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1MCB Deputy Head, Ben Hawkin, “wins near-impossible cases by identifying new arguments.”

Legal 500, 2016

“Approaches his preparation pragmatically, which puts clients at ease.”

Legal 500, 2017

“Goes straight to the core of the matter and provides clear and concise advice.”

Legal 500 2020

Ben practises in immigration & asylum, mental health, prison law and public law, with a particular emphasis on human rights issues. He 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, financiers and long term serving prisoners.

He is ranked as a Leading Junior in The UK Legal 500, 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).

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 ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD [2011] UKSC 4 (the landmark Supreme Court ruling on the rights of children and British citizens).

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

Ben has been the Deputy Head of 1MCB Chambers since 2014.

Immigration & asylum

Ben deals with all aspects of immigration, including asylum, humanitarian protection, deportation, European Union issues, entry clearance, settlement, the points based scheme and unlawful detention. He has many years of experience in this field and has represented clients from many different countries around the world.


  • SS (Mauritius) v SSHD [2016] EWCA Civ 926: Unique case in which the Secretary of State notified the appellant whilst serving a prison sentence that she would not deport him, on the basis that he was British citizen – five years later she made a deportation order, stating that 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 that he was a 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 had been open to it on the 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;
  • MS (Mali) v SSHD (FtT, UT) (AA/01922/2015): Represented the 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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”;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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 were eliminated by a now hostile Eritrean government.

Public law & judicial review

Ben’s public law work originally began in the immigration & asylum context, but now includes advising on, and judicial review of, the decisions of all manner of public bodies, such as the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Legal Ombudsman, and the Parole Board.


  • 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;
  • R (XYZ) v Legal Ombudsman (12 October 2012): Advising very well known Solicitors’ firm on merits of challenging Ombudsman’s decision to publish details of complaint against it – 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 (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 (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;
  • 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;
  • R (Viktor Spiro) v Immigration Appeal Tribunal (CA) [2002] Imm AR 356: Judicial review of decision of Immigration Appeal Tribunal – High Court judge considering application also President of same Tribunal – whether precluded on ground of perceived bias.


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


  • Colombos Prize for International Law, Middle Temple (1998)


  • Leonard Sainer Legal Education Foundation Scholarship (1997)


  • LL.B (Hons) 2.1, London School of Economics (1994-97)
  • Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law (1997-98)