THE SET Garden Court Chambers leads the way in immigration law due to the unparalleled strength in depth it offers. Its impressive range of market-leading silks and juniors cover the complete immigration law spectrum and regularly appear in the most important cases both domestically and internationally. Its counsel are so authoritative in the area that many contribute to the leading academic texts on immigration law. Leading solicitors firms instinctively look to them when difficult cases arise.
SILKS Laurie Fransman QC "invented nationality law as a modern academic subject." Solicitors look to him for advice on "highly complex citizenship issues - what he doesn't know about British citizenship law isn't worth knowing," they say. He works across jurisdictions, drawing together immigration and human rights law to protect individuals who are subject to political persecution.
Stephen Knafler QC is currently working on important cases involving unaccompanied asylum seekers under the age of 18. He is an acknowledged expert on the crossover between immigration and community care law. Fellow counsel and instructing solicitors are extremely complimentary of Knafler's written and oral advocacy and respect his innovative contribution to immigration law.
Ian Macdonald QC is the author of key immigration practitioners' textbooks. His elevation to Senior Statesman status is in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the field of immigration law.
Immigration luminaries have "huge respect" for Stephanie Harrison QC. National security cases and unlawful detention are key areas of focus for her, and her expertise in human rights and public law enables her to secure notable wins against the state. According to one source, "she is someone with a very high success rate in an area where most cases go down in flames."
JUNIORS Kathryn Cronin is particularly known for her work with vulnerable women and on cases where there are difficult family elements, including adoption and surrogacy. "She has an incredible ability to cross-fertilise immigration and family law, and is very useful on adoption cases," say those that instruct her.
Duran Seddon has recently worked with individuals fleeing from political persecution, and Muslim figures who have been excluded from the UK on the basis of comments that they are alleged to have made in a public context. These cases raise important issues concerning Article 10 and the right to freedom of expression, and also questions of nationality law and deportation.
Broad immigration practitioner Navtej Singh Ahluwalia has a specialism in EU freedom of movement law and is called upon to lecture on this subject. Solicitors highlight his client care skills - "the people he represents always know that he really cares what happens to their case."
Adrian Berry "has real flair" according to the solicitors he works with, and is described by a number of interviewees as "excellent on EU points." In PM (Turkey) it was established that the lack of a common family home is not an obstacle to spouses of EU nationals who are seeking the right to permanent residence.
Sadat Sayeed works closely with Laurie Fransman QC, and together the two are instructed on cases which often involve wealthy or powerful individuals who are the subject of political persecution and are seeking asylum in the UK.
David Jones is involved with ongoing work on Article 8 cases, concerning the balance of exclusion based on criminal grounds and the right to family life. He is popular in the market as is Peter Jorro, who works with businesses challenging sponsorship licence withdrawal, wealthy businessmen seeking asylum in the UK and individuals who are facing deportation. He is strongly endorsed by leading immigration solicitors firms.
Patrick Lewis works with businesses challenging the effects of new immigration guidance. He is a counsel of choice for his expertise on the points-based system (PBS) and also undertakes a substantial amount of work on criminal deportation appeals. He is described as "bang up to date, really well prepared and very good with clients."
In AMM & Others Somalia CG, Ronan Toal successfully argued a breach of Article 3, in a case concerning the safety of returning Somalis to Somalia. One source said of him: "He is very bright and hard-working and he thinks of really good points."
Solicitors "go back again and again to" Nadine Finch when faced "with complex immigration and family law crossover cases." She often works with children and has been successful in securing substantial damages for unlawful detention.
Sonali Naik "is completely on top of immigration and a really good operator" according to one source. She has done important work on the safety of returns to Iraq and Iran. Naik is recommended along with Navita Atreya, who commentators describe as "a very strong advocate in the tribunal. If you get bogged down, she is very good at spotting straight away the points to be made and what needs to be done." Other rated juniors at the set include Michelle Brewer, a dedicated immigration practitioner with expertise on trafficking, unaccompanied minors and human rights, and Louise Hooper, an asylum-focused immigration practitioner. Hooper represents clients from initial application to judicial review in the higher courts.
Also recommended is Bryony Poynor, who has carried out important work relating to Dublin II and the removal of unaccompanied minors.