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Immigration Detention Civil Claims

“The foremost set leading the way at the London Immigration Bar, Garden Court Chambers houses an unsurpassable team of advocates who handle the full gamut of immigration matters."

Chambers UK Bar Guide

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Garden Court Chambers is the only top-ranked set for immigration law in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, where our barristers are also highly ranked for their expertise in civil liberties and human rights.

When our clients are unlawfully detained, we are committed to securing their release. We have a reputation for obtaining substantial compensation in the most difficult cases and for being at the cutting edge of immigration detention law.

We work with NGOs and charities on test cases, policy work, campaigns and events. These include the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, the Anti Trafficking Legal Project,, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Bail for Immigration Detainees, UNHCR UK, All Party Parliamentary Group on Visas & Immigration, Amnesty International, Equality & Human Rights Commission, Medical Justice, Young Roots, the Helen Bamber Foundation. Liberty and the Trafficking Law and Policy Forum.

our expertise

Our team draws on its considerable expertise across immigration, civil actions against public authorities and public law. We have significant experience of pursuing civil damages claims on behalf of individuals held in immigration detention. This includes claims for false imprisonment, breaches of their human rights and other actions related to their treatment in detention.

We work closely with non-governmental organisations and solicitors to bring litigation strategically and on an individual basis to call to account the way immigration detention powers are exercised. Since aspects of the detention estate have been outsourced to different statutory agencies, we have inevitably built up expertise in bringing damages claims against multiple defendants.

Our barristers are committed to achieving an outcome in the best interests of clients whether it be through the courts or via formal and informal means of mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Given some of the very real difficulties in obtaining public funding, we do our best to provide flexible fee arrangements, including Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) where appropriate.

Garden Court Chambers won Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year at the Chambers and Partners UK Bar Awards 2016.


Recent notable cases and news

Garden Court secures top tier rankings in the Legal 500 UK 2024

Garden Court Chambers is proud to be recognised as a Top Tier set again in the Legal 500 UK 2024 rankings.

4 October 2023

Garden Court Chambers shortlisted for record-breaking TEN awards at The Legal 500 Bar Awards

We are delighted to announce that Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted in a record-breaking ten categories at The Legal 500 Bar Awards.

12 July 2023

Irena Sabic KC appointed Deputy King’s Bench Master

Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce that our colleague Irena Sabic KC has been appointed by the Lord Chief Justice as a Deputy King’s Bench Master, based at the Royal Courts of Justice.

11 May 2023

High Court grants permission for judicial review in challenge to Home Office evacuation response at Harmondsworth

Alex Schymyck of the Garden Court Public Law Team and Nick Armstrong KC of Matrix Chambers acted for the claimants.

20 April 2023

Garden Court Chambers Brook House Inquiry Team jointly shortlisted for Halsbury Rule of Law Award at Lexis Nexis 2023 Awards

We are delighted to announce the Brook House Inquiry Team at Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted for the Halsbury Rule of Law Award at the Lexis Nexis UK 2023 Awards.

24 January 2023

Garden Court secures number one rankings in Chambers UK Bar Guide 2022

21 October 2021

High Court finds detention to be unlawful with substantial damages awarded for breach of policy and Hardial Singh principles

The Claimant was represented by Greg Ó Ceallaigh of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team and Stephanie Hill of Leigh Day.

30 April 2021

Victory in false imprisonment action challenging the lawfulness of Home Office Iraqi removal exercise

David Jones of Garden Court Chambers was instructed by Tori Sicher of Sutovic & Hartigan Solicitors.

2 March 2020

Home office admits unlawful detention of mentally ill man

Stephanie Harrison QC, Shu Shin Luh and Anthony Vaughan of the Garden Court Chambers Public Law and Immigration Teams instructed.

5 December 2019

Home Secretary announces investigation into Brook House immigration removal centre will be converted into Public Inquiry

MA is represented by Stephanie Harrison QC of Garden Court Chambers and Alex Goodman of Landmark Chambers, instructed by Lewis Kett and Nicholas Hughes of Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Public Law team.

8 November 2019

Home Office concedes that they unlawfully detained a potential victim of trafficking for almost six months in immigration detention day before trial in High Court

The Claimant was represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Louise Hooper and Emma Fitzsimons of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Shalini Patel at Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

13 February 2019

Major reforms to immigration detention decision-making proposed in report of the Joint Human Rights Committee

Following a wide-ranging inquiry into the use of immigration detention by the Home Office, the report of the Joint Human Rights Committee of both Houses of Parliament is now available.

7 February 2019

Upper Tribunal find the Home Office's amended removal window policy unlawful in key respects

Sonali Naik QC and Ali Bandegani are instructed by Duncan Lewis for the applicants. 

14 December 2018

Home Office in major U-turn agrees to Article 3-compliant investigation by Prisons & Probation Ombudsman into abuse at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre

Stephanie Harrison QC of Garden Court Chambers represented one of the abuse victims (MA).

11 October 2018

Court of Appeal - detention of asylum seekers unlawful under Article 28 Dublin III

In a majority decision, the Court of Appeal (Etherton and Peter Jackson LLJ; Sales LJ dissenting) delivered a significant judgment affecting the lawfulness of detention of asylum seekers subject to the Dublin III Regulation.

8 October 2018

Bail accommodation failures led to unlawful detention of man despite grant of bail in principle

The claimant, Mr Diop, was represented in the High Court by Anthony Vaughan of Garden Court Chambers.

26 July 2018

Medical examination failures led to torture victim’s unlawful detention by Home Secretary

KG was represented by Anthony Vaughan and Miranda Butler instructed by Ahmed Aydeed of Duncan Lewis.

