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

Bernadette co-edits a free immigration and asylum update (IAU), described as “very useful” by solicitors in the Legal 500 2016. IAU’s aim is to help busy practitioners keep abreast of the latest case law. Sign up by e-mail at iau@1mcb.com.

She was involved in the launch of Evolve – Foundation for International Legal Assistance  and in its ongoing work preparing written submissions for criminal appeals and re-sentencing in Uganda.

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

Prior to pupillage Bernadette developed an interest in restorative justice and mediation whilst volunteering on youth referral order panels for a couple of years as a panel chair, facilitating discussions with young people about reparation and minimising the risk of reoffending.

Immigration & asylum

Bernadette’s interest in and passion for this area of law grew during the time she spent as a volunteer at Lambeth Law Centre. She is committed to representing legally aided clients.

Bernadette advises and represents in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, in appeals involving immigration, asylum and human rights, Article 8 ECHR, deportation, EEA applications, entry clearance, nationality law including deprivation of citizenship, domestic violence, unaccompanied children and business and immigration law. Bernadette can also advise and draft challenges to refusals that attract a right of administrative review. She also advises and acts in judicial review in this area.

Bernadette can accept instructions directly from members of the public who wish to make investor, entrepreneur, student, entry clearance and family reunion visa applications. She can assist at all stages of the application.

Having gained extensive experience of criminal law during pupillage, her cross over knowledge and expertise in criminal defence is valuable in deportation cases.

Recent 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.

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, he should be treated as akin to a child and granted asylum.

Pro bono

Bernadette regularly does pro bono work for immigration clients.

Between 2012 and 2015 she acted pro bono 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 provided representation for the Article 8 Deportation Advice Project (ADAP). 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 assistance to the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU).

Prior to coming to the Bar Bernadette volunteered for over two years with Lambeth Law Centre, working as a senior caseworker for the last year. She continued to volunteer, helping with enquiries, during pupillage and assisted on some pro bono matters during 2015 and 2016.

Public law & judicial review

Bernadette acts for clients in judicial review proceedings in both the immigration tribunal and the Administrative Court in all areas of immigration and asylum law, such as refusals of further submissions and unlawful detention.

She is also able to accept instructions in non-immigration related matters.

Bernadette is able to accept instructions for emergency injunctions and to act at short notice to challenge decisions for removal or deportation.

Recent cases

R (on the application of TLJ) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2016): This was a challenge to a decision of the SSHD not to recognise that TLJ, a Jamaican, had acquired indefinite leave to remain by virtue of being settled in the UK on 1st 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.

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 UKBA that the claimant had previously made a human rights application which had never been decided.

Family

Bernadette has experience acting for vulnerable clients in the family courts and is able to accept instructions in a range of areas, including contact and residence, care proceedings, ancillary relief and cases with a domestic violence element.

Housing

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

Pro bono

Bernadette volunteered with the housing team at Lambeth Law Centre prior to pupillage, assisting with homelessness, possession and disrepair cases.

Community care

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

Pro bono

Bernadette volunteered with the housing team at Lambeth Law Centre prior to pupillage, assisting with homelessness, possession and disrepair cases.

Education

  • BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Studies (First)
  • MSc International Relations (Merit)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law (Distinction)
  • Bar Vocational Course

Scholarships

  • Wilfred Watson Scholarship Award (Gray’s Inn, 2008)
  • Overseas Internship Scholarship Award (Gray’s Inn, 2011)

Seminars

  • July 2013: ‘Strategic Case Preparation’
  • February 2013: ‘Long Term Immigration Detention – What Right to Liberty?’

Languages

  • Spanish (intermediate).
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