[photo] Benjamin Hawkin (1998)Legal 500 Leading Individual 2016Benjamin Hawkin (1998)



Ben practises in ImmigrationMental HealthPrison law and Public Law, with a particular emphasis on human rights issues.

He has been Deputy Head of Chambers since 2014.

Ben is ranked as a Leading Junior in The UK Legal 500 2016 and 2015, which noted that "He wins near-impossible cases by identifying new arguments" (2016) and has "specialist knowledge of a range of areas including asylum, deportation and entry clearance" (2015).

He has many years of experience and has appeared at every level of the Tribunal and Court system, representing victims of human rights violations, leaders of political groups, high-ranking military officers, diplomats, terrorists and financiers.

Ben has been involved in a number of groundbreaking cases in the Higher Courts, including R (Q and Others) v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 364 (challenging the controversial withholding of benefits from asylum seekers), R (Iran) and Others v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 982 (the leading case on material errors of law) and now ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 4 (the landmark Supreme Court ruling on the rights of children and British citizens).

He deals with all aspects of Immigration – including asylum, humanitarian protection, deportation, European Union issues, entry clearance, settlement, the Points Based Scheme and unlawful detention – and has represented clients from many different countries around the world.

Ben's Public law work originally started in the Immigration context, but now includes judicial review of bodies such as the Parole Board, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

He is also a member of Amicus, and took part in its work on the Kenny Richey case.


Public Access 

Ben is qualified to accept instructions under the Direct Public Access Scheme.


Notable Cases

OAMH v SSHD (IAA) (HX/58493/2002). Represented leader of Afar Liberation Front in asylum appeal – originally at risk of political persecution in Ethiopia – given diplomatic sanctuary in Eritrea – whilst visiting United Kingdom his colleagues eliminated by now hostile Eritrean government.

R (Viktor Spiro) v Immigration Appeal Tribunal (CA) [2002] Imm AR 356. Judicial review of decision of Tribunal – High Court judge considering application also President of same Tribunal – whether precluded on ground of perceived bias.

R (Q and Others) v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 364, [2004] QB 36. Section 55 of Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 – requirement to claim asylum "as soon as reasonably practicable" – withholding of benefits – Articles 3, 6 and 8 of the ECHR – case attracted widespread media coverage and sparked ongoing debate on relationship between Home Secretary and judiciary.

Ahmed Benkaddouri v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 1250, [2004] INLR 1. Rule 33 of Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) Rules 2000 – repeated non-compliance by Home Office with Tribunal directions – whether asylum appeal should have been allowed without consideration of merits.

R (Iran) and Others v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 982, [2005] INLR 633. Section 101 of Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 – jurisdiction of Immigration Appeal Tribunal to consider appeal on point of law – leading authority on what constitutes an error of law.

HOA v SSHD (AIT) (AA/03459/2005). Represented brother of two of Madrid train bombers in asylum appeal – innocent of any wrongdoing but likelihood of torture by Moroccan security services based on perception of knowledge of Madrid plot – further issue as to whether United Kingdom security services had bugged his London home.

NM (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 214. Whether act of obtaining passport from Embassy in London meant that appellant had voluntarily re-availed himself of State protection under Article 1C(1) of Refugee Convention.

R (Peter Mahon) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2007] EWCA Civ 945. Whether investigation of complaint against police sufficiently thorough or balanced – permission for judicial review granted by Court of Appeal – proceedings then settled by consent – IPCC subsequently made fresh decision concluding that appellant had indeed been unlawfully arrested – for article in "The Big Issue" see here.

AG (India) v SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 1534. Paragraph 289A of Immigration Rules – indefinite leave to remain as victim of domestic violence – definition must include psychological, physical, sexual or emotional abuse – rejection of account required clear and forceful reasoning. 

SI (mixed Serb/Roma parentage) Kosovo CG [2009] UKAIT 00011. Kosovan of mixed Serb/Roma ethnicity – father killed by ethnic Albanian community on suspicion of collaborating with occupying Serb forces – designated by Tribunal for “Country Guidance”.

