‘To be the mouthpiece for those who know the words but have no voice’ - S Chelvan is a globally recognised legal expert on refugee and human rights claims based on sexual, or gender identity and expression. He is instructed on cases in the UK up to and including the Supreme Court, and the Strasbourg Court. Chelvan views his role is that of a story-teller and interpreter, translating his client’s narratives into the foreign language called the law, but to do so, establishing ‘the safe space’ in order for the person seeking asylum to be able to tell their stories.
Having practiced in the field of LGBT+ asylum since 2001, Chelvan has been recognised as the leading legal expert by the UK’s Legal Directories since 2006, spearheading some of the leading cases since 2005 (Band 1 in Immigration Legal 500 since 2017). Since 2010, Chelvan has been consulted as an internationally recognised expert by the United Nations, the IOM, regional and national governmental organisations and bodies, lawyers and NGOs. His Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm (‘DSSH’) model, created by Chelvan in 2011 as a positive tool to determine an LGBT+ asylum claim is used globally, endorsed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees since 2012, EASO, the IOM, the IARLJ and used by various governments, including the UK’s Home Office, since 2015. Newsweek Europe in 2014 described the model as ‘a simple starting point that cuts across borders’. In supporting his 2018 Attitude Magazine Pride award in July, the Nigerian lesbian activist Aderonke Apata, who successfully gained asylum after a 13 year battle after Chelvan was instructed, commented, ‘the way that he fought .. and they [the Home Office] gave me asylum, that’s magical to me’. Danila Stepin, another of Chelvan’s clients who feared persecution in Russia said, ‘Chelvan is really an admirable man, he saves peoples lives’.
Chelvan’s approach to his practice successfully employs a symbiotic approach to litigation, academic research and policy work at both a UK and European level. Chelvan has provided training to Judges, lawyers, NGOs and activist and his public speaking has earned him an international reputation as a charismatic and engaging speaker, including giving the 11th Stonewall Lecture in February 2013 highlighting to a national audience for the first time the extreme lengths gay asylum-seekers were taking to prove their sexual identity. His PhD in Law thesis submitted in August 2018 (viva passed with corrections on 4 December 2018) to King’s College London examines the shift in approach in asylum cases in England and Wales from conduct to identity: ‘At the End of the Rainbow, Where next for the Queer Refugee?’. Chelvan has published extensively and is regularly interviewed by national and international media outlets (Legal Action Magazine (September 2018) (Sue James) and The Hearing podcast (to be broadcast) (Kevin Poulter)). His cases receive international media attention.
Chelvan was awarded the 2014 Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award, is the highest-ranking lawyer in the 2015 Independent on Sunday Rainbow List, is in the Black Law Directory’s Powerlist of the top 34 BAME lawyers, named a Legal Hero for 2015 LegalPride and was shortlisted in 2017 in the Barrister of the Year category for the Lawyer Magazine awards (the only non-QC to be shortlisted). In November 2017, at 43, he was short-listed for interview in the final six for the UN Independent SOGI expert, the only UK domiciled candidate to be short-listed. He is a Trustee of FREEBAR, and is a Stonewall Ambassador and Role Model, giving the keynote speech at the Stonewall Workplace conference in Manchester in September 2018. In March 2018, Chelvan joined UK Black Pride as the International Rights officer, making clear seeking global change demands engagement of all Queer voices. In September 2018 Chelvan was appointed a Trustee of Equal Ground, a LGBT+ activist rights NGO in Sri Lanka.
Forthcoming Cases in 2018/19:
- Upper Tribunal (IAC): (16-18 and 23 October 2018) – BF (Albania) – Country Guidance case on Risk to Queer (non-cis/non-heteronormative) Men in Albania and addressing conduct on return – Leading Jessica Smeaton (Dawson and Smith UJJ) – awaiting determination;
- Upper Tribunal (IAC): (15 January 2019) – Patel - meaning of ‘precarious’ in an out-of-country appeal addressing family life with connected health grounds (Presidential Guidance panel); and
- Upper Tribunal (IAC): DD (Albania) (heard on 20 December 2017 – awaiting promulgated determination) – risk to female victims of domestic violence in Albania.
