DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Doughty Street Chambers

Immigration

16 ranked barristersBand 2London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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A strong immigration set with significant expertise in judicial review proceedings challenging Home Office policy and decisions. The barristers are particularly well versed in asylum and deportation in the context of human rights law. Members act for a large number of public access clients as well as NGOs and high-profile private clients. Recent work highlights include a judicial review challenge to the Home Office policy of charging fees for asylum applications, and R (MS) v Secretary of State, considering the latter's investigative duties and the child’s right of review under the Dublin III Regulation. An instructing solicitor states: "They are all very good and are among the best in their fields." Another adds: "They do exceptional work."

Client service:

"The clerking service is very professionally run." Sian Wilkins is the senior civil practice manager.

Strengths:

Alasdair Mackenzie
Prior to joining the set in 2005, Mackenzie co-founded the charity Asylum Aid. He is now a high-profile immigration barrister frequently appearing at all levels of tribunal, SIAC and the courts. His noted areas of expertise include family law, human rights, asylum and deportation cases. He often appears in complex judicial reviews that seek to challenge Home Office immigration policy.
"He is phenomenal; what stands out is his knowledge and experience and his first-class written work. He anticipates what the judge and the other side will be looking at." "He is very responsive and always makes time to discuss strategy and provide his thoughts on the best way to work a case."
Recent work: Acted for Yasser Al-Siri in his challenge to the Home Office's decision to raise new reasons for refusing asylum, after an appeal had been allowed by the First-tier Tribunal.

Strengths:

Anthony Vaughan
Hailed by peers, he routinely acts on behalf of high-profile individuals in challenges against decisions of the Home Office, particularly regarding deportation or removal actions. He also assists in cases concerning deprivation of citizenship, including those with a national security element, and detained fast-track claims. He makes regular appearances before the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
"He understands his practice area inside out. You always know he will prepare a case to the highest possible standard and give pragmatic advice." "He is very efficient, has a very good tactical sense and is experienced in dealing with national security crossover cases. He has very good judgement and his drafting is excellent."

Strengths:

Antonia Benfield
An up-and-coming junior with a growing immigration and asylum practice. She is particularly experienced in immigration cases that involve family members of EEA nationals and third-country removal claims. Other strengths include representing vulnerable individuals, including those with mental health conditions, in complex asylum claims.
"She is extremely intelligent, a formidable opponent."
Recent work: Acted for Liberty as intervener in Patel v Secretary of State for the Home Department, an appeal before the Supreme Court relating to the scope of the Zambrano principle.

Strengths:

Catherine Meredith
An enterprising and experienced immigration barrister, she is highly regarded for her strong commitment to cases involving trafficked children and sexual and gender-based violence. Her broad practice has a noted focus on judicial review, asylum claims and ECHR law. She is regularly instructed on behalf of prominent human rights NGOs, in both the Supreme Court and ECtHR.
"She is really experienced, committed and professional. She is always able to deal with technical and complex procedural issues." "She really fights hard for her clients."
Recent work: Acted for Liberty as intervener in MS (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department. This was the first Supreme Court case to consider the jurisdiction of the Immigration Tribunal to determine trafficking, and whether Article 4 ECHR obliged the Home Office to identify and protect victims of trafficking, in the course of its immigration functions.

Strengths:

David Lemer
Enjoys a strong following among specialist immigration and asylum solicitors, who instruct him in appeals and judicial review applications. He has notable expertise in areas including Article 8 rights and criminal convictions.
"Quick off the mark and well versed in a wide breadth of immigration and administrative law, David provides advice and assistance that is clear and on point."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a judicial review challenge to the decision of the Home Secretary to use a 'secret' list whereby nationals of certain countries had their applications for entry to the UK subjected to more vigorous scrutiny.

Strengths:

Graham Denholm
Experienced public law and immigration barrister with notable expertise in asylum and deportation matters, particularly cases involving vulnerable clients such as children and trafficking victims. He is a recognised immigration detention expert who is routinely called upon to act for clients in judicial review proceedings against the Home Office, including in cases before the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal.
"A standout junior: a very reasonable and attractive advocate." "He has a great level of knowledge in immigration law and civil claims and is great to work with. He is very calm, and his preparation is really meticulous." "He is extremely committed, calm and thorough. Great with vulnerable clients."

Strengths:

John Walsh
A seasoned immigration barrister, he routinely undertakes public access work, as well as legal aid and privately funded matters. He has notable experience advising on family-related immigration, deportation and free movement cases under EU law. He represents clients at all levels from tribunal to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the CJEU.
"He is incredibly bright and makes complex arguments very easy to understand." "Really compassionate and just keeps going. He fights as hard as he can."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Ajayi v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a case concerning the relevant date to be used when seeking to exercise EU Treaty rights following a divorce from an EEA national.

