global Media

Acted for the Respondent in a claim of whistleblowing against a large commercial radio company.


Flatman v ECC UKEAT/0097/20/BA

Acted for the Respondent in this appeal against the tribunal’s decision that the Claimant had not been constructively unfair dismissed. The Appeal Tribunal allowed the appeal and substituted a finding of constructive dismissal, but rejected a challenge made by the Claimant to the correctness of the decision in Assamoi v Spirit Pub Company (Services) Limited UKEAT/0050/11/LA.


Conry v Worcestershire Hospital Acute NHS Trust UKEAT/0093/17/LA

Acted for the Respondent in this appeal against the tribunal’s decision dismissing the Claimant’s claim. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the Tribunal had erred in failing to apply its factual findings to the question of whether there had been unlawful harassment.


Day v Gourmet Burger Kitchen UK Ltd

Acted for the Respondent in a claim brought by 16 Claimants for a protective award under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


Immigration, Asylum & Nationality

Jessica is an experienced immigration practitioner with a varied mix of led / unled and private / publicly-funded work. She appears in the First-tier and Upper tribunals on both immigration and asylum cases and is regularly led in cases of significant legal value at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She is praised for developing good relationships with lay clients, reassuring witnesses throughout difficult litigation and explaining complicated legal issues in clear, simple ways. She has significant experience working with vulnerable clients, including those who lack capacity to give evidence or conduct proceedings.

Because she is also an employment practitioner, Jessica is well-placed to advise on complex matters involving an overlap between employment and immigration issues, including discrimination claims concerning the right to work. She also provides training to employment lawyers on immigration issues that they are likely to encounter in their practice.

Business Immigration

Jessica’s business immigration practice centres on judicial review challenges to sponsor licence revocations and appeals against civil penalties. She regularly advises businesses on day-to-day immigration issues and works alongside employers to avoid sponsor licence issues.

Because she is also an employment practitioner, she is well-placed to advise businesses on matters where employment and immigration law collide.

Notable Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Cases


HA and RA Iraq v SSHD [2022] UKSC 22, [2022] 1 WLR 3784

Defending an appeal by the SSHD against the decision of the Court of Appeal setting aside the decision to deport three foreign criminals under the UK Borders Act 2007. The Supreme Court considered the circumstances in which it will be ‘unduly harsh’ to deport a foreign criminal in light of that person’s family life in the UK.


HA and RA Iraq v SSHD [2020] EWCA Civ 1176 [2021] 1 W.L.R. 1327

Successful appeal against the decision of the Upper Tribunal, which upheld the decision of the SSHD to deport two foreign criminals under the UK Borders Act 2007. The Court of Appeal accepted that the Upper Tribunal’s conclusion that it would not be ‘unduly harsh’ to deport RA was wrong and clarified the correct approach to the statutory test.


C18 v SSHD SC/199/2022 and SC/200/2022

Successful application for an extension to time to challenge the decision of the SSHD excluding two individuals from the UK on the grounds that their presence was not conducive to the public good. The challenge to the exclusion decision is ongoing.


Celik v SSHD [ 2023] EWCA Civ , [2023] Imm. A.R. 1599

Appeal against the decision of the Upper Tribunal refusing the Appellant’s application for status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Court of Appeal held that, on the proper interpretation of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, a non-EEA national who married an EU national after the end of the post-EU exit transition period did not have any right to reside in the UK, notwithstanding that their marriage had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Agbabiaka (evidence from abroad; Nare guidance) [2021] UKUT 00286 (IAC)

Appeal in which the Upper Tribunal gave guidance on the procedure to be followed in the Immigration tribunals when a party to a case wishes to rely upon oral evidence given by video or telephone by a person (including the party themselves) who is in the territory of a National State other than the UK


SM (Algeria) v ECO [2018] UKSC 9, [2018]

Appeal concerning the question of whether a child could be classed as a direct descendent of an EU citizen within the meaning of Directive 2004/38/EU article 2(2)(c) where the child was only in the legal guardianship of that citizenship under the ‘kafala’ system that
applied in Algeria. The Supreme Court held that, whilst they could not be classed as a direct descendant, the citizen’s Member State must facilitate the entry and residence of such a child as an ‘other family member’ pursuant to article 3(2)(a).


R (Byndloss v Kiaire) v SSHD [2017] UKSC 42, [2017] 1 W.L.R. 238

Successful appeal against the SSHD’s ‘deport first appeal later’ scheme. The Supreme Court held that the Appellants could not effectively appeal against the deportation decisions from outside the UK.


BF (Tirana – gay men) Albania (CG) [2019] UKUT 00093 (IAC)

Country guidance on the risk to gay men in Albania.


Related News, Resources and Events

News


Jessica Smeaton and David Gardner have been appointed to The Equality and Human Rights commission panel.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced its list of preferred counsel, instructed to support the Commission’s equality and human rights work through strategic public…

News


Jessica Smeaton has been appointed as a part-time Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal

No5 is pleased to announce that Jessica Smeaton has been appointed as a part-time Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). Head…

View all related news

        

"Jessica is client-friendly, approachable and practical in her responses. She's excellent."


"Jessica is technically sound and provides an excellent service. She takes a collaborative approach to matters and provides a clear view on complex matters."


"Jessica is an excellent all-rounder: clever, inventive and hardworking."


 "Was able to grasp the issues, see through the volumes of paperwork and address the key areas."


"Jessica is a favourite of my lay clients because she puts them at ease and is able to explain legal complexities in a way that can be understood. She is always prepares very thoroughly and has a very good strategic brain."


"Excellent client care skills and works well with instructing solicitor - forms a good team."


"Extremely capable." "Fantastic - she picked up a case at the last minute and had a great manner at the tribunal."


"Gives clear and constructive guidance in a practical way and has a calm and sympathetic manner."


  • Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
  • Fee-paid Judge of the Employment Tribunal
  • Panel counsel to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission
  • Attorney-General’s panel of counsel (panel B)
  • European Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation
  • Bar Vocational Course
  • Bachelor of Laws

Jessica is committed to access to justice and has provided pro bono advice on several environmental matters on an urgent and non-urgent basis. She is happy to accept instructions pro bono in appropriate cases.

 

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Related News, Resources and Events

News


Jessica Smeaton and David Gardner have been appointed to The Equality and Human Rights commission panel.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced its list of preferred counsel, instructed to support the Commission’s equality and human rights work through strategic public…

News


Jessica Smeaton has been appointed as a part-time Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal

No5 is pleased to announce that Jessica Smeaton has been appointed as a part-time Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). Head…

View all related news

Clerk Team

Geoff Carr

Director of Clerking (London)

geoffc@no5.com

07852 317495

Danny Griffiths

Director of Clerking (Birmingham)

danielg@no5.com

07960 831815

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