Forthcoming Events in 2018/19:
28 January 2019 – Panel speaker on Human Rights and Immigration – UCL Law Society
6 February 2019 – Cambridge Police Conference – speaking on Immigration/Asylum in the UK
7 February 2019 – CWU LGBT Conference in Liverpool – speaking on LGBT Asylum Law
13 February 2019 – General Medical Council – London/Manchester LGBT History Month panel event
15 February 2019 – King’s College London Bar and Mooting Society – 14th Annual Ball – Guest of Honour and After Dinner Speaker
26 February 2019 – Chambers and Partners D&I INSPIRE Launch event LGBT History Month – guest speaker
29 April1 May 2019 (tbc) – University of Reading – panel speaker – ‘Contemporary challenges facing LGBT+ asylum seekers: UK and global perspectives’
"An absolutely outstanding immigration lawyer who also deserves recognition as an LGBT campaigner."
Chambers UK 2019
"An esteemed and highly respected immigration barrister who is particularly recognised for his LGBTQ rights work. His work is international in its scope, while his diverse client base includes many individuals who are fleeing persecution."
Chambers UK 2018
‘An established reputation as a leading practitioner in immigration human rights cases’
Legal 500 2018
‘Highly regarded for his asylum expertise.’
Legal 500 2017
Kousar and ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 2462 (Lindblom, Irwin and Baker)
Leading Alex Cisneros for the Appellant – Court of Appeal held no material error of law in rejecting application of Basnet principle where the error has been in the completion of the application form by the Appellant.
AA (Somalia) v Entry Clearance Officer (Addis Ababa)  UKSC 81;  1 W.L.R. 43;  1 All E.R. 774;  1 F.C.R. 548;  Imm. A.R. 540;  I.N.L.R. 273;  EWCA Civ 563;  1 W.L.R. 268;  3 All. E.R. 893;  3 F.C.R. 96;  Imm A.R. 858
Led by Manjit Gill QC. Paragraph 352D of the Immigration Rules relating to family reunion of children with parents who have been granted refugee status in the UK covers biological children and de-facto adoptive children who comply with paragraph 309A. The Somali child who has been accepted to have been recognised to have undergone a kafaala under Islamic law, as a result of her father’s death and mother’s disappearance as a result of persecution arising out of civil war do not come under 352D. Appellant’s success under article 8 of the ECHR at first instance provides alternative route for entry to the UK. Supreme Court recommends amendment of Immigration Rules to allow for recognition of parental transfer under kafaala.
LC (Albania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 351;  1 W.L.R 4173
(permission granted by Lindblom LJ on 20th October 2016 following 2 earlier adjourned hearings before Lindblom LJ (25 November 2016) and King LJ in February 2016)). 2 grounds of appeal (1) FTT and UT’s reliance on Country Guidance case of MK (lesbians) Albania  UKAIT 00036 unlawful as set aside by Consent by the Court of Appeal Order in September 2011; and (2) Conduct on return no longer to be followed following MSM (Somalia)  UKUT 00413 and/or contrary to EU law (2004 Minimum Standards Qualification Directive – discretion is not a standard contained in the Directive and is clearly not a more favourable standard) – HJ (Iran) was accordingly wrongly decided. Following DD (see below) – SSHD concedes the first ground of appeal. CA dismissed second ground of appeal finding HJ (Iran) is compatible with the Directive. Junior is Jessica Smeaton since December 2016. Case attracted international media attention – see The Guardian; and Pink News.
AM (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 180
Leading Junior for Respondent in Secretary of State’s challenge on reliance of parent on 7-year presence of minor children in the United Kingdom as preventing removal (non-deportation proceedings). Secretary of State’s application for extension-of-time and substantive hearing heard as a rolled-up hearing on 15 March 2017, relying on MM (Uganda) and MA (Pakistan). (Junior: Varsha Jagadesham). Secretary of State’s application for extension-of-time and appeal allowed. Following KO (Nigeria) and ors v SSHD  UKSC 53 (24 October 2018) , SSHD’s reliance on MM (Uganda) and MA (Pakistan) was held to be unlawful).
