Asylum and immigration
Ben has developed a thriving practice in asylum and immigration law, acting for appellants at all levels.
He has particular experience and expertise in cases engaging the Refugee Convention, humanitarian protection, and human rights law.
He has acted as junior counsel throughout the recent Afghan Country Guidance litigation:
- AS (Afghanistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 873: Clarifying the law on ‘internal relocation’ under the Refugee Convention – the Court of Appeal rejecting a narrow approach previously advocated by the Secretary of State.
- AS (Afghanistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 208,  1 W.L.R. 3065: Complex procedural dispute about the Upper Tribunal’s power to correct mistakes in their decisions, and the proper exercise of discretion in relation to these mistakes.
- AS (Safety of Kabul) Afghanistan CG  UKUT 118 (IAC): Country Guidance on the safety and reasonableness of relocation to Kabul, under the Refugee Convention.
Other notable cases:
- SSHD v Viscu  EWCA Civ 1052: Leading case on whether a Detention and Training Order imposed on a child amounts to ‘imprisonment’ for the purposes of the Citizens Directive and the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016. Led by Allan Briddock.
- Yussuf (meaning of “liable to deportation”)  UKUT 117 (IAC): Regarding ‘liability to deportation’, in particular as it relates to the Secretary of State’s power to revoke Indefinite Leave to Remain held by people who cannot be deported on Refugee Convention or ECHR grounds.
Ben’s focus is securing the best outcome for his individual clients. He believes in the highest quality and most comprehensive representation in the First-tier Tribunal, where most cases are ultimately won or lost. His trial experience as a criminal practitioner has given him a strong foundation for practice in the FTT.
Ben also regularly appears in the Upper Tribunal in complex appeals on points of law, and increasingly in the Court of Appeal, led.
Ben has considerable experience representing children, and adult clients with vulnerabilities. Again his years in the criminal courts gave him a firm foundation for this.
Ben’s Tribunal practice includes, for example:
- Asylum appeals, of all types and complexity
- Asylum appeals on behalf of trafficked women and men
- Deportation appeals, including on behalf of clients with serious mental illness or disability
- Human rights appeals on grounds of family and private life, of varied type and character
- EEA appeals
- Bail applications
Judicial Review and civil claims
Ben has a varied and busy Judicial Review and civil practice, challenging decisions of the State relating to immigration status, and the treatment of individuals in connection with it (detention, accommodation, etc).
Ben has acted in challenges to:
- Unlawful detention under immigration powers
- ‘Fresh claim’ and ‘certification’ decisions on refugee and human rights claims, including ‘Dublin’ cases
- Unlawful delay in deciding asylum claims, particularly on behalf of unaccompanied minors
- Refusal to provide accommodation to detainees to allow their release from detention
- The granting of limited rather than indefinite leave to remain, in cases concerning children or adults with vulnerabilities
- Refusal of entry clearance on grounds of alleged deception
- Trafficking decisions under the NRM
- Transfer decisions under the ‘Dublin III’ Regulation
- Statelessness decisions
During pupillage under the supervision of David Chirico, Ben had particular exposure to asylum and deportation appeals at all levels, and public law challenges in Dublin cases. He assisted on a number of reported cases, including EM (Eritrea) and ors v SSHD  UKSC 11 and R (Habte and RH) v SSHD  EWHC 3295 (Admin).
Crime and related
Ben spent a number of years with a busy criminal practice, appearing almost daily for the defence in the Crown, Youth and Magistrates’ Courts.
He has acted in trials in the Crown Court; confiscation proceedings in the Crown Court; forfeiture proceedings in the Magistrates’; regulatory prosecutions in the Magistrates’; defence of and appeals against ancillary orders (SOPOs, ASBOs, etc); licensing appeals against Local Authorities in the Magistrates’; appeals against sentence and conviction in the Crown Court; hearings of all characters in the Crown, Youth and Magistrates Court.
Ben continues to accept instructions in these areas.
Before coming to the bar, Ben assisted leading solicitors in a top civil liberties firm, involved in the preparation and conduct of:
- Inquests arising out of deaths in prison or police custody.
- Civil actions for damages against the police and prison service for false imprisonment, assault, negligence, misfeasance, and under the HRA 1998.
- Judicial review of decisions of the police and prison service.
While studying Ben provided pro bono bail representation for immigration detainees, and volunteered with the National Centre for Domestic Violence.
Before coming to legal practice, Ben worked in the NGO sector for several years. He led a programme of work that aimed to enforce and develop the legal obligations on UK-based extraction companies to account for their impacts on people overseas and the environment, alongside campaign work publicising those impacts.