13 July 2018

Home Office admits it unlawfully detained and separated a father from his daughter, who remained in care and at imminent risk of adoption

The father and daughter are represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers.

11 July 2018

High Court quashes Secretary of State’s decisions to certify asylum claim and reject further submissions of LGBT torture victim

Garden Court’s Sonali Naik QC and Emma Fitzsimons represented the claimant, instructed by Sulaiha Ali of Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

5 June 2018

High Court rules on “discriminatory and unlawful practices” at Brook House. Muslim immigration detainees forced to worship in degrading conditions.

The claimants were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Raza Halim and Stephen Simblet and instructed by Duncan Lewis Public Law.

2 February 2018

Garden Court is delighted to announce that all four of the pupils who started in October 2016 have accepted offers of tenancy at the end of their pupillage

Stephen Clark, Tihomir Mak, Laura Profumo and Franck Magennis have joined Chambers as full members and have already started developing their practices.

1 November 2017

High Court rules Government redefinition of torture in immigration detention policy is unlawful

Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers represented Medical Justice and two victims of gender based violence.

10 October 2017

High Court finds that Secretary of State unlawfully detained vulnerable former child soldier for 15 months

The claimant was represented by Amanda Weston of Garden Court Chambers.

18 August 2017

High Court finds “without hesitation” that detention of torture victim in the Detained Fast Track was unlawful

The claimant was represented by Raza Halim of Garden Court Chambers.

18 August 2017

Garden Court Chambers responds to the Jackson review of fixed recoverable costs

Read the response of our Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Public Law and Housing teams.

4 August 2017

European Court of Human Rights finds UK in breach of Article 5 over unlawful detention of Zimbabwean national

David Jones of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team represented the Zimbabwean national.

23 June 2017

Garden Court Chambers extends condolences and solidarity to all those affected by Grenfell Tower tragedy

Garden Court Chambers is horrified by the fire at Grenfell Towers. We extend our condolences and our solidarity to all those bereaved, injured or rendered homeless.

16 June 2017

Unlawful detention: High Court hands down highly significant judgment on direct effect of Dublin III

Irena Sabic of Garden Court Chambers represented the claimant.

9 June 2017

Dan Randall joins Garden Court Chambers as Civil Team Practice Manager

Dan Randall has joined the civil liberties, social welfare and employment teams as Practice Manager.

27 March 2017

Upper Tribunal finds Ukrainian prison conditions breach Article 3 ECHR in landmark country guideline case

Mark Symes of Garden Court Chambers represented both appellants.

22 March 2017

Vital times for human rights lawyers as we face attacks on fundamental rights at home and abroad

In these difficult times, human rights lawyers have a vital role to play in challenging prejudice, discrimination and the unlawful exercise of power.

6 February 2017

Leslie Thomas QC, Judy Khan QC and Marc Willers QC elected as Joint Heads of Chambers

Garden Court is delighted to announce that Leslie Thomas QC, Judy Khan QC and Marc Willers QC have been elected as Joint Heads of Chambers.

31 January 2017

Past Notable Cases


We have been at the forefront of many leading cases over the past two decades, making significant contributions to establishing limits to the lawful use of immigration detention in respect of vulnerable people: victims of torture and serious ill-treatment; those who suffer from mental impairment or ill-health; children; pregnant women; victims of trafficking and modern slavery, as well as those who have suffered gender-based violence.

Supreme Court rules against Home Office on SIAC powers to impose bail conditions
Represented the respondent, B, in his challenge against the Home Office/Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC). In a major ruling on powers to restrict the liberty and freedoms of those who cannot lawfully be detained, the Supreme Court rejected the Home Secretary’s argument that strict conditions of bail under Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 could be imposed indefinitely. 

Supreme Court rules ‘deport first, appeal later’ system unlawful
Represented the intervener, Bail for Immigration Detainees, in a successful landmark appeal against the Home Office ‘deport first, appeal later’ power. See coverage in The Guardian.

High Court rules government redefinition of torture in immigration detention policy is unlawful
Represented the charity, Medical Justice, and two victims of gender-based violence who were detained in immigration detention. This test case challenged the adoption by the Home Secretary of a more restrictive definition of torture in breach of Articles 3 and 5 ECHR. The High Court found the Home Office policy to be unlawful. The judge ruled that hundreds of victims of torture have been wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres. See coverage in The Guardian.  

R (on the application of BA (Eritrea)) v SSHD : R (on the application of ST (Sri Lanka)) v SSHD (2016) EWCA Civ 458
The Court of Appeal provided guidance on the correct approach to evaluating the circumstances in which a doctor’s report under the Home Office’s Enforcement Instructions and Guidance Chapter 55 rule 35 could amount to independent evidence of torture for the purposes of deciding whether a failed asylum seeker should be detained pending deportation.
ZSS v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 1137 
Guideline case arising from two linked appeals on the correct construction of the Home Office’s policy on detaining children whose age are disputed. In dismissing the Home Office’s appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the findings of the trial judge that the Home Office policy required the Secretary of State to make necessary inquiries into the reasons for the conclusion of a local authority age assessment and to satisfy herself that it is a lawful assessment of age before she is entitled to treat the putative child as an adult.
Das v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 45; [2014] 1 WLR 3538
The Court of Appeal held that the threshold for the Home Office’s Enforcement Instructions and Guidance Chapter 55 for detaining those with a serious mental illness does not require the individual’s mental health to be so serious that it requires in-patient hospitalisation. In overturning the High Court’s decision, the Court of Appeal held that such a threshold, as held by the court below, was contrary to the humane objects and purpose of the policy.

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