R (Apata) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 180
Challenge to assessment of actual and/or imputed sexual identity of lesbian internationally recognised activist from Nigeria. Appeal dismissed as material should have been submitted as a fresh claim. Court of Appeal in this unusual case granted a stay on removal pending submission of fresh claim to the Respondent by early August 2016. Respondent subsequently treats material as a fresh claim and grants the Appellant an in-country right of appeal. On 1 August 2017, following notification 11 witnesses will be attending hearing to support appellant’s evidence she is a lesbian (including Baroness Barker and Peter Tatchell), the SSHD grants the appellant refugee status 13 year battle for status – see article in The Guardian).
SB (India) and CB (India) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 451;  4 W.L.R. 103;  2 F.C.R. 221; Times 25 May 2016
Moore-Bick, Gloster and Richards LJJ (permission granted by Elias LJ  EWCA Civ. 501 - on 26 March 2014) – Flagrant breach of Article 8 (family life rights) ECHR to remove a married lesbian couple to India where there is no legal recognition and protection of same-sex unions. In first case in a decade to address same-sex relationships in the immigration context, the Court of Appeal recognised the development of Strasbourg jurisprudence recognising right to legal recognition and protection of same-sex couples within Article 8 ECHR (family life) (see Schalk and Kopf (2010) and Oliari (2015)). Appeal dismissed due to lack of flagrant breach. (Junior Victoria Hutton following grant of permission - Public Access and CFA agreement). Case attracted national and international media attention, e.g. articles in The Guardian, Pink News; and The Times of India. Negative findings of fact by the Court of Appeal in 2016 displaced by approach of the Indian Supreme Court on 6 September 2018 in Johar and ors v India.
RY (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 81
Two points of law (1) Excluding from refugee status without proceeding via the Immigration rules and cessation; and (2) Negative finding on rehabilitation when having passed rehabilitation criteria pursuant to statutory guidance (Road Traffics Act). Dismissed on both grounds. Instructed a week prior to the substantive hearing.
MS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 7
Court of Appeal introduces ‘new test’ for internal relocation alternative, by focussing on lack of risk in place of relocation to be dispositive of asylum claim in circumstances where the Court finds no finding of fact with respect to risk in home area, contrary to what had been the position of both parties to the litigation and the accepted approach prior to this judgment.
GN (South Africa) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 1930 (17th December 2012) – following permission hearing, asylum appeal allowed by Consent in 2013.
White gay man from South Africa, granted permission to appeal by Laws LJ against Upper Tribunal determination which dismissed his asylum claim, on the basis of effective state protection in South Africa. Upper Tribunal was not provided by the SSHD, prior to the promulgation of the determination, a copy of her own Operational Guidance Note of February 2012, which conceded that there is a lack of effective state protection in South Africa. Permission granted on the basis that it was arguable that the SSHD had a duty to disclose this document to the Upper Tribunal which undermined the basis of her appeal. Appellant successful on asylum and human rights grounds before First-tier Tribunal (IAC) as per HJ/HT Supreme Court guidelines. Chelvan instructed following Upper Tribunal determination.
R (on the application of AA (Afghanistan)) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 1643;  EWHC 3820 (Admin)
SSHD’s policy addressing ‘loss of chance’ where there has been an incorrect age assessment leading to denial of grant of LTR under the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children policy ruled unlawful. Unpublished policy was held to be contrary to section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (for those over 17 years and 6 months but under 18), and to the direction and guidance of the Court of Appeal in AA (Afghanistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 12. Claimant’s relief on the additional point that he should have been granted refugee status during the period he was accepted to be 18 dismissed (the LQ (age) and DS (Afghanistan) point). Claimant’s grant of 3 years DL over-turned by Court of Appeal and remitted to SSHD to decide grant of leave. Court of Appeal additionally directed the SSHD to review the asylum claim on the basis that he is still a child (displacing Ravichandran principle).
