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Samantha Knights QC is a versatile and established silk recommended in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 with a broad practice but focusing on immigration and asylumpublic law, human rights, international law, and commercial litigation. Her cases have involved ground breaking developments in law before the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the European Union.

She is instructed in a wide range of complex cases involving trafficking and modern slavery, refugee, immigration and nationality law and has been involved in a number of test cases on asylum law before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and CJEU. A number of her cases involve a national security case and are before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) or involve closed proceedings in the High Court in which novel points of law are in issue. She has a particular expertise in law and religion cases and has been instructed in disputes of many kinds in this area from charity, commercial, planning, and nuisance claims.

She has appeared in a number of high-profile claims arising from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts including cases concerning the protection of individuals fleeing from conflict zones, liabilities of the British government for locally engaged workers, and cases involving national security and terrorism issues. She has been instructed in a number of international group litigation claims including an action against a Tanzanian gold mine for liability for shot and injured trespassers, and claims on behalf of Cambodian villagers against a British sugar company based on conversion and unjust enrichment arising from land concessions granted by the Cambodian government. These claims raise complex issues including conflicts of law, Act of State doctrine, and foreign law torts.

Samantha also has a wide-ranging commercial and arbitration practice with expertise in insolvency (having practised insolvency law for seven years prior to joining Matrix). She has considerable experience of high-profile complex international actions including the Tchenguiz litigation, Thyssen-Bornemisza trust litigation in Bermuda, arbitrations and litigation involving Russian and Kazakh clients and entities, and the Al-Zayat litigation involving commercial and criminal proceedings in Iran and the UK.

  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement

    Samantha regularly represents clients before the tribunals and higher courts. Her cases involve all aspects of immigration and asylum law but with particular emphasis on trafficking and modern slavery, refugee and subsidiary protection, deportation, deprivation of nationality and entry clearance. She has been instructed on a number of cases involving strategic challenges in the area of trafficking modern slavery. She has been instructed on behalf of UNHCR in a large number of path-breaking cases including in relation to exclusion from refugee protection and cases concerning the transfer of asylum seekers to other EU countries under Dublin II Regulation. She was also involved in the test case on humanitarian protection under Article 15c of the EC Qualification Directive and related cases.

  • Public

    Samantha has a broad public law practice including trafficking and modern slavery, immigration, nationality and prison law. A large number of her cases raise fundamental rights and concern important and path breaking issues of law. She is currently representing a number of prisoners in relation to race and religious discrimination; and a young child interviewed by police in relation to radicalisation. She represented Mr Al Jedda in his challenge to the deprivation of British nationality, and was instructed in a lengthy challenge by three Afghan nationals against the FCO and MOD arising from their work as intelligence agents in Afghanistan. She previously acted in Gallastegui a case concerning the right to protest in Parliament Square before the Court of Appeal; and in a test case concerning the detention of female juvenile offenders in Jersey in adult prison. She has acted on behalf of interveners in a number of cases before the Court of Appeal, House of Lords and Supreme Courts including in relation to challenges to legal aid, the interpretation of a public authority in the Human Rights Act 1998 and in relation to the Refugee Convention.

  • Human Rights

    Samantha has a strong human rights related practice including cases involving refugee and immigration law; public law (protest and prison law cases), commercial law (freezing injunctions and property rights); fair trial and privacy issues in relation to compulsory investigatory powers of public bodies; and cases involving issues relating to national security and terrorism. Much of her human rights work has an international focus including a number of cases arising from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was instructed in cases against the MOD and FCO relating to intelligence agents in Afghanistan and also on behalf of a former reservist who was deployed in Afghanistan. She has had cases before the CJEU and the ECtHR. She has a particular interest and experience in cases involving freedom of religion and has acted for a variety of religious organisations in disputes involving contract, charity law, planning, and nuisance.

  • International

    Much of Samantha’s work involves cases with an international dimension including group litigation claims under foreign and English law, a number of cases arising from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and complex multi-national commercial cases. Samantha has also been involved in in a wide range of cases before foreign courts – including the Russian Federation, the US and in Bermuda. On behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee, Samantha was involved in the filing of an amicus brief before the US Supreme Court in a case involving trial by military tribunal and issues of habeas corpus, and developed an FCO funded rule of law project in Afghanistan. She also has expertise in relation to the law on mutual assistance and in particular under the proceeds of crime legislation.


