Amanda Weston QC
Amanda was a finalist for the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year Award 2013.
Public and Administrative Law
Amanda practises across a wide range of public and administrative law fields with an emphasis on civil liberties and vulnerable client groups. Substantive areas of her public law practice include community care, mental health and mental capacity, unlawful detention, national security measures such as deprivation of citizenship, prison law, human rights and discrimination. She has particular experience in challenges to both local and central government policy, rules and subordinate legislation.
Examples of her leading cases include McNally, the successful judicial review of the Education Secretary’s decision to intervene in a teacher’s disciplinary proceedings where natural justice principles were ‘read-in’ to primary statute, and AHK on the principles which apply where the Secretary of State wishes to rely on undisclosed material in judicial review. She is co-author of Jordan’s Judicial Review: A Practical Guide. She is increasingly instructed in leading work.
Amanda’s paper on the current threats to children’s rights in public law, delivered at the Public Law Project’s 2016 Conference in London, can be read here.
Amanda acts in civil claims such as false imprisonment, abuse of power, misfeasance and discrimination by the police, security and immigration services.
Court of Protection
Amanda regularly appears in the Court of Protection, usually on behalf of vulnerable adults and their families, particularly in the context of deprivation of liberty of vulnerable adults and capacity to refuse medical treatment. She has a particular interest in cases concerning care of elders wishing to remain at home, safeguarding policy and the rights of those with learning disabilities to lead independent lives. She also acts in related community care judicial review matters. She represented Mark Neary in his successful application for the return of his son, Steven, home. Mark wrote about this extraordinary case in his book ‘Get Steven Home’ available on Amazon.
Having been instructed in many of the leading cases on deprivation of citizenship and refusal of naturalisation for national security reasons, this has become a niche specialism for Amanda who has been involved in driving the case law on procedural fairness in this developing area. She acted in Ignaoua on the Home Secretary’s powers to certify and thereby ‘terminate’ judicial review under the Justice and Security Act 2013 and in the successful challenge in SIAC to the ‘deportation with assurances’ of six men to Algeria.
Amanda was invited to speak on BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action about deprivation of citizenship and the rule of law. She also writes and lectures on the subject. She is currently working on a number of cases addressing the impact of the new statutory ‘Prevent’ duty on public authorities’ decision-making.
Amanda has a long-standing commitment to upholding the rights of immigrants and their families. She is a regular contributor to the Legal Action Immigration Law update and writes the SIAC practice & procedure update for LAG.
What Others Say
Amanda is ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK in the fields of Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Immigration and Court of Protection (Welfare).
“Phenomenally knowledgeable about this area of law. She’s also excellent at the academic side of things.” “She’s brilliant, a proper human rights lawyer who’s really creative and open-minded.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Court of Protection)
“Her tenacity is impressive. She is bright and able.” “She is speedy, clever and leaves no stone unturned.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“A standout barrister intellectually.” “Very clear and persuasive.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Immigration)
“Experienced and approachable.”
Chambers UK 2019 (Community Care)
“She is a genuinely fearless advocate and often runs difficult cases and difficult legal points.”
Legal 500 2019 (Administrative and Public Law)
“She is hugely committed and does not give in easily, especially in cases involving children.”
Legal 500 2019 (Immigration)
“A passionate and committed advocate with a huge breadth and depth of knowledge.”
Legal 500 2019 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“She is very knowledgeable.”
Legal 500 2019 (Court of Protection)
“Speedy and clever, she leaves no stone unturned.” “She is a real fighter.” “Amanda is very committed and never gives up.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“She’s a very clever and effective advocate,” who is “very committed to her clients and has a real feel for vulnerable groups.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Community Care)
“The best thing about her is her intrinsic knowledge about human-rights damages claims and public law proceedings, she adds that even deeper level of insight.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Court of Protection)
“She is a machine gun for hire.” “She is extremely clever, has a very creative legal brain, and I like the street-fighter side to her.” “She does really tricky cases in a really brainy way.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Immigration)
“At the top of her game in national security and human rights cases.”
