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Franck Magennis

  • Call: 2016
Franck Magennis - barrister photo


A recently appointed tenant, Franck is developing a broad public and civil practice. His work centres on challenging the most abusive and violent excesses of the British state and the landlord class. He has particular experience of asylum and deportation appeals, all areas of defendant-side housing law, and parole board hearings.

Immigration and asylum

Franck regularly appears in the First-tier Tribunal representing migrants facing removal and deportation. He has acted for clients from a number of countries, including Jamaica, Ethiopia and Iran. He retains a particular interest in cases concerning ex-British colonies and those countries currently enduring or recovering from British military violence. In this regard, he has represented unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Afghanistan and numerous Iraqi clients.

He has extensive experience of obtaining immigration bail for vulnerable clients who find themselves in the poorly regulated jurisdiction of administrative detention. He is well-versed in the law relating to victims of torture and trafficking, and regularly deploys his knowledge of the National Referral Mechanism when arguing against removal or deportation and in favour of bail.

As a pupil Franck was supervised by Mark Symes, who ensured that Franck received comprehensive drafting experience across all areas of immigration and asylum law, up to Court of Appeal level.


Franck accepts instructions from defendants resisting possession proceedings, as well as those