Category: News

Foreign national prisoners: rights, entitlements and challenges

Gwawr Thomas is to present a webinar on the rights of foreign national prisoners.  Titled ‘Foreign national prisoners: rights, entitlements and challenges’, the webinar will examine some of the issues that foreign nationals face when navigating the prison system and explore how to effectively influence and challenge the decisions that affect them.

The webinar will cover:

  • Repatriation post Brexit
  • Categorisation
  • Release on Temporary Licence
  • Home Detention Curfew
  • Immigration detainees held in the prison estate post-sentence

The content is suitable both for prison law practitioners and for immigration and criminal lawyers who want to expand their knowledge so as to be able to better advise their foreign national prisoner clients as to their rights and entitlements and identify potential challenges.

Hosted by MBL Seminars, the webinar will be streamed at 12:30pm on 9th December 2021 and will remain available to delegates for 90 days.  To book now, please click here.

Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash.






Jemma Levinson successfully runs defence of mistaken recognition in armed robbery trial

Jemma Levinson secured an unanimous acquittal for her client who faced a serious allegation of armed robbery using a taser.  He had been named as the perpetrator by the complainant, who knew him.  The challenge faced by the defence was further compounded by the fact that, when police attended the defendant’s home address to arrest him, they found and seized a similar taser to the one that had been used in the robbery.

Despite these formidable evidential obstacles, Jemma was able to secure her client’s acquittal in just over an hour.

Interview with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

In a podcast for the Junior Housing Law Practitioners’ Association, Geeta Koska and Thembi Fakoya-Sales, solicitor at Mary Ward Legal Centre, interviewed the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary.  The timely interview follows the recent publication of a report addressing housing, land and property rights in the context of internal displacement in the face of climate change, development and urbanisation.

The podcast is available here.

Read Geeta’s analysis of the report, the responsibility of businesses for displacement and the international mechanisms available to UK-based lawyers and activists seeking to promote accountability, here.

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash.


Deportation: Court of Appeal to consider definition of “foreign criminal”

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal in Zulfiqar, in which the Upper Tribunal sought to grapple with the inconsistent definitions of “foreign criminal” contained in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 and the UK Borders Act 2007.

Shuyeb Muquit acts for Mr Zulfiqar, who was a British citizen when he was convicted of murder, but subsequently renounced that citizenship on qualified terms. When those terms went unfulfilled, the Secretary of State refused to reinstate his citizenship and instead served a deportation order.

The Upper Tribunal’s judgment in Zulfiqar (‘Foreign criminal’; British citizen) [2020] UKUT 312 (IAC) was reported as guidance on the reach of the statutory ‘foreign criminal’ deportation provisions, namely that it applies to potentially British citizen criminals. In this both factually and legally unprecedented case, the Court of Appeal will consider whether provisions intended for use against foreign citizens extend to persons such as Mr Zulfiqar, who were British when committing the offence by reference to which deportation was said to be justified, but who renounced their British citizenship in circumstances entirely unconnected to the criminal conduct.

1MCB welcomes new tenant

Chambers is delighted to announce that Lucy Chapman has accepted an offer of tenancy following the successful completion of pupillage.

Lucy accepts instructions across chambers’ practice areas, including crime, family and housing.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Lucy was a trade union advocate and ran her own award winning pro bono project for social housing tenants, CommUnify, having been highlighted as an individual who has made a significant contribution to access to justice by the Access to Justice Foundation.


John Benson QC prosecutes murder of 22 month old child

John Benson QC recently prosecuted a 25 year old male for the murder of his partner’s 22 month old child, who died from a catastrophic head injury. The child had also suffered additional injuries including bi-lateral retinal haemorrhages.

This was a complex and emotionally challenging case involving a host of medical experts for both the prosecution and defence giving evidence principally in the fields of neuropathology and pathology. The defendant did not deny that the injuries had been suffered when the child was in his sole care over a period of about 45 minutes: the primary issue at trial was whether the injuries were suffered accidentally in a fall downstairs as claimed by the defendant or, as the Crown maintained, unlawfully.

Prior to trial, the defendant had indicated that he would be prepared to plead guilty to manslaughter – a proposal that was considered acceptable to the Crown. However, he later changed his mind and was convicted by the jury of murder. The press described the defendant has having ‘gambled and lost’.

Gwawr Thomas successfully defends man accused of faking his own death

Gwawr Thomas recently secured the acquittal of a nurse accused of faking his own death in order to benefit from a substantial life insurance payment.

The defendant’s wife had pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation, having instigated the bogus insurance claim and submitted false documents in support of it. The fraud came to light when it had emerged that she had posted pictures on social media of a family outing to a theme park on the day of her husband’s supposed burial.

The Crown relied on three key pieces of evidence to demonstrate that the defendant had been complicit in the fraud: firstly, the fact that a photograph of his own death certificate was located in the camera roll of his phone; secondly the fact that his fingerprints were found on a hard copy of the same death certificate which had been concealed at his home address, and his alleged lies at interview. However, Gwawr argued that this evidence was equally consistent with the defendant having uncovered the fraud at a later date, and that there was no evidence from which the jury could infer that he had actually been party to any untrue representation to the insurance company: as such, there was no case to answer.

The judge agreed with Gwawr’s analysis of the evidence and directed that the jury return a not guilty verdict.