NP (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 906
The lack of reference to internal relocation in a refusal letter refusing asylum, and/or the lack of reliance on internal relocation either at the First-tier Tribunal (IAC) or in a Rule 24 response to grounds of appeal to the Upper Tribunal, or in written submissions pursuant to specific directions, do not prevent the Upper Tribunal (IAC) from addressing this ground of appeal at a hearing. Article 8 (2) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (internal relocation, if relied upon, to be addressed in the decision on the asylum application), and the SSHD’s published Asylum Policy Instruction on Internal Relocation (internal relocation to be raised as a ground in the refusal letter), do not aid the Appellant. Only where there is an unfairness to the opposing party, should there be an adjournment granted, preventing a procedural unfairness. There is no lack of jurisdiction
MW (DRC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 1240
Led by Geoffrey Robertson QC – Upper Tribunal (IAC) materially erred in law in not applying the "very serious reasons” requirement of Maslov in determining the deportation of a settled migrant who had been in the UK since he was a young child. SSHD’s stated case that he was a member of a criminal gang and was involved in drugs and fire arms was rejected by First-tier Tribunal (see case of V above). However, the First-tier Tribunal held that he "knowingly associated” with those involved in gangs. Prior to substantive appeal hearing before the Upper Tribunal SSHD withdrew immigration decision and reinstated Indefinite Leave to Remain.
OO (Sudan) and JM (Uganda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ. 1432;  All ER (D) 17 Jun.
Definition of persecution does not arise from unenforced criminal legislation relating to same-sex conduct. However, SSHD concedes that article 8 ECHR violations may amount to persecution . Concession relied on as a gateway into Human Rights prism for Refugee Convention status determination.
NR (Jamaica) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 856,  INLR 169
Appeal allowed on basis that sexual identity is current sexual identity, and is not predicated on teenage sexual experimentation. Concessions relating to risk in Jamaica, and then acceptance of lesbian sexual identity, which were made, and then subsequently withdrawn by the SSHD were lawfully withdrawn. Appeal allowed on remittal to Upper Tribunal (IAC) finding that NR is ‘exclusively’ a lesbian and there is a real risk of persecution to her in Jamaica even on the basis of a perceived sexual identity- August 2010. Point of law incorporated into SSHD’s Asylum Policy Instruction on Sexual Orientation Issues in the Asylum Claim (2010, updated 2011). Case attracted Press attention in both the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph
HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 172;  Imm A.R. 600
Led by Raza Hussain for HT (challenge to Tribunal’s finding that discretion will be reasonably tolerable where there had been a positive finding of past-persecution by state and non-state agents on the grounds of sexual identity as a gay man). This ‘reasonable tolerability’ test was over-turned by the Supreme Court - HJ (Iran)  UKSC 31;  1 AC 596 - instructed by HT (Cameroon) to deal with national and international media enquiries following judgment – HT granted refugee status in November 2010.
RG (Colombia) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 57;  Imm AR 297
Finding that as the Appellant had been able to be discrete without coming to the attention of vigilante death squads whilst in Colombia, the Tribunal’s finding that he can be returned to Colombia was not unlawful – successful fresh claim litigation followed judgment, abandoned before Upper Tribunal only due to grant by SSHD of ILR under legacy in 2011, following indication by UT that would succeed in his article 8 ECHR appeal. Court of Appeal judgment referred to as a ‘troubling case’ by Counsel for HJ (Iran) in 2010 proceedings before the Supreme Court.
