Category: News

Iain Edwards, Benjamin Hawkin, Bernadette Smith, Salma Lalani & Amritpal Bachu recognised as leading juniors in Legal 500

Five members of 1MCB Chambers have been ranked in the 2022 edition of Legal 500.  Congratulations to Iain Edwards, Ben Hawkin, Bernadette Smith, Salma Lalani and Amritpal Bachu.

Iain Edwards was ranked for international crime and extradition:

A composed and highly competent advocate. Very experienced in international criminal law matters with a concomitant comprehensive understanding of this area of the law.”

Iain is a seasoned and compassionate barrister specialising in serious crime.  He represents defendants charged with the gravest of offences and has a particular expertise in international crimes and UN sanctions work.

Benjamin Hawkin was ranked for immigration (including business immigration):

He goes straight to the core of the matter and provides clear and concise advice.”

Ben practises in immigration & asylum, mental health, prison law and public law, with a particular emphasis on human rights issues. He has represented victims of human rights violations, leaders of political groups, and other prominent individuals. Ben has also been involved in a number of groundbreaking cases in the higher courts.

Bernadette Smith was ranked for immigration (including business immigration):

She has a tremendous success rate with the most difficult of cases and is a first point of call for cases involving vulnerable clients.”

Bernadette is an immigration, asylum and public law specialist who is committed to representing publicly funded clients. Her work focuses on long-running complex asylum, deportation and EEA cases.  She has a particular interest in cross-cutting migrant welfare and justice issues arising out of her work with community organisations and charities.

Salma Lalani was ranked for crime:

Salma is a dynamic advocate who will always approach a case with exceptional care and skill, and provides advice that is both practical and reassuring.”

Salma specialises mainly in criminal defence work and has developed a highly successful practice encompassing all areas of serious and complex crime.  She is a well-respected leading junior highly sought after by solicitors who are impressed by her sensible, thorough and well-balanced approach to often difficult matters.

Amritpal Bachu was ranked for social housing:

Amritpal is dedicated, reliable and highly professional, and has gone above and beyond exploring all avenues to secure the best results.

Amritpal specialises in social housing and employment law. A passionate and approachable barrister, he acts in complex cases involving possession, unlawful eviction and disrepair, with a particular focus on anti-social behaviour and homelessness cases intersecting with discrimination law.



Lucy Chapman appointed Bar Council Social Mobility Advocate

Chambers is pleased to announce that Lucy Chapman has been selected for the Bar Council’s “I Am The Bar” scheme as a Social Mobility Advocate for 2021.

The scheme highlights barristers from diverse “non-traditional” backgrounds – state schooled, non-Oxbridge educated, often with characteristics that are underrepresented in the profession – with the aim of inspiring those from similar backgrounds, or who do not fit the common, outdated perception of what a barrister should be, to consider a career at the Bar.

Lucy’s journey to the Bar has been unconventional. A s a career changer, she was inspired to become a barrister after a number of years as a trade union representative, having worked in libraries, pubs, retail and the performing arts.  Asked why she had put herself forward for the scheme, Lucy explained “I hope to encourage others with disabilities and those from non-traditional backgrounds to consider the Bar.  It is vital for the public to see themselves and their experiences reflected in a diverse profession.”

You can read more about Lucy and why the scheme is important to her here.

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