Human Rights

David has acted in hundreds of claims for judicial review across a broad range of areas including healthcare, prison law, regulatory proceedings, education, licensing, asylum, immigration and national security matters, and often on further appeal to the Court of Appeal.

He has been a member of the Attorney-General’s panel of Counsel since 2006 and was appointed to the A- Panel in 2015 (re-appointed in 2019). He is regularly instructed in cases that are high profile, and often featured in the national press, and those which relate to very sensitive issues for his clients.

His significant human rights cases include challenges under Articles 3, 5 and 8 to the accommodation of asylum seekers in Napier Barracks (R(NB) v SSHD), the Detention Action case in respect of the use of immigration detention during the Covid-19 lockdown, R(Osborn) v Parole Board in the Supreme Court on the requirements of procedural fairness under Article 5, and R(LW) v Sodexo and SSJ, which is the leading authority on the residual responsibilities of the SSJ for breaches of Articles 3 and 8 by a private prison operator.

In 2015 he was junior counsel to the IPT in the claims about GCHQ surveillance arising from the Edward Snowden leaks.

He has a thorough knowledge of all aspects of procedure for judicial review, including where urgent and immediate relief is needed from the Court.

Selected Cases

  • R(NB) v SSHD [2021] EWHC 1489 (Admin); [2021] 4 W.L.R. 92. Represented the SSHD in this challenge to the accommodation of asylum seekers at Napier former military barracks.
  • R (Abidoye) v SSHD [2020] EWCA Civ 1425: Successful in Court of Appeal over challenge to deportation policy.
  • R(Detention Action) v SSHD [2020] EWHC 732 (Admin): Challenge to part of the Government’s Covid-19 response, namely the continuing immigration detention, and established the wide margin of appreciation for Covid-related operational choices
  • R(LW) v Sodexo and Secretary of State for Justice [2019] EWHC 367 (Admin) [2019] 1 W.L.R. 5654. A challenge to the SSJ for breaches of human rights caused by the private prisoner operator. The leading case on the residual responsibilities of the SSJ.
  • R (Help Refugees Ltd) v SSHD [2017] 4 WLR: Defended the SSHD’s implementation of the ‘Dubs Amendment’ scheme under s.67 of the Immigration Act 2016. Issues in respect of the consultation process, the setting of the number of children to be transferred, and the process adopted.
  • Citizens UK v SSHD [2017] EWHC 2301 (Admin): Defended the SSHD’s procedures following the closure of the camp in Calais (‘The Jungle’).
  • R (X) v National Probation Service [2017] EWCA Civ 155: Lawfulness of separating terrorist offender from his children during probation period, without proceedings under the Children Act.
  • SSHD v ZAT & Others [2016] EWCA Civ 810; [2016] 1 W.L.R. 4894 & R(ZAT) v SSHD [2016] UKUT 61
  • (IAC): The Calais children litigation. This was the joined cases concerning children residing in the camp known as the jungle in Calais. The legal issue was the extent to which the UK was obliged to admit those who claimed to have family in the UK, when they had not claimed asylum in France.
  • R (Pour & Others) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 401 (Admin); [2016] 2 C.M.L.R. 47: Four joined test cases which concerned whether asylum seekers can be returned to Cyprus as a safe third country, given alleged deficiencies in Cypriot procedure and facilities.
  • Liberty v GCHQ & Foreign Secretary [2015] 3 All E.R. 212; [2015] 1 Cr. App. R. 24; [2015] H.R.L.R. 7: David acted as Junior Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal the claim based on alleged mass surveillance that was brought against GCHQ.
  • R (Ali) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 2221 (Admin): This controversial case concerned the lawfulness of the “book ban” that prevented prisoners from receiving books and other material sent to them from outside the prison.
  • R(B) v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 854; [2014] 1 W.L.R. 4188: The “burka ban” case, in the Court of Appeal. This concerned whether the French burka ban prevented removal to France of a young asylum seeker who wore the burka, and would not be permitted to attend school in France.
  • R (Osborn) v Parole Board [2013] UKSC 61; [2014] A.C. 1115; [2013] 3 W.L.R. 1020: Supreme Court gave guidance about the circumstances in which the Parole Board was required to hold an oral hearing in order to comply with its common law duty of fairness and the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.5(4) when determining a prisoner’s application for release or transfer to open prison conditions.
  • L1 v SSHD [2013] EWCA 906: National security appeal from SIAC: issues regarding use of closed material at the strike out stage, and whether an abuse of process to serve a deprivation decision when Appellant out of the country.
  • R (Sturnham) v Parole Board & SSJ [2012] EWCA Civ 452: Prison law: Right to damages for breach of Article 5(4) for a delayed hearing.
  • NP (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 906: Immigration: Whether Secretary of State can rely on internal relocation in an appeal to the UT, when it did not form part of their case in the original refusal or the FTT.
  • R (Chen) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 2531 (Admin): Alleged discrimination in system of accommodation support for asylum seekers.
  • RS (Pakistan) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 434: Immigration / education: Students who fail their examinations cannot remain in the United Kingdom as students whilst waiting to re-sit the examinations, unless they are in the meantime attending a full-time course of study.
  • SS & Others: Sovereign immunity claim – certificate conclusive.) Malaysia [2009] UKAIT 00007. International law: refusal to extend sovereign or diplomatic immunity to the Sultan of Pahang, Malaysia under the State Immunity Act 1978 and the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964.
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