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Abigail Smith

  • Call: 2003
Abigail Smith
"She is wonderful, extremely supportive and knowledgeable. Works to strict deadlines."

Chambers UK, 2019

"Although fiercely intelligent, she is unpretentious in how she communicates."

Chambers UK


Abigail practises primarily in public law, specialising in asylum, immigration, prison law and related areas. She regularly appears in statutory appeals in the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal, as well as in judicial review applications in the Administrative Court. These appeals involve both asylum issues and a wide range of publicly and privately funded immigration matters. She is recommended for immigration in Chambers UK 2016 and Legal 500 2015. Abigail also practises in prison law where her work includes judicial reviews, hearings before the Parole Board and advising prisoners on a wide range of matters.

Abigail is registered with the Bar Council to accept public access work.

What others say

“She is wonderful, extremely supportive and knowledgeable. Works to strict deadlines.”
Chambers UK (2019) Immigration

“She does very good quality work in the first-tier tribunal and gets good results.”
Legal 500 (2019) Immigration

“She is incredibly responsive and has a friendly and welcoming manner with clients.” “She is approachable and supportive.”
Chambers UK (2018) Immigration

“She is very bright and has a great manner with clients.”
Legal 500 (2017) Immigration

“Great in both technical cases and Article 8 matters.” “Incredibly responsive and has a friendly and welcoming manner with clients.”
Chambers UK (2017) Immigration

Her breadth of knowledge on asylum and immigration issues is great.”
Legal 500 (2016) Immigration

“She has a down-to-earth, direct and empathetic style.”
Chambers UK (2016) Immigration

“Although fiercely intelligent, she is unpretentious in how she communicates.”
Chambers UK (2016) Immigration

“She is kind, approachable and drafts well.”
Legal 500 (2015) Immigration

“Tenacious and practical in her approach, she takes the difficult cases and achieves results that would elude many other representatives.”
Chambers UK (2015) Immigration

“Goes beyond the call of duty; she is clearly very committed to her work and client base.”
Legal 500 (2014) Immigration

“She continues to impress as she combines skilled advocacy with excellent client care.”
Chambers UK (2014) Immigration

Chambers UK (2013) Immigration

“An ‘impressive’ advocate in the higher courts.”
Legal 500 (2012) Immigration

“Huge energy” and “excellent on the more complex cases and great to use, particularly on appeal.”
Chambers UK (2012) Immigration

“Remains amazingly calm in a crisis and instinctively takes the right course of action.”
Legal 500 (2011) Immigration

“Fiercely bright, humane and approachable.”
Legal 500 (2010) Immigration and Nationality

“Talent for making the management of a case that bit less stressful.”
Chambers UK (2010) Immigration

Notable Cases

R (Modhej) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] EWHC 2267 (Admin), 28 August 2011
The High Court considered the complex issue of the calculation of release dates for extended sentence prisoners.

MJ (Angola) v SSHD [2010] EWCA Civ 557, 20 May 2010
The lead case on (a) deportation of persons subject to restrictions under Mental Health Act and (b) need for “very serious reasons” for deportation of persons who grow up in the UK (cf Maslov v Austria [2008] ECHR 546).

R (Hewlett) v Secretary of State for Justice [2009] EWHC 2979 (Admin), 16 November 2009
This was a challenge to an Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) downgrade for a prisoner maintaining his innocence.

VW (Uganda) & AB (Somalia) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 5, 16 January 2009
The Court of Appeal took the important step of putting an end to the misapplication of the so-called “insurmountable obstacles” test from Lord Phillips’ judgment in Mahmood [2001] 1 WLR 840 CA in assessing proportionality under s.2 Article 8.

AH (Iran), Zego (Eritrea), Kadir (Iraq) v SSHD [2008] EWCA Civ 985
Greek third country issue considered by Court of Appeal.

RS (Zimbabwe) v SSHD [2008] EWCA Civ 839, 18 July 2008
Successful Court of Appeal challenge for Zimbabwean woman with HIV post N HoL and ECtHR.

R (Kadir) v SSHD [2008] EWHC 1629 (Admin)
Greek Third Country case following Nasseri.

FK (Democratic Republic of Congo) v SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 1545, 14 December 2007
The Court of Appeal considered proportionality under Article 8 in the context of a lengthy delay by SSHD and allowed the appeal

The Queen on the Application of Musie Habteab Berihul v SSHD [2005] EWHC 2363 (Admin), 28 October 2005
Unaccompanied minors policy in Dublin Convention Third country cases.

Seminars and Training

Abigail has taught seminars and courses on a range of topics, including for the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) and in-house when she practised at Tooks Chambers.


After completing her undergraduate degree, Abigail worked for the Irish Refugee Council and, whilst travelling in Australia, volunteered for the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Advice Service (NAALAS) and the Public Interest Advice Centre (PIAC). After moving to London, Abigail worked in the immigration departments at Deighton Guedalla and Glazer Delmar. Whilst studying for an LLM, and later for the Bar Vocational Course, Abigail took cases for the Free Representation Unit (FRU) and also volunteered at Liberty and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). She was also an elected member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association’s (ILPA) Executive Committee for three years. Before joining Garden Court Chambers in September 2013, Abigail practised at Tooks Chambers after completing pupillage there.