Legal 500 2017 (Administrative and Public Law)
“She is absolutely fearless and tireless in pursuit of the best outcome for her clients.”
Legal 500 2017 (Court of Protection)
“Quick and creative; a determined advocate.’”
Legal 500 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“It is a real pleasure to work with her; her knowledge and ingenuity is second to none.”
Legal 500 2017 (Immigration)
“She has vast experience and a huge amount of knowledge.” “She is extremely bright, tactically excellent, tenacious and determined.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“She is an absolute standout claimant barrister.” “She does lots of complex work for vulnerable clients and always does an excellent job.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Immigration)
“She’s a very persuasive advocate in court, who is also very good in pre-court discussions.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Court of Protection)
“She can be relied upon for incisive, intellectual and cutting-edge argument.”
Legal 500 2016 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“She can turn what looks like a lost cause into a winning case.”
Legal 500 2016 (Immigration)
“She has a brilliant legal mind, not only academically but also in terms of tactics.”
Legal 500 2015 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“Thoughtful, tactical and really good at seeing the overall strategic picture. Excellent.” “She has top creative skills – she never misses a point and is well loved by the judiciary.”
Chambers UK (Immigration)
“If you were backed into a corner and wanted somebody to fight for you, Amanda would be the best one. She fights and she’s clever.”
Chambers UK (Court of Protection)
“She is very tenacious and known to be a fighter on behalf of her client.”
Chambers UK 2015 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“Experienced and expert; thinks outside the box.”
Legal 500 2014 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“Very passionate and committed.”
Legal 500 2014 (Immigration)
“Sparky and imaginative” in the way that she deals with some of the most difficult cases involving terrorist suspects and reoffending foreign criminals. “It is important to go the extra mile and she does.” Amanda “takes the most difficult cases, and is a leading radical lawyer.”
Chambers UK 2014 (Immigration)
“She is great. She gets excellent results in court and has very good judgement. You feel you are in very safe hands.”
Chambers UK 2014 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)
“Solicitors commend Amanda for her ‘excellent tactical acumen’ and ‘amazing eye for detail’.”
Legal 500 2013
Sources comment that “she is an amazingly dedicated barrister who works incredibly hard for her lay clients.” Amanda Weston “has expertise in cases concerning exclusion and refusal of naturalisation on national security grounds, and has recently been instructed in the Court of Appeal”. Instructing solicitors praise her intellect and “ability to always get a very good result.” Amanda has a “practice that largely revolves around vulnerable adults, and proves particularly adept at acting for private individuals. In the past year, she has acted in LB Hillingdon v Steven Neary & Mark Neary, the much-publicised case concerning a young man’s deprivation of liberty”. Solicitors observe that she brings a deft and reassuring approach to complex and distressing cases and inspires confidence in her clients.
Chambers UK 2013
“A ‘true fighter’ who displays ‘breathtaking determination at times.’ Instructing solicitors comment that she adds value to a case due to her wealth of immigration experience and the fact ‘she never misses a point.’ Weston handles complex cases for vulnerable clients where human rights issues versus government policy scenarios come into play. She is‘recommended for her commitment to producing work of the highest standard.’ She has ‘a blend of experience in community care and immigration work which is particularly useful,’ say instructing solicitors, who further comment on her brilliance in cases concerning mental incapacity and unlawful detention.”
Chambers UK 2012
“Amanda Weston’s unflappable judgement and increasing experience make her a top choice.”
“Amanda is highly intelligent and extremely thorough.”
Legal 500 2012
“Excellent … rapidly identifies the issues and finds novel solutions.”
Legal 500 2011
Amanda Weston is “unstoppable on immigration related-issues,” sources enthuse. She was involved in a test case regarding the procedure for challenging refusals of citizenship on human rights grounds.
Amanda Weston’s administrative and public law practice focuses on human rights and immigration. Sources describe a barrister who is “highly intelligent, instinctive, creative and great fun to work with.”