R (WLTB) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union  EWHC 629 (Admin) (Anonymity) and  EWHC 630 (substantive application)(3 February 2016)
Acted for 4 migrants (as the Second Claimants in the litigation), who are EU, EEA, dual-National or non-EEA who sought a declaration from the Divisional Court regarding an Act of Parliament authorizing exit from the Single Market (Article 127 of the European Economic Area Agreement 1994 and the EEA Act 1993). He was instructed as Sole Counsel for initial hearing on anonymity on 17 January (made final on 3 February 2017 – led by Ramby de Mello). This judgment creates a legal precedent following death threats to Gina Miller in the Brext1 litigation and the Article 127/single market litigation led to Orders for Anonymity being granted despite opposition from the media. The case involved submission of evidence of a death threat made on social media to Chelvan, coupled with the threats to Gina Miller, established real risk to safety to the 4 Claimants based on evidence of risk to third parties – this creates a legal precedent with respect to the law on ‘open justice’. Case got reported from the lodging of the application by the Guardian on 29 December 2016 citing Chelvan’s specific involvement.
(17 January 2017 anonymity hearing before Sir Ross Cranston):
Application for Anonymity Order for four migrant claimants in Brexit 2 application (addressing lack of Parliamentary approval for exiting the Single Market) – attracted national press coverage – press became aware of the proceedings and interjected on basis of public interest – successfully obtained interim relief pending final disposal at the substantive permission application hearing on 3 February 2017 (see above)).
R (MK) v Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber and Secretary of State for the Home Department (IP)  EWHC 828 (Admin)
Refusal of substantive application for judicial review of the Upper Tribunal’s statutory refusal of permission to appeal a negative determination of the First-tier Tribunal (IAC). Consent Order agreed between all parties prior to the hearing, not agreed by the Court (permission having been granted by the CA (McCombe LJ) remitted back to Admin Ct)). No appearance by the Defendant at the substantive hearing. Additionally, addresses assessment of documentary evidence in light of allegation of forgery in decision to refusal asylum, on the basis of domestic and European case law (application for PTA to the CA made – but appellant removed prior to determination).
R (JN) v SSHD  EWHC 1842 (Admin) (HHJ Davis)
Test case on paragraph 334 of the Rules (asylum claim) in a paragraph 353 (fresh claim) proceedings. Irrationality of SSHD decision not to grant refugee status following submission of a fresh claim, where findings of facts following earlier proceedings showed that refugee status should be afforded. Lesbian from Uganda. Additional unlawful detention claim. Secretary of State, contrary to earlier position of rejection of sexual identity claim grants refugee status to JN without having to go back to a further FTT hearing (May 2014).
R (RH and DY) v SSHD  EWHC3295 (Admin) (Lewis J).
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 considered whether the decision was compliant with duties under Dublin II regulations and sustainable to public law challenges pursuant to irrationality and unfairness. Prior to 9 July 2014 oral permission hearing before the Court of Appeal, the SSHD grants refugee status to both Appellants in June 2014.
R (V) v SSHD  EWHC 765 (Admin) (14th March 2013) Clive Lewis QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge (preceded by earlier litigation: R (V) v AIT  EWCA Civ 491 and  EWHC 1902 (Admin)).
Successful substantive judicial review challenge of SSHD’s failure to grant settlement under 14-year long residence rule, due to character and conduct findings based on allegations of membership of a criminal gang and assertions linking to criminal conduct which did not lead to charges and/or convictions in a criminal court. SSHD conceded that reliance on allegations which had not been proved by a fact finding Tribunal, and relying on spent convictions, were unlawful. The issue to be finally determined was how far back should settlement be back-dated to? SSHD insisted back-dating could only go back to decision under challenge (March 2011). Claimant submitted that ILR be backdated to at the time of the withdrawal of the earlier deportation immigration decision in late July 2010 (based on a negative advice on the merits by her Counsel). Administrative Court held that SSHD’s stance was irrational, and that the guidance of the Court in R (K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1528 (Admin), when applied in these proceedings, would see a backdating to somewhere within a month of the withdrawal of the earlier decision. Following 2013 judgment, SSHD back-dated grant of ILR to 1 August 2010, i.e. 8 days following withdrawal of earlier immigration decision, which was preceded by 2010 and 2009 litigation.