Strengths:

Joseph Middleton
Established practitioner handling a plethora of immigration matters for prominent firms. His caseload is geared towards corporate immigration matters and has a notable focus on blue-chip companies and high net worth clients from around the world. He is also highly capable in matters involving elements of asylum or extradition law.
"He provides swift and commercially astute advice in relation to high-stakes issues and high-profile corporate clients." "He has excellent attention to detail, and is very responsive and knowledgeable."

Strengths:

Laura Dubinsky
A leading light at the immigration Bar, Dubinsky is famed among peers and clients alike for her nous and insight into complex asylum and detention law. Her depth of knowledge is reflected by her routine appearances in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, where she frequently advises on landmark litigation concerning detention and removal. Recent highlights include criminal deportation cases relating to Article 8 ECHR and detention cases involving EEA nationals.
"She is excellent; she doesn't overstate her points and she presents her case in a fair but attractive manner."
Recent work: Acted as leading counsel for the appellant in CI (Nigeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department,a complex Court of Appeal criminal deportation case concerning Article 8 ECHR. The Court allowed the appeal.

Strengths:

Leonie Hirst
A stellar immigration practitioner with a busy caseload encompassing detention, EEA law and trafficking matters. She is noted for her work with vulnerable individuals, including clients who lack mental capacity and those who have been victims of torture. She has experience appearing before the Court of Appeal.
"She is organised and client-friendly. An expert in immigration law with an EU element."

Strengths:

Marisa Cohen
A "rising star" in the immigration field, known for her skill in matters involving vulnerable individuals, such as unaccompanied children. She acts in a range of asylum and deportation appeals, and is experienced in bringing complex challenges through judicial review.
"She has a very strong tactical focus and is an excellent technical lawyer."

Strengths:

Mark Henderson
A leading claimant-focused immigration barristerhe is regularly instructed by top-tier solicitors, given his vast expertise encompassing asylum, human rights and EU law. He is particularly noted for his work in cases concerning detention, and routinely appears in the highest domestic and European courts on behalf of vulnerable clients.
"He is extremely good - a leading junior."

Strengths:

Michelle Knorr
Focuses predominantly on claimant-side immigration and public law and is a particularly experienced representative of victims of trafficking and other vulnerable individuals. Her recent work has seen her acting on behalf of unaccompanied minors in asylum claims brought under Article 8 ECHR. She is also adept at handling complex judicial review proceedings.
"She is a fantastic advocate; incredibly thorough." "She is excellent on detention cases and really good with vulnerable clients."
Recent work: Acted for a number of asylum-seeking children in FA and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department. The series of claims sought to challenge systemic delays and breaches of investigative obligations in assessing their requests for transfer to the UK.

Strengths:

Philip Haywood
An immigration stalwart, he is highly regarded for his extensive experience and expertise. He routinely represents clients at all levels, including the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal. His recent work includes judicial review challenges and unlawful detention and deportation claims relating to vulnerable individuals, particularly refugees.
"He has a wealth of knowledge and he engages very well with the Upper Tribunal; his arguments carry real weight with the judges." "He is just fantastic; he is a legal writer par excellence."
Recent work: Represented the appellant in KK (Sri Lanka) v SSHD, a Court of Appeal deportation case examining the risk to those who had given witness regarding alleged war crimes.

Strengths:

Rowena Moffatt
Public law specialist with experience in human rights, immigration and asylum law. She is regarded for her ability to undertake the full suite of immigration matters on behalf of both private individuals and businesses. She has particularly deep expertise in judicial review proceedings or other claims concerning wrongful deportation and unlawful detention.
"She is bright, analytical and thorough." "She is excellent; really intelligent and very good in her written advices."
Recent work: Successfully represented an unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan in FS v London Borough of Croydon and FS v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a judicial review concerning the correct age of the claimant asylum seeker.

Strengths:

Shu Shin Luh
Excellent public law barrister who comes highly recommended for judicial review challenges to the lawfulness of detaining asylum seekers. Her clients are charities and vulnerable migrants claiming asylum in the UK on the grounds of torture, trafficking and other human rights abuses. She has appeared in immigration cases across all judicial fora, up to and including the Supreme Court and the ECtHR.
"She's got really phenomenal attention to detail; she never misses anything, even in really tough cases." "She is formidable; so knowledgeable and always completely on it."
Recent work: Represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission as an intervener in R (Medical Justice) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, a successful challenge to the Home Secretary’s Removal Notice Windows policy.

Immigration Department

Doughty Street Chambers

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Department location

54 Doughty Street

London

Greater London

UK

WC1N 2LS

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Juniors

London (Bar)

Immigration


Alasdair Mackenzie
Band 1
Anthony Vaughan
Band 3
Antonia Benfield
Up and Coming
Catherine Meredith
Band 2
David Lemer
Band 4
Graham Denholm
Band 1