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

Instructing solicitor

“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

“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 charismatic, diligent and personable barrister, combining a busy Crown Court practice with an established career in international human rights. Soraya is known for her robust advocacy, methodical analysis, and exceptional client care.

Soraya joined 1MCB Chambers as a tenant in November 2020 after a third six, following completion of pupillage with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There, she prosecuted a range of offences exclusively in the Crown Court. During her time at the CPS, Soraya was involved in a number of complex prosecutions for trafficking for sexual exploitation, historic child cruelty and sexual assault, drugs trafficking and serious violence offences.

Before coming to the Bar, Soraya spearheaded Reprieve’s strategic casework on the death penalty in the Middle East and North Africa for six years, leading the organisation’s work on some of the most high-profile cases involving victims of human rights abuses facing imminent execution. She frequently appeared before the United Nations, on expert panels in the UK and EU parliaments, and has guest lectured at Leiden University on human rights in the context of counterterrorism.

Soraya is committed to enhancing access to domestic and international mechanisms for victims seeking to hold governments to account for human rights abuses and frequently works pro bono alongside NGOs, human rights defenders, victims and survivor. She frequently advises on sanctions regimes, particularly under the Global Human Rights Sanction Regulations 2020 and so called Magnitsky laws.

Crime

Soraya is regularly instructed in the youth court, magistrates court and Crown Court across a range of offences including sexual offences, fraud, firearms, assaults ranging in severity and drug offences.

Soraya has quickly developed a practice specialising in cases where fitness to plead or stand trial may be an issue, as well as cases involving vulnerable defendants or witnesses, owing to her strong client care, sensitive approach to cross examination and rigorous preparation.

Soraya has particular expertise in cases where victims of modern slavery or human trafficking are facing prosecution and are referred to the National Referral Mechanism.  She has also successfully completed the Advocacy and the Vulnerable training.

In addition to her general crime practice, Soraya has advised governments, large consultancies and small boutique dispute advisory firms on money laundering and terrorist financing legislation.

Recent cases

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 10 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 (such as A (minor) v Egypt (opinion no.29 of 2019) and urgent UN interventions in cases where there is an imminent risk to life (see A and Others v the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Communication 4/2015 ).

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.

Soraya is trained to conduct interviews with victims and survivors of torture and ill-treatment in line the Istanbul Protocol for the purpose of official investigations.

International criminal law

Soraya continues to develop a practice in international criminal law, particularly in the 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.

As of September 2020, Soraya is appointed as a senior researcher to 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

  • CPS Panel advocate
  • Bar Human Rights Committee

Languages

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