2009-2010 litigation: Led by Geoffrey Robertson QC - judicial review challenge to Tribunal’s preliminary decision allowing SSHD to rely on redacted evidence, and other hearsay evidence, from anonymous witnesses in a deportation hearing where this evidence did not lead to conviction in criminal proceedings. SSHD 10 days prior to substantive appeal before the Tribunal scheduled for August 2010 withdrew her deportation decision. Strasbourg application was about to be lodged to stay proceedings before the domestic Tribunal. V eventually granted 3 years DL pursuant to article 8 in March 2011, following second set of judicial review proceedings commenced to challenge delay in determining outstanding 2005 application. This leads to further challenge and ultimately the successful March 2013 proceedings.
R (otao Razai and ors) v SSHD  EWHC 3151 (Admin)
Instructed on a pro-bono basis by Allen and Overy LLP on behalf of Bail for Immigration Detainees as intervener – challenging SSHD’s new policy in providing section 4 accommodation through pre-bail hearing assessment.
R (otao SB (Uganda)) v SSHD  EWHC 338 (Admin) (UNHCR refworld) (Hickinbottom J)
Successful judicial review of refusal of fresh claim of a lesbian from Uganda and unlawful detention claim - highlighted that JM (Uganda) CG  UKAIT 00065 -(Chelvan instructed) was distinguished on the facts, and on the basis of post-CG evidence. The First Tier Tribunal allowed SB's substantive asylum claim - determination promulgated July 2010.
AB (Pakistan) (Admin) (unreported) (July 2009, Ockelton J)
SSHD concedes fresh claim of trans-man from Pakistan during the judicial review substantive hearing – initial claim as a lesbian a year prior to the hearing. SSHD grants refugee status in February 2011, whilst Country Guidance proceedings on first gender identity case to be reported by the Upper Tribunal are being case managed. SSHD also grants refugee status for gay man from Pakistan thereby conceding country evidence of risk to LGBTIs from Pakistan.
Mahmud (S. 85 NIAA 2002 - 'new matters')  UKUT 488 (IAC);  Imm A.R. 274
Guidance case on raising a new matter on appeal – pursuant to section 85 (6) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended by the 2014 Act). Appeal dismissed on point of law with respect to new relationship pursuant to article 8 ECHR grounds raised post-decision. Appeal allowed on protection grounds only (remittal back to the FTT).Leading Counsel to Jennifer Blair. Currently awaiting PTA decision from the Court of Appeal.
Country Guidance cases – Jamaica (still in force):
Jamaica – (a) DW (Homosexuals – Persecution – Sufficiency of Protection) Jamaica CG  UKAIT 000168 (accepted risk of persecution to gay men (and perceived gay men) from Jamaica - and (b) SW (Lesbians – HJ and HT applied) Jamaica CG  UKUT 00251 - (accepted risk of persecution to lesbians and straight women who cannot ‘prove’ straight from Jamaica - both cases are still in force as applicable Country Guidance determinations.
MSM (journalists – political opinion – risk) Somalia  UKUT 00251 (IAC)
Guideline case prohibiting forced modification of employment when profession linked to actual political opinion (Leading Counsel to Victoria Hutton (stage 1) and Jessica Smeaton (stage 2)).
TK (LP updated) Sri Lanka CG  UKAIT 00049
Tribunal accepted that risk categories in December 2009 have not diminished since the May 2009 cessation of hostilities. Appeal dismissed on facts with respect to internal relocation alternative – SSHD grants TK Indefinite Leave to Remain prior to oral permission application to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Case superceded by later CG cases.
AS (Appeals raising Articles 3 and 8) Iran  UKAIT 00037
An appeal on article 3 ECHR grounds is not precluded on the basis that the appeal has already been allowed at first instance on article 8 ECHR grounds.
MM (Section 8: commencement) Iran  UKAIT 0015;  Imm A.R. 666
Section 8 of the 2004 Act (statutory adverse credibility findings) are retrospective to the coming into force of the Act.
