Jessica has experience in a breadth of areas touching on international human rights issues and is well placed to undertake cases involving an overlap between immigration, public and employment law. Her expertise covers representation in court, drafting of pleadings and submissions and advice on potential legal action. She has considerable experience in working with vulnerable clients through her pro bono work with victims of trafficking.
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. This EU-funded advanced master’s degree brings together human rights professionals from around the world and is aimed at preparing professionals to respond to the operational requirements of daily work in international organisations, field operations, governmental and non-government bodies, and academia.
Prior to joining the Bar Jessica worked in the pro bono department at Hogan Lovells LLP, advising and representing clients in a range of human rights-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 is an excellent all-rounder: clever, inventive and hardworking."
Legal 500 2023
"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."
Legal 500 2022
"Ms Smeaton's written advocacy is also very clear, thorough and succinct, with persuasive and cogent submissions."
Legal 500 2021
“Gives clear and constructive guidance in a practical way and has a calm and sympathetic manner.”
Legal 500 2020
D (a child) v Bury BC
judicial review of decision to refuse support under the Children Act.
K v SSHD (Administrative Court)
judicial review of a decision arising out of the actions of immigration officers during an enforcement visit.
AA v Z (EAT)
appeal concerning the correct approach to the interpretation of section 6(1) of the Equality Act 2010 (definition of disability)
R v B (ET)
employment tribunal hearing concerning the question of whether a heterosexual, Catholic employee can be harassed because of his sexual orientation by being subjected to ‘gay’ taunts.
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
Bar Human Rights Committee