This practice was formed 20 years ago with a progressive outlook and a clear emphasis on providing a quality service.
Our aspirations have been to seek to effect positive change through case law. As such we have been fortunate to handle a number of high profile cases which have achieved genuine change and become leading authorities setting precedents for others to follow.
A number of areas of challenge have been pursued with the ultimate aim of achieving not only success for the client but also in terms of a wider public interest.
Significant cases in relation to Immigration and Nationality Law or Human Rights issues have been pursued to the highest level.
Within the Nationality context we have carried out pioneering work in relation to the following areas:
- Special Voucher Scheme and the position of British Overseas Citizens/British Protected Persons.
- Provisions relating to stateless persons and British nationals without a right of abode.
- Section 13 British Nationality Act 1981 and the effective renunciation of British Citizenship.
Of these, the Special Voucher Scheme cases were of landmark importance not only in terms of the numbers the outcome potentially affected but also given the challenge related to a scheme which was widely considered objectionable in nature because of its inherently discriminative nature. The voucher scheme was created following the Commonwealth Act 1968 by which essentially, those British passport holders without ancestral connection were required to obtain a voucher to secure entry to the United Kingdom. Our challenge of the scheme related to the gender discriminatory nature of its effect which, after the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Human Rights Act 1998 became untenable. Dozens of judicial review challenges were mounted by ourselves with a lead case pursued under the test case procedure, where upon the Government ultimately revoked the Special Voucher Scheme and passed a special amendment (Section 4b) to the British Nationality Act 1981. The revocation was to ‘correct a historical wrong’. The amendment affected the position of some 50,000 to 100,000 British passport holders who are now permitted to acquire British citizenship by a simple process of registration.
Following these changes further significant strides were made through the appellate process to secure entry of over age dependent children, on the basis of their ‘legitimate expectation’ to accompany a parent in light of the demise of the Special Voucher Scheme.
Other significant case challenges and public interest issues include:
- The rights of those people present within the United Kingdom unlawfully subject to public policy exclusion. The issues raised before the Court of Appeal concerned the entitlement, or not, of certain immigrants to enjoy basic subsistence. In a landmark decision Simon Brown LJ decided that illegality was no bar to assistance. (R v Leicester City Council ex parte Bhikha )
- The Court of Appeal are currently considering, under Article 3 ECHR, the position of severe health case applicants who, if removed, are likely, in most cases, to face death if unable to avail medical treatment abroad. (GS and EO (Article 3 - health cases) India )
- The prohibitive nature of Home Office fees for lodgement of human rights applications for destitute applicants. This has led to the creation of a system of fee waivers. Critically, this allows greater access to destitute applicants asserting their human rights.
- The right of entry and family residence permits for non EU national relatives of an EEA Sponsor.