Government Equality Offices LGBT Advisory Panel (Since March 2019);
Director (2016-March 2019) and Equality and Diversity and Diversity Data Officer (appointed) ( February 2016 – 31 October 2018)– No5 Barristers’ Chambers;
Trustee, FREEBAR (since February 2017);
Reviewer (Immigration), ADVOCATE (formerly Bar Pro Bono Unit) (since 2017) Panel member since 2004;
Committee member of the Equality Diversity and Social Mobility Committee (since 2008);
International Rights Officer – UK Black Pride (since March 2018);
Trustee, EQUAL GROUND (since September 2018);
Home Office, Equality sub-group, National Asylum Stakeholders Forum (since 2015); and
Home Office, LGBT Training Committee, Founding member (since 2014).
2018 Attitude Magazine Pride Awards award winner;
2017 The Lawyer magazine awards - Barrister of the Year – Finalist (only Junior shortlisted);
2015 Powerlist – Black Law Directory – ranked in top 34 BAME lawyers in the Directory’s Powerlist;
2015 Legal Hero - #LegalPride 2015 – the Law Society/Bar Council/CILEX;
2015 – Independent of Sunday – Rainbow List – the 101 most influential LGBTI people in the UK – highest ranked lawyer at number 43 (new entry);
2014 Barrister award – Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards (finalist in 2008, Judge since 2015);
2000 Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar – UK equivalent of Rhodes scholarship for year of study at Harvard Law School on LLM programme for those identified as future leaders in professions committed to public service;
2000 Summer Visiting Research Fellowship, Centre for International Human Rights Law, Northwestern University (Chicago);
1998 – Inner Temple Major Scholar and Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Award; and
1996 – Finalist – Public Speaking competition, World Universities’ Debating Championships, Cork, Eire.
BSc (SocSci) Politics and Law (First Class)
University of Southampton (1st in Class of 70)
LLM, Harvard Law School, International Human Rights Law and the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movement
Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar (UK Equivalent of a Rhodes Scholarship)
Executive Editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal
Article Consultant – Harvard International Law Review
Research Assistant Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter
PhD in Law (Candidate) King’s College London - 4 December 2018 viva passed with corrections to be filed sand approved – ‘At the End of the Rainbow: Where next for the Queer Refugee?’
“Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” - co-author - Chapter XI in Volume 2 of “Credibility Assessment in Asylum Procedures” (CREDO project, Hungarian Helsinki Project and the UNHCR, May 2015);
(co-author with Mark Harper and ors): ‘Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership:
The New Law’ (Chapter 9: Immigration and Asylum), (Jordans, May 2014) ‘Chapter 9 addresses the law relating to immigration and asylum in impressive detail and engages extensively with the key authorities and procedural issues’ (Helen James, 2015 The Law Teacher Vol 49, No 1, 130-140) - "Often viewed as an incompressible area of the law, in this chapter … the key points are delivered in digestible chunks” (Andrew Powell, 2015, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 37.2, 285-287).
Publications ( journal articles)
"Put Your Hands up (If You Feel Love)” (JIANL 2011), "How does a lesbian come out at 13?” (Women’s Asylum News October 2011); and "Queer Cases, Great Law”, Opino Juris (March 2012); "From Silence to Safety” (Counsel Magazine: May 2013); "Case Comment, X, Y and Z” European Human Rights Law Review (2014) (1), pp. 49-58. Westlaw Insight: (January 2014) "Asylum: Basic grounds for claiming asylum” (March 2014) Lexis "How uncertain is the future for free standing article 8 claims?”; "The Last Legal Aid Barrister of the Year?” (Counsel Magazine: February 2015) "Are refugees from Syria really refugees?” (Free movement blog, 9 September 2014); and "New Home Office API on Gay Asylum Claims: Not Fit For Purpose” (Free movement blog, 8th August 2016).
2019 (1) ‘The Queer Outside in Law’ (Chapter - Aderonke Apata: the Voice of the Silenced) (eds Peter Dunne and Senthoran Raj);
(2) Article on Johar and ors v State of India in ‘Common Law World Review’ (eds Cain Murphy and Roseanne Russell)
VAT Registration Number: 820778323