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“Every piece of work undertaken by Soraya has been completed to a very high standard. A delight to work with”

Instructing solicitor

“Soraya is a pleasure to work with. She quickly puts clients at ease and earns their confidence in her well-considered advice. Her case preparation is meticulous and she is always available and willing to discuss the nuances of a particular case with those who instruct her.”

“We were very impressed with the quality of service provided by Soraya generally. Her overall handling of the case was exceptional and we would be honoured to instruct her on future cases.”

“Thank you so much for a successful outcome. The lay client described Soraya’s performance in court as excellent, her cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses revealing and powerful”

Instructing solicitor

“Committed to speaking truth to power”

“A great outcome! The lay client emailed me to say how excellent Soraya was and very pleased with the outcome.”

Instructing solicitor

“Every piece of work undertaken by Soraya has been completed to a very high standard. A delight to work with”

“Soraya always delivers exceptional results”.

“Exceptionally sharp and reliable. Soraya was easy to work with and I look forward to instructing her again.”

Soraya combines a busy Crown Court practice with an established career in international human rights. She is known for her robust advocacy, methodical analysis, and exceptional client care.

Soraya is an engaging trial advocate, frequently instructed in cases involving serious violence, large scale drugs trafficking and firearms offences, and is well regarded for her sensitive witness handling skills and strategic case preparation. She has prosecuted and defended in cases with an international and human rights element, including the trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation, historic child cruelty and sex offences, and large, multi-handed drugs and money laundering conspiracies. Soraya has been led and appeared alone in regulatory and criminal matters, and is often instructed by governments, large consultancies and small boutique dispute advisory firms to advise on on money laundering and terrorist financing legislation.

Soraya is an established expert in capital defence and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa, with her work towards abolishing the death penalty being described as ‘groundbreaking’. Before coming to the Bar, Soraya spearheaded Reprieve’s strategic casework in the MENA region, and has frequently appeared before the United Nations as an advocate and expert on state compliance with international law.

She has guest lectured at Leiden University on terrorism and human rights, and recently at Goldsmiths University in London on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism to hold states to account for their human rights record.

In her international criminal practice, Soraya has been instructed in peoples’ genocide tribunals, as well as in cases involving victims of state-sponsored sexual violence and gender-based atrocity crimes, and has advised on complicity for war crimes of national banks and whether domestic legislation complies with the duty to prosecute genocide and war crimes.  She is trained and experienced in the conduct of Istanbul-protocol compliant investigations into torture and ill-treatment.

Soraya is an appointed member of the Accountability Unit, an NGO focusing on  providing urgent legal support to obtain redress for survivors of gender based rights violations in conflict settings and hold to account perpetrators of conflict related sexual violence. Soraya is also an appointed member of the Executive Committee of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.

Soraya is committed to enhancing access to international remedies. She frequently advises on strategic litigation before the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as on sanctions regimes, particularly under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 and other global Magnitsky laws aimed at holding perpetrators and entities alleged to have been involved in gross human rights abuses to account.

 

Crime

Soraya has a busy Crown Court practice, prosecuting and defending across the spectrum of offences, with a focus on serious violence, financial crimes, firearms and weapons offences and large-scale drugs conspiracies.  Soraya is often instructed in cases involving an international or human rights element.

 Soraya is an engaging trial advocate, known for her rigorous preparation and sensitive witness handling skills, particularly in cases where defendants are unfit to stand trial or vulnerable witnesses.

Recent instructions include child sexual assault allegations involving s.28 pre-recorded cross examination, multi-handed money laundering and drugs conspiracies, grievous bodily harm, and sexual assault on a trans woman.

Cases

R v MG and others (2021, Isleworth Crown Court): instructed to defend in a multi-handed ‘county lines’ conspiracy to supply Class A drugs across England.

R v HL (2021, Woolwich Crown Court): secured the acquittal of a victim of modern slavery with severe learning disabilities for firearms offences who had been ‘cuckooed’ and exploited by an organised criminal group to store ammunition in his home.

R v FN and Others (2021, Isleworth Crown Court): successfully prosecuting a multi-handed drugs conspiracy involving the commercial production of cocaine.

R v JP (2021, Kingston Crown Court):  Soraya was commended for her “very able” submissions resulting in a 2.6-year sentence for a s.18 GBH, significantly below the category range, in which the client had caused multiple, serious injuries, including attempting to gouge the complainant’s eyes out.