Chambers UK 2010
“Of the juniors, Amanda Weston ‘has a wealth of experience,’ and ‘a good tactical approach.’”
Legal 500 2009
R (ILPA) v Tribunals Procedure Committee  EWHC 218 (Admin)
Challenge to rule 13 of the 2014 First tier Tribunal Procedure Rules (leading Sadat Sayeed).
R (ota Taylor) v Secretary of State for Justice & others  EWHC 3245 (Admin)
Whether the failure to release a prisoner for 18 months pursuant to the Parole Board’s direction for release arose from a discriminatory failure to make disability-adapted approved premises available (leading Felicity Williams).
R (ota Rahman) v the Passport Service  EWHC 1146 (Admin)
Challenge to a refusal to issue a new passport.
R (ota Secretary of State for the Home Department) v SIAC, AHK & others Interested Parties  EWHC 1236 (Admin)
The Secretary of State’s challenge to SIAC’s ruling on the scope of disclosure on an application for statutory review.
R (ota Whiston) v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 39;  A.C. 176
Supreme Court case on whether recall after release on Home Detention Curfew triggered a right to an oral hearing.
R (ota FI by his litigation friend GI) v SSHD  EWHC 2287 (Admin)
Challenge to refusal to register a child as a British citizen.
R (ota DP) v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 3613 (Admin)
The status of Mental Health Tribunal decisions when considering a warrant under s.50 Mental Health Act 1983 for transfer from hospital to prison.
TW v LB Enfield, Secretary of State for Health Intervening  EWHC 1180 (QB)
Whether s.139 Mental Health Act 1983 is compatible with Article 6/14 ECHR and the meaning of ‘reasonably practicable’ under s.11(4) MHA 1983.
R (ota BB) v SIAC  EWCA Civ 1499
Whether a hearing to determine bail conditions engaged Article 6 ECHR.
R (ota AHK & others) v SSHD  EWHC 1117 (Admin)
Whether the Administrative Court has the power to order a closed material procedure and the correct balancing exercise in public interest immunity hearings in challenges to refusal of naturalisation on national security grounds.
R (ota SM & others by their litigation friends) v SSHD  EWHC 1144 (Admin)
Successful judicial review challenge to the Secretary of State’s policy of granting Limited Leave to Remain to children who cannot be removed from the UK.
R (ota Benmahfoud) v SSHD  EWHC 2057 (Admin)
Successful challenge to detention of foreign national offender where there was no prospect of removal.
R (ota Omer) v SSHD  EWHC Admin
Challenge to lawfulness of detention where decision triggering power to detain was flawed.
R (ota Daq) v SSHD  EWHC Admin
Successful challenge to detention of foreign national offender.
R (ota) Appiatse & Samuels v LB Enfield  EWHC 1886 (Admin)
Whether the decision to place a child on the at risk register was lawful.
R (ota) Karas & Milandinovic v SSHD  EWHC 747 (Admin)
Finding by the Administrative Court that the Secretary of State had acted with ‘improper purpose’ in detaining the claimants and denying them access to legal advice. Substantial damages awarded including exemplary damages. This case received national news coverage, including in The Guardian.
R (ota) N v LB Lambeth  EWHC 3427 (Admin)
Successful challenge to local authority refusal to support and accommodate a destitute asylum-seeker with HIV.
McNally v SS Education & Employment  EWCA ELR 348, Independent June 26 2000
Secretary of State’s powers to intervene in disciplinary proceedings, instructed by the NASUWT.
Hossain v Home Office 
Unlawful immigration detention of 2 months, damages awarded over £35,000 after a contested hearing on quantum
A v SSHD 
Unlawful immigration detention of a schizophrenic man for over 3 years, settled for a six-figure sum This case was reported in The Guardian.
AY Children v SSHD
Detention case involving longest immigration detention period of children in the UK Settled for a six-figure sum. “Child asylum seekers win compensation for 13-month detention”. The Guardian. 6 January 2012.
