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Ayesha specialises in public law, human rights, immigration and asylum, and international law.

  • Immigration, asylum, deportation, detention and trafficking

    Ayesha has extensive experience in immigration and asylum law, having worked in the field for the past 13 years. She regularly represents individuals in appeals in the First Tier and Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, as well as in judicial review proceedings. She has a particular interest in children and vulnerable adults involved in the immigration and asylum process, including victims of trafficking. Ayesha is regularly instructed in judicial reviews connected to the NRM process, challenges to the support entitlements of victims of trafficking, asylum appeals with a trafficking element, Dublin III judicial reviews, and unlawful detention claims.

    Ayesha also advises on nationality issues, points-based system claims, and is involved in applications and judicial reviews under the Windrush scheme.

    She regularly provides expert opinions on immigration and nationality issues for Local Authorities, proceedings in the Family Courts and Extradition proceedings.

    Ayesha delivers talks and training (to legal and non-legal audiences) in all aspects of UK and EU immigration law, international refugee and human rights law, and the protection of victims of trafficking. She is a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

    Before coming to the Bar, Ayesha worked as a Caseworker at Refugee and Migrant Justice, the Senior Immigration Advisor at the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, and interned at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ecuador, where she provided legal analysis of complex issues arising in UNHCR’s Refugee Status Determinations, and wrote legal reference material for the UNHCR Protection team. She speaks Spanish to an advanced level.

    Notable cases include:

    MD and EH v Secretary of State for the Home Department – challenge to the denial of child trafficking support to asylum-seeking victims of trafficking

    Detention Action v SSHD [2020] EWHC 782 (Admin) – challenge to the immigration detention of persons with increased vulnerability to Covid-19, and persons who could not be removed due to Covid-19 flight restrictions

    AL (Albania) v SSHD [2019] EWCA Civ 950 – appeal concerning the correct approach to earlier asylum appeal determinations

    K and AM v SSHD [2018] EWHC 2951 (Admin) – successful challenge to the decision to cut trafficking support payments for victims of trafficking

    AS (Guinea) v SSHD [2018] EWCA Civ 2234 – intervening on behalf of UNHCR, addressing the standard and burden of proof in statelessness cases

    Medical Justice and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] 4 WLR 198 (representing five of the claimants) – successfully argued that the definition of torture in the Home Office’s immigration detention policy was unlawful

  • Public law and human rights

    Ayesha has a wide-ranging public law practice, which spans community care, equality and discrimination, social welfare, prison law, actions against the police, and national security cases.

    She is frequently instructed in age dispute cases, including complex cases which involve issues of mental capacity or a trafficking element.

    Ayesha’s prison law practice includes judicial reviews challenging the treatment of children detained in Young Offenders Institutions, including challenges to the use of adult restraint techniques on children, and holding children in solitary confinement.

    Her national security work involves human rights and equality challenges arising from airport stops under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the retention of biometric data by the police, the cancellation of passports and the deprivation of British citizenship on national security grounds.

    Ayesha is on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of preferred counsel.

    Notable cases include:

    Shamima Begum v SIAC & Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] UKSC 7 – intervening on behalf of Liberty in Shamima Begum’s challenge to the deprivation of her British citizenship

    BF (Eritrea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department – intervening for the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the Supreme Court, in a challenge to the Home Office’s Age Assessment policies

    AB v Secretary of State for Justice [2019] EWCA Civ 9 – arguing that the solitary confinement of a child in a young offenders institution breached Articles 3 and 8 ECHR (Supreme Court judgment pending)

    KS v Chief Magistrate – successful challenge to the imposition of 14 days additional imprisonment as punishment for a child with Aspergers Syndrome and PTSD who was alleged to have assaulted a prison officer whilst he was resisting an unlawful restraint by prison officers

    HK v Metropolitan Police – a challenge against the Metropolitan police for forcing a Muslim woman to remove her hijab to be photographed whilst stopped and detained at an airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2020, resulting in payment of £15,000 in damages

    B and ND v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 2651 (Admin) – challenge to the cancellation of the claimants’ British passports on grounds of national security

  • Education and awards

    Ayesha holds a First Class degree in Philosophy from Bristol University and a Masters with Distinction in Social and Global Justice. She studied the Graduate Diploma in Law at Nottingham Law School, obtaining a Distinction, and was awarded prizes for achieving the highest marks in the year, and for Best Private Law student. She was a semi-finalist in the 2013 European Court of Human Rights moot. Ayesha was awarded the Queen Mother Scholarship from Middle Temple. She won the 2014 Middle Temple Rosamund Smith moot, judged by Lord Dyson MR, and also won the prize for Best Oralist. She was awarded the 2015 Peter Duffy human rights scholarship by the Bar European Group, and a 2016 Pegasus scholarship for a judicial assistant exchange visit to the United States Supreme Court.

    Ayesha was a Supreme Court Judicial Assistant to Lord Reed and Lord Carnwath from 2015-2016.

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