Raza specialises in public law, with an emphasis on immigration and human rights. Raza was appointed silk in 2010, and nominated in 2013 year as Human Rights Silk of the Year, having previously been awarded Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards in 2007. In 2013 Raza was listed among the top 100 silks practising in all fields at the UK bar.
Raza has appeared in almost 30 cases in the Supreme Court or House of Lords. In the last ten, he has appeared as leading advocate, on each occasion successfully.Raza has a significant international practice. He regularly appears before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He regularly advises and is instructed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Raza was recently instructed in the successful extradition defence of David Kezerashivili, former Defence Minister for Georgia, before the French Courts. He appeared last year in the first successful judicial review challenge in the British Virgin Islands to the refusal of a work permit (Citco and Gillespie). He is presently instructed in a judicial review challenge to a refusal of permanent residence in the Cayman Islands by the owner of the largest hotel chain in Europe.
Raza is regularly instructed by premiership footballers, other high profile individuals and NGOs such as Amnesty International and the AIRE Centre. He also retains a deep commitment to and heavy involvement in publicly funded work.
Raza has a particular interest in legal issues arising from due process and closed material proceedings, having been involved in SIAC cases for the last 15 years in most of the leading cases (Belmarsh, control orders, national security expulsions). He has also appeared in a number of cases concerning exclusion and free speech (Farrakhan, Naik, Lord Carlile).
This year, Raza successfully appeared before the Supreme Court in EM (Eritrea) (February 2014), a case concerning the relationship between fundamental rights and the Dublin II Regulation. He successfully appeared in Tarrakhel v Switzerland (November 2014), where the Grand Chamber reduced the presumption of compliance with legal obligations amongst EU and CoE member states to zero and held that a return without specific assurances of an Afghan family to Italy under the Dublin II Regulation would violate Article 3 ECHR.
Raza is currently instructed in FV (Italy) before the Supreme Court on the application of the enhanced protection test under the EU Citizens’ Directive, and before the Luxembourg Court in a Ukrainian sanctions case alleging fundamental rights breaches. He is presently instructed in a test case before the Strasbourg Court on the compatibility of the UK’s temporally unlimited immigration detention regime with Article 5 (JN v UK). Raza is currently instructed in the leading domestic cases concerning the challenges to expulsion on grounds of extreme ill health (AE (Algeria); GM (India). He is also presently instructed on a test case concerning exclusion from refugee status, and in particular whether expiation is part of the test (AH (Algeria) (No 2).
Last year, Raza successfully appeared before the Court of Justice on behalf of the AIRE Centre in MA and BT, where the CJEU ruled that the Dublin II Regulation had to be read subject to the best interests of the child.
In 2012, Raza successfully appeared in the seven-member Supreme Court decision in RT (Zimbabwe) (July 2012) where the Supreme Court affirmed that the right not to hold a political opinion was protected by both international human rights law and the Refugee Convention. Raza also successfully appeared before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg in NS v UK on behalf of the UNHCR, a case concerning the Dublin II Regulation and the right to asylum (December 2011). He successfully appeared in JD and Others (March 2012), a test case on the second appeals test in the Court of Appeal which refined to the point of effectively overruling the previous Court of Appeal authority of PR (Sri Lanka). He successfully appeared before the Court of Appeal in KA and Others (July 2012), a test case on the tracing duty owed in EU law to unaccompanied minors. He successfully appeared before the Court of Appeal in AH (Algeria) (April 2012), the first case to consider the meaning of “serious” in Article 1F(b) Refugee Convention.
Raza has appeared as advocate in the Supreme Court on ten occasions successfully. Raza successfully appeared as advocate both in the last case to be heard by the House of Lords (BA Nigeria, July 2009), concerning fresh claims to asylum, and in the first case heard by the Supreme Court (AKM and Ors, October 2009), concerning the vires of subordinate legislation implementing UN Sanctions. The House of Lords considered his submissions in BA (Nigeria) to be “excellent”, “attractive” and “enticing”. Raza successfully appeared as advocate in the landmark Supreme Court in HJ Iran (July 2010, refugee claims by gay applicants), where the Supreme Court reversed a line of Court of Appeal authority and held that “discretion” was no answer to a refuge claim.
