Bernadette Smith (2010)

Teams

Immigration, Public Law, Family, Housing & Community Care

Profile

Bernadette has a busy practice with a focus on immigration and asylum. She has a particular commitment to representing publicly funded clients and vulnerable clients and is experienced in doing so, in all areas of her practice.

Bernadette and Vyaj Lovejoy edit a free immigration and asylum update e-mail (IAU) to help busy practitioners keep abreast of the latest caselaw.  

Public Access

Bernadette is able to assist clients directly with visa applications such as for entry clearance as a spouse or child, as a visitor, student, entrepreneur or worker.  She is able to assist at all stages of advising, preparing and submitting the application.  Clients can contact Bernadette by e-mailing visa.enquiries@1mcb.com or by calling the Clerks.  

More information about Public Access can be found on the Bar Council website.  

Education

  • BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Studies (First) Royal Holloway, University of London
  • MSc International Relations (Merit) Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction) London Metropolitan Univeristy

Practice

Immigration and Asylum

Bernadette's interest in and passion for this area of law was given firm foundations during the time she spent as a volunteer at Lambeth Law Centre. Bernadette advises and represents in the First-Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, including the detained fast track, in appeals involving immigration, asylum, Article 8, deportation, EEA applications, nationality law including deprivation of citizenship, domestic violence, unaccompanied children and the points based system. Having gained extensive experience of criminal law during pupillage her cross over knowledge and expertise in criminal defence is valuable in deportation cases.

Bernadette also acts for clients in order to assist them to judicially review immigration decisions.  She is able to accept instructions for emergency injunctions and to act at short notice to challenge decisions for removal or deportation.  She is able to advise on administrative review and onward judicial review of Home Office decisions.

Notable Cases

AB (British citizenship: deprivation; Deliallisi considered) Nigeria [2016] UKUT 451 Bernadette acted as junior counsel in this case which held that in deprivation appeals the Tribunal must consider the reasonably foreseeable consequences of deprivation. In determining the reasonably likely consequences of deprivation, it is plainly important to consider what the respondent is, in fact, likely to do in those circumstances.  The Tribunal must take a view as to whether, from its present vantage point, there is likely to be force in any challenge to deportation that the appellant can be expected to bring. The stronger the case, the less likely it will be that the reasonably foreseeable consequences of deprivation will include removal from the United Kingdom.

R on the application of TLJ v Decretary of State for the Home Department [2016]  This was a challenge to a decision of the SSHD not to recognise that TLJ, a Jamaican, acquired indefinite leave to remain by virtue of being settled in the UK on 1 January 1973.  TLJ was only able provide documentary evidence dating back to September 1973.  He filled in the gaps in documentary evidence with witness statements from family members.  The SSHD had not retained entry clearance or any other records. 

The SSHD refused the application on the basis that the witness statements were not acceptable documentary evidence.  She settled the claim in TLJ’s favour upon being challenged and agreed to remake the decision.  In the meantime TLJ submitted further witness statements from friends.  The SSHD refused the application broadly for the same reasons.  TLJ issued a second challenge and the SSHD withdrew the decision again and this time remade the decision granting leave, evidently accepting the witness statement evidence was evidence that she should have taken into account.

SH v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] Following successful judicial review action against the failure to make an asylum decision over many years the Secretary of State granted a period of discretionary leave to the Appellant, who had serious mental health problems.  Following a successful upgrade appeal the Tribunal accepted that owing to the Appellant's considerable learning difficulties that he should be treated as akin to a child and granted asylum.

R on the application of CW v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] Judicial review proceedings successfully resulted in a grant of leave for the Claimant.  This case began as a challenge against removal directions and the failure to accept further submissions as a fresh claim but developed following disclosure from the UKBA that the Claimant had previously made a human rights application which had never been decided.  

Pro Bono

Between 2012 and 2015 Bernadette acted pro bono work for the University of Law (ULaw) bail project which assists detainees who are often vulnerable and have been detained for long periods of time.  She also provides pro bono representation for the Article 8 Deportation Advice Project (ADAP), which is a relatively new project that Bail for Immigration Detainess (BID) is working on in collaboration with the Ulaw. The purpose of the project is to provide legal advice and representation to individuals who have been convicted of criminal offences and who are challenging deportation on Article 8 grounds, and where they are otherwise without assistance due to the absence of legal aid.   

During 2013 she provided regular pro bono work for the Migrant and Refugee Children's Legal Unit (MiCLU). 

Family

Bernadette has experience acting for vulnerable clients in the family courts and is able to accept instructions in a range of areas including care proceedings.

Housing

Bernadette is able to accept instructions in all matters including possession, homelessness and disrepair.

International Criminal Law

In 2014 Bernadette had the opportunity to become involved with assisting lawyers in Uganda pro bono by preparing written submissions for criminal appeals and re-sentencing, in a project run by Tanya Murshed, also at 1MCB.  Following the case of Kigula the imposition of the mandatory death penalty was held to be unlawful and hundreds of prisoners on death row have to go back to be resentenced.  Of those who have been resentenced the vast majority have not had the death penalty confirmed.      

Background

Before coming to the Bar Bernadette volunteered for two and a half years at Lambeth Law Centre in immigration and housing. For the final year she worked as a senior immigration caseworker at the Law Centre taking on both immigration and asylum cases, being supervised in judicial review cases, as well as being involved in providing outreach immigration advice to a domestic violence charity.

She also worked on youth referral order panels for a couple of years as a panel chair, leading discussions with young people and their families about reparation and minimising the risk of reoffending.  During this time she developed a keen interest in restorative justice and mediation.

Memberships

  • Immigration Lawyers Practitioners' Association
  • Young Legal Aid Lawyers
  • Amicus
  • Amnesty International

Languages

  • Spanish (basic-intermediate)