Asnath Pengeyo v SSHD [2010] EWCA 1275, [2011] 1 WLR 2552. Appeal against decision to remove on basis of deception – heard by Tribunal in country instead of out of country and allowed – whether Secretary of State permitted to raise jurisdiction on reconsideration – whether Secretary of State's original decision taken in defiance of "basic standards of fairness and morality".

ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 4, [2011] 2 AC 166. Secretary of State proposed to remove failed asylum seeker – her two children were British citizens – landmark decision holding that children's best interests are primary consideration – for media coverage see here.

R (Kenneth Green) v Financial Ombudsman Service [2012] EWHC 1253 (Admin). Challenge to Ombudsman's decision that financial advice on risks of pension drawdown scheme had been misleading – represented claimant pro bono after he suffered stroke and became unable to represent himself – scope of deference to be shown to Ombudsman in light of his particular expertise.

R (XYZ) v Legal Ombudsman (12 October 2012). Advising a very well known Solicitors’ firm on merits of challenging Ombudsman’s decision to publish details of complaint – whether Ombudsman’s controversial policy of publication within ambit of section 150 of the Legal Services Act 2007 or otherwise reasonable, fair or proportionate – Advice also considered by President of Law Society.

R (Abdollahi) v SSHD [2013] EWCA Civ 366, [2013] All ER (D) 119 (Apr). Detention under Immigration Act 1971 – detainee separated from his wife and children for 26 months – whether failure to consult Office of Children's Champion or consider children's best interests made detention unlawful – whether nominal or substantial damages should be awarded.

NS (Kosovo) v SSHD [2013] EWCA Civ 408, [2013] All ER (D) 198 (Mar). Secretary of State unlawfully removed overstayer from United Kingdom without giving notice of decision or right of appeal – judicial review proceedings commenced but settled when Secretary of State subsequently granted out of country right of appeal – whether Tribunal entitled to take prior unlawful removal into account in determining appeal.

MS (Mali) v SSHD (FtT, UT) (AA/01922/2015). Represented daughter of one of wealthiest and most powerful men in Mali – asylum claim based on fear that her father would in accordance with tribal custom force her to marry against her will and that authorities would not offer protection – appeal allowed.

SS (Mauritius) v SSHD [2016] EWCA Civ 926. Unique case in which Secretary of State notified Appellant whilst in prison that she would not deport him, on basis he was British citizen – five years later she made deportation order, stating she did not accept he was British citizen – First-tier Tribunal allowed appeal, accepting Appellant was naturalised – Upper Tribunal overturned First-tier Tribunal’s determination and dismissed appeal (see here), as it did not accept he was British citizen or that deportation would breach Article 8 of ECHR – Court of Appeal granted Appellant permission to appeal and to adduce fresh evidence – at full appeal Secretary of State also adduced fresh evidence – however Court of Appeal ultimately decided Upper Tribunal was wrong to overturn First-tier Tribunal's determination, as its conclusions open to it on evidence and Upper Tribunal had merely disagreed with one aspect of its factual assessment – First-tier Tribunal's determination restored and Secretary of State's application for permission to appeal to Supreme Court refused.

OK (Ukraine) v SSHD (FtT) (PA/02130/2016). Represented a former minister of deposed President Yanukovych in asylum appeal – fear of right wing radical groups in Ukraine – issues of risk, whether authorities able and willing to offer protection, and if internal relocation safe or reasonable.



Co-author of A Practical Guide to Presenting Asylum and Human Rights Claims (September 2003, LexisNexis Butterworths).



  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Amicus: Assisting Lawyers for Justice on Death Row
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Extradition Lawyers Association
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association



  • LL.B (Hons) 2.1, London School of Economics (1994-97)
  • Leonard Sainer Legal Education Foundation Scholarship (1997)
  • Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law (1997-98)
  • Colombos Prize for International Law, Middle Temple (1998)