He also successfully appeared in the nine-member Court decision in Lumba (March 2011), where the Supreme Court reversed a line of Court of Appeal authority and affirmed the orthodox approach to the tort of false imprisonment in the context of an unlawful exercise of public law detention powers. The Supreme Court also strengthened the Hardial Singh protections against protracted immigration detention. He also successfully appeared in Shepherd Kambadzi (May 2011), where the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Court of Appeal and held that detention in breach of a policy requirement to conduct reviews meant that the tort was complete. The Supreme Court referred to him as “expert” and “very experienced” counsel.
Raza also successfully appeared in FA (Iraq) (May 2011), concerning the EU principle of equivalence in relation to appellate remedies provided against refusals of subsidiary protection, where the Supreme Court decided to make a reference to the Court of Justice. Subsequently the Home Office conceded the case and amended primary legislation.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights gave judgment in two of Raza’s cases in July 2011: Al-Skeini, a landmark judgment on the reach of extra-territorial jurisdiction under Art 1, and Al-Jeddah, a case concerning the law of attribution and the relationship between UNSCRs contemplating internment and Art 5.
In 2010, Raza successfully appeared before the European Court of Human Rights in Al-Saadoon (breach of interim measures and exposure to death penalty), His important Court of Appeal cases in 2010-11 included Pankina (PBS and immigration rules), Abdi 2 (appeals and the Hardial Singh principles) and MK (Tunisia) (appeals from outside the jurisdiction).
Over the last ten years, Raza has been instructed in 29 cases in the House of Lords or Supreme Court, including the Belmarsh case (2004) concerning the indefinite internment of foreign terrorist suspects, and the subsequent A (No.2) case (2005) concerning the admissibility of evidence derived from torture.
Raza was instructed by the NGOs JUSTICE and Liberty in Limbuela (2005) and in Ullah (2004), in which the House or Lords respectively declared the denial of basic subsistence to asylum seekers incompatible with human rights, and held that the application of the ECHR in immigration cases was not restricted to Article 3 (prohibition on torture etc). Raza appeared in the leading Article 8 cases in the House of Lords: Huang (2007) and Chikwamba (2008), which concerned the meaning and content of the proportionality test under Article 8 (family life), and in JJ and Others (2007) and AN (2009), which concerned the ‘control order’ legislation enacted in the aftermath of the Belmarsh ruling.
Raza appeared before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in A and Ors (internment, 2009), and was instructed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to intervene in the Grand Chamber in Saadi v. UK (2007), in which the UNHCR challenged the UK’s system of detaining asylum seekers for the purposes of administrative convenience alone.
Important previous cases in the Court of Appeal include QD (Iraq) (Art 15 QD); F Mongolia (judicial review ouster); JM Liberia (human rights justiciability); Nadarajah 3 (legitimate expectation); Rashid (change in policy); D v Home Office (false imprisonment); Nadarajah 2 (transparency of policy); and E and R (error of fact).
Raza is the co-author with Nicholas Blake QC (now Blake J) of Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights (OUP, 2003); second edition pending. Raza has given lectures on refugee and human rights law at the University of Oxford, LSE, UCL and Georgetown University Washington DC. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.
Raza accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.
The Directories say Raza is “simply a genius”; “the leading claimant immigration QC”; “the smartest person doing immigration and asylum law”; “a fighter, who is really intelligent and knows his stuff backwards”; “fantastic”; “amazing to watch”; with “outstanding intellect” and “a uniquely brilliant legal mind” who “controls arguments in the courtroom” where “the Courts love him.” The Supreme Court referred to him as “expert and experienced” (Kambadzi), and to his submissions as “excellent”, “enticing” and “attractive” (BA (Nigeria)). The Directories consistently rank him as star individual amongst immigration QCs as well as in band 1 for civil liberties QCs.