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 over 30 cases in the Supreme Court or House of Lords. In the last 14, he has appeared as leading advocate, on each occasion successfully save once. 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 instructed in the successful extradition defence of David Kezerashivili, former Defence Minister for Georgia, before the French Courts. He appeared in the first successful judicial review challenge in the British Virgin Islands to the refusal of a work permit (Citco and Gillespie). He successfully challenged a refusal of permanent residence in the Cayman Islands by the owner of the largest hotel chain in Europe.
Raza regularly acts for high profile individuals and has a particular expertise in the interface between extradition, the political motivation bar, and asylum. He has successfully appeared in a number of such cases brought by Russian nationals.
He is also regularly instructed and NGOs such as Amnesty International and the AIRE Centre, as well as premiership footballers.
Raza retains a deep commitment to and heavy involvement in publicly funded work.
Raza has given lectures in refugee and immigration law at the University of Oxford (All Souls’ College and the Refugee Studies Centre), the University of London (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) and Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.
Raza is presently instructed in pending two Supreme Court cases, concerning religious persecution under the Refugee Convention and administrative detention. Last year, Raza appeared in four Supreme Court cases: Ali (Article 8 and deportation); MP (EU Qualification Directive and subsidiary protection); FV (Italy) (EU Citizen’s Directive and enhanced protection); SXH (UNHCR intervention in challenge to prosecutorial discretion and Article 31 Refugee Convention). Raza also successfully acted in 2016 in CS, where the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the EU strengthened the Zambrano principle.
In 2014, 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 of the ECHR 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. In 2013, Raza successfully appeared before the Court of Justice of the EU on behalf of the AIRE Centre in MA and BT, where the Court 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 14 occasions, each time (save once) 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).
Raza has been instructed in over 30 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.
Raza is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Raza needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Raza’ privacy notice in full, please see here.
The Directories say Raza is “simply a genius”; “a world class public law practitioner”; “the leading claimant immigration QC”; “an absolute star of the Bar”; “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.