S v Home Office 
Unlawful detention and removal, aggravated assault by escorts. Damages in excess of £12000 awarded by court.
Court of Protection
GW v A Local Authority & Anor  EWCOP 20 (31 July 2014)
Whether the lower court’s approach to assessment of capacity where P’s capacity was affected by Huntingdon’s disease, was flawed.
Neary v LB Hillingdon  EWHC 413 (COP)
Leading case on misuse of local authority powers to deprive a young person with autism, who lacks capacity, of his liberty, important ruling on press attendance at hearings.
BB, U, PP, Y & W v SSHD SC/39/2005 18 April 2016 (SIAC)
Successful long-running appeals against ‘deportation with assurances’ that 6 Algerian appellants would not be tortured. SIAC found that the assurances were inadequate to protect against the risk.
L1 v SSHD  EWCA Civ 906,  EWCA Civ 1410
Whether the Secretary of State’s conduct in deliberately delaying service of a decision to deprive L1 of his British citizenship until after he had left the UK was unlawful and an abuse of power.
BB, PP, QJ & Y v SSHD 16 December 2014 (SIAC)
Successfully resisted Secretary of State’s attempt to impose GPS tagging on 4 SIAC appellants on bail
R (ota Ignaoua) v SSHD  EWHC 2512 (Admin)
Test case on the lawfulness of certification of a direction to exclude the claimant from the UK and whether that had the effect of unilaterally terminating the claimant’s extant judicial review.
R (ota G1) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 867
Whether a decision to exclude G1 from the UK pending his appeal against deprivation of British citizenship was unlawful, and whether deprivation decisions engage EU law.
IR (Sri Lanka) & others v SSHD  EWCA Civ 704
Impact of Article 8 ECHR procedural guarantees on disclosure in national security
Abu Hamza SC/23/2003 
Abu Hamza’s successful challenge to deprivation of British citizenship. This case was reported in The Telegraph.
MK (Tunisia) (R ota) v SSHD  EWHC (Admin) (upheld by Court of Appeal)
Established in-country right of appeal against revocation of refugee status and leave to remain on national security grounds.
Immigration and Nationality
R (ota Granovski) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1478 (Admin)
Successful challenge to the refual to grant settlement (ILR) to a family who could not meet the Home Office limit on absences.
JCWI & ECCA (R ota) v SSHD  EWHC 3524 (Admin)
Successful challenge to cap on non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrant care workers.
Calvin Broadus v SSHD
Snoop Dogg’s successful appeal against exclusion from the UK. This case was reported in the Wall Street Journal.
R (ota MAJERA) v SSHD  EWHC Admin 825
Secretary of State was wrong to reject fresh claim where previous decisions had failed to take into account important evidence that the claimant was a minor.
AM (Cameroon) v AIT (No.2)  EWCA Civ 100
Court underlined residual right of access to judicial review remedies in cases of breach of natural justice in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT).
R (ota Trevor Smith aka Busta Rhymes) v SSHD
Successful challenge on behalf of Busta Rhymes and Rockcorps Inc to SSHD’s refusal to admit Busta to the UK for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. This case was reported in The Guardian.
B v SSHD  UKHRR 498
Proportionality as a question of domestic law
Seminars and Training
Amanda regularly trains and lectures on public law-related subjects.
Judicial Review: A Practical Guide, Jordans (2012) 2nd ed (co-author)
Judicial Review: Law & Practice, Jordans (2011) 1st ed (contributor)
Macdonald & Webber 5th, 6th & 9th eds (contributor)
‘A witness of truth’ Immigration and Nationality Law and Practice, Vol 12, No 3 1998
Amanda taught public law, including the theory and practice of judicial review, at Birkbeck College, University of London before being called to the Bar in 1995. Since being called to the Bar, she has specialised in judicial review and civil actions against public authorities notably in the fields of mental health and community care, immigration and civil liberties generally. She has a particular interest in representing people on the autism spectrum who face discrimination and inappropriate treatment from public authorities.