R v CS (2021, Snaresbrook Crown Court): successfully prosecuted conspiracy to supply 2kg of cocaine and possession of criminal property.

R v MS (2021, Kingston Crown Court): successfully argued that the court should step outside the mandatory minimum for weapons offences owing to her client’s documented history of self-harm.

R v NS (2021, Inner London Crown Court): successfully prosecuted a conspiracy to launder money committed over several months involving the use of ‘WhatsApp’ adverts as a means of layering the laundered money.

R v OO (2021, Woolwich Crown Court): Soraya was commended for her ‘elegant’ submissions resulting in a substantially reduced sentence for possession with intent to supply class A drugs for the holder of a drugs line, with offences committed whilst on bail.

R v BS (2021, Woolwich Crown Court): instructed in a trial of the act where the defendant faced one count of attempting to communicate with a child under the age of 16.

R v VP (2020, Kingston Crown Court): prosecuting possession of firearms and offensive weapons.

R v SH (2020, Guildford Crown Court): following successful submissions of no case to answer, the client was acquitted of assault

Metropolitan Police v AV (2020, Willesden Magistrates Court):  successfully opposing a police closure order for a venue in West London by challenging police evidence relating to the use of the Gang Matrix.

R v MT (2020, Southwark Crown Court): successfully prosecuting a ‘one punch’ GBH in which the complainant suffered long term impairment to their hearing and sense of smell.

R v MC (2020, Central Criminal Court): instructed in an appeal against conviction relating to multiple counts of insurance fraud.

R v AC (2020, Croydon Crown Court): successfully argued at sentencing for a knife point robbery that defendants aged between 18 to 21 should receive special consideration in sentencing.

R v MSV (2020, Southwark Crown Court): case involving a trafficked person and the large-scale commercial cultivation of cannabis inside a luxury London home.

R v XX (2019, Croydon Crown Court): successfully prosecuting one count of causing a witness to fear harm for being involved in criminal proceedings.

International human rights

Soraya has an established career in international human rights spanning over ten years, with particular expertise in strategic litigation before UN mechanisms on behalf of victims seeking to hold governments to account for egregious human rights abuses, resulting in a range of successful opinions before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

She is regularly instructed by NGOs and victims of egregious human rights abuses, either seeking redress before international mechanisms or seeking to identify whether domestic legislation complies with international law.

Soraya has particular expertise in addressing the nexus between international obligations and domestic law, with a focus on victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking in both a criminal and labour context. She has trained prosecutors on the application of the non-punishment principle and state compliance with anti-trafficking provisions.

Soraya is adept at advising on human rights and business, particularly in the context of labour laws, discrimination and international law. For example, Soraya was recently instructed to provide a wide-ranging assessment of whether Jordan’s domestic employment and social security  laws met international minimum standards for non-discrimination.

Soraya frequently advises on sanctions regimes and measures, particularly under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 and other global Magnitsky laws aimed at holding perpetrators and entities alleged to have been involved in gross human rights abuses to account.

Soraya has made written and oral submissions before various UN fora, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee Against Torture, and the Universal Periodic Review, on developments in the application of international law relating to juvenile justice, the right to protest, counterterrorism, and the death penalty.

Soraya has also authored best practice manuals on the use of international law in domestic proceedings and provides training to NGOs, human rights defenders and lawyers.

International criminal law

Soraya has a developing international criminal law practice, drawing on her extensive knowledge of the MENA region, frequently advising on issues around complicity for genocide or war crimes by entities and banks in the MENA region with respect to alleged atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria. She frequently advises on investigation of atrocity crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2021, Soraya was appointed to the legal team of the Accountability Unit, an NGO promoting the rights of victims and survivors of gender-based conflict in the South Caucuses and the Middle East with a key focus on Turkey.

Soraya was also instructed in the Uyghur Tribunal, investigating allegations of ongoing crimes against humanity and possible genocide committed by the Peoples’ Republic of China against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim ethnic groups in North western China.

Actions against the police

Soraya brings a decade of experience holding governments, police and security forces to account in international tribunals and experience as a criminal barrister to a developing practice in actions against the police.

Achievements

Education

  • BPTC, City Law School, City University of London
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP University Law School
  • BA (Hons) Arabic and Hebrew, The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Memberships

  • Executive Committee of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
  • CPS Panel advocate – Grade 2
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • The Accountability Unit

Languages

  • English (native)
  • Arabic (native)
  • French (native)
  • Hebrew (fluent)
  • Spanish (intermediate)
  • Farsi (beginner)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (beginner)
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