  • Commercial and Arbitration

    Samantha has a wide-ranging commercial practice. Samantha acted for Vincent Tchenguiz in proceedings brought by him against Grant Thornton and other entities in relation to a challenge to jurisdiction involving aspects of insolvency and EU law. She has previously been instructed in a number of complex international group claims including a claim by Tanzanian villagers against a gold mine for foreign law torts relating to injuries and deaths at the mine, and a claim by Cambodian villagers against a sugar company in conversion, unjust enrichment and knowing receipt. She has experience of arbitrations including a complex ICC arbitration under Kazakh law; proceeds of crime, insolvency (previously a member of South Square 1997-2005), and large multi-national disputes involving complex issues of fact and law.

  • Additional Professional Experience

    Samantha speaks and lectures widely. She is Adjunct Professor at University of Miami School of Law where she teaches International Human Rights Law. She has written and moderated a unique multidisciplinary course on slavery past and present at the Bonavero Institute, Oxford University, and regularly chairs panels on trafficking and slavery. She is currently chair of the International Steering Committee of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC). EHRAC assists individuals, lawyers and NGOs within the Russian Federation in taking cases to the ECtHR.

    She is also a member of the steering committee for the Immigration Legal Clinic at Exeter University Law School and has assisted the development of the clinic from its inception. She has worked as a consultant on numerous international projects on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales including an FCO funded rule of law project in Afghanistan 2005-8. She was a member of the panel appointed by Middlesex University and the Metropolitan Police to review the use of s 60 stop and search powers. She has previously represented UNHCR in strategic litigation challenges before the higher courts in England and Wales as part of its pro bono counsel panel.

  • Publications

    Law, Rights and Religion (OUP, 2021)

    Freedom of Religion, Minorities and the Law (OUP, 2007).

  • Education

    LLM (Human Rights), London School of Economics 2004.

    Diploma in Law, City University 1994.

    BA Hons (Modern History), Oxford University 1993.

  • Professional Memberships

    Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.

    Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

    Administrative Law Bar Association

  • Languages

    French (working knowledge).

    German, Spanish, Russian (basic).

Privacy Notice

Samantha is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Samantha needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read her privacy notice in full, please see here.


Samantha is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.


Chambers & Partners 2021 recommends Samantha in Immigration and Civil Liberties and Human Rights:

Immigration: “Simply excellent.”

Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “She’s a very good advocate.”

The Legal 500 recommends Samantha in Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Immigration:

Civil Liberties and Human Rights: “Commands respect from opponents and the judiciary when on her feet because of her control of the case and authoritative advocacy. Great to work with.”

Immigration: “Samantha is an exceptional silk, an outstanding advocate and an asset to a case.”

Chambers & Partners 2020 describes Samantha as “a fluent advocate, meticulous on paper and with a good reputation in asylum and refugee work.”

“Very thorough and great to work with”

“She’s very thorough and really good to work with.”

“I was impressed with her written work and her responsiveness.”

Chambers & Partners 2019 recommends Samantha in Immigration and Civil Liberties & Human Rights. ‘A respected silk and recognised expert on the ECHR who regularly tackles cases against the MoD concerning British action in armed conflicts. She has worked on complex matters covering issues such as deprivation of nationality, exclusion from refugee protection and the scope of closed material proceedings. She is notable for her experience in human-trafficking cases.’ “Hard-working and very easy to work with.” “Meticulous and focused.”

Legal 500 2018 describes Samantha as  ‘Experienced and smart, with a track record of heavyweight cases.’ ‘She is a very good up-and-coming silk.’

Chambers & Partners 2017 recommends Samantha in Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Immigration. ‘She is very measured in her advice and takes pains to see the other side’s point of view so that she can better demolish it.’ ‘She’s very incisive and reliably provides top-quality support and assistance.’ ‘She is extremely responsive and her written submissions are absolutely first-class’

Legal 500 2016 describes Samantha as ‘experienced and smart, with a track record of heavyweight cases.’