Salma Lalani secures acquittal of defendant charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life

The defendant had been released from prison on licence after serving a sentence for drugs offences. He had made significant progress in his rehabilitation by securing a job and re-establishing his family relationships.

However, a few months after his release he was informed by the police that he was the subject of a Threat to Life notice. As such, it was deemed that there was a real and immediate threat to his life, but he was told no more. The defendant assumed that the threat emanated from a £250,000 drugs debt where he had refused to be used as an intermediary. In the following weeks both he had his partner received sinister calls and visits to their workplace.

The police received intelligence that the defendant had obtained a firearm and armed officers executed a search warrant at his family home in the early hours of the morning. When they searched the property they did indeed find a fully working firearm with four live rounds loaded in the magazine ready to be fired. The defendant already had two previous convictions for possession of firearms and the jury was aware that he had been in prison and released on licence. The prosecution submitted that the intention of anyone who has a firearm loaded and ready to be fired could really only be for one thing – to shoot someone if and when required: the defendant had been threatened and that may well be the reason he armed himself with a loaded gun to extinguish the threat.

The defence was able to exclude incomplete telephone evidence, as well as question the investigation and the manner the police adopted in issuing the Threat to Life notice. The defendant maintained from the outset that he had never intended to harm anyone but simply to brandish the weapon if the need arose to scare someone away. He was acquitted.

Cynthia McFarlane recognised as Mediation Achiever of the Year

Cynthia McFarlane has been named Mediation Achiever of the Year at the Personal Injury Awards 2020.

Cynthia is a committed advocate of mediation and is dedicated to demonstrating its benefits to professional and lay clients alike.  A large proportion of her mediation work features cases of personal injury in the context of accidents at work in a specialist equine or equestrian context involving jockeys and racehorses.  Most recently she was called upon to speak about the benefits of mediation at the Horse Tech Conference, a global event in which she specifically focused on mediation during the time of Covid-19.  Her webinar titled ‘Covid-19: Out of Quarantine and into the Fire?’ addressed the recent Covid-19 government guidance on responsible contractual behaviour and the enforcement of contracts and the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – including  mediation – in legal disputes during these unprecedented times, and further demonstrates her commitment to bringing the benefits of mediation to a global audience.

Cynthia’s principal objective is to use mediation as a powerful tool to encourage inclusivity in the horse industry, to assist minority groups of all backgrounds and to tackle racism in order to cause significant shifts within that industry.

For further information about Cynthia’s mediation work, please visit For further information about her specialist equine law work, please see

Guide to defending against evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus swept through the UK in March 2020, the government suspended new evictions and a bold commitment was made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home”.

Despite the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic, the initial stay on possession proceedings was lifted on 20th September 2020.  A new strategy and procedure has been introduced whereby notice periods have been extended and there is a temporary ban on most evictions until 11th January 2021.

In order to navigate these changes, housing barrister Geeta Koska has prepared a short guide to support advisers and solicitors facing residential possession proceedings and evictions.  As the new measures fall short of the promise that tenants would not be forced out of their homes, the guide considers the tools available to protect tenants against being made homeless this winter. 

As 2020 draws to a close, we continue to wait for the Renter’s Reform Bill, which would abolish “no fault evictions” under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, and a realistic plan to mitigate the economic and social cost of the pandemic.  In these challenging circumstances, 1MCB’s housing team will continue to defend and promote the rights of tenants.

The complete guide can be downloaded here.

Michael Sprack represents ex-employee in High Court gagging order case

The solicitors’ firm, Vardags Ltd, alleged that the ex-employee had leaked confidential information. Michael Sprack, representing the ex-employee, successfully resisted Vardag’s arguments that the hearing should be held in private with reporting restrictions, that the Defendant should be required to provide information and that the Defendant should pay the Claimant’s costs of £68,000, which were reserved.

The underlying allegations relate to a leak, allegedly by the ex-employee, of an ‘all staff email’ reminding female staff that they could dress in a ‘discreetly sexy’ manner. Both the original leak and the recent High Court hearing have received extensive media coverage.

The case raises complex questions about the scope of the equitable and contractual obligations of confidence, as well as the right to free expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Cynthia McFarlane shortlisted for Personal Injury Awards 2020 Mediation Achiever of the Year

We are delighted to announce that Cynthia McFarlane has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Mediation Achiever of the Year category at the Personal Injury Awards 2020.

The objectives of the awards are to identify high standards of practice and to inspire others to emulate the achievements demonstrated by those who have been shortlisted.

Cynthia is an experienced barrister who has demonstrated a track record of successes achieved through the use of mediation to benefit her clients.  She used innovative and effective approaches and showed an ability to think outside the box.

We are proud that she has shown dedication to advocating the benefits of mediation to the profession and clients, and that her contribution to the wider legal community has been recognised.

Cynthia has been commended as “not only excellent as a barrister, but she is also amazing as a mediator. Having attended some mediation sessions that were conducted by her, I can certainly say that she takes a pragmatic approach for all the parties concerned and she does not over complicate things but rather makes the process easy to understand by all parties.”

It is wonderful that her work has been recognised and included as a finalist for the 2020 awards.

The virtual award ceremony will take place on 1st December 2020. To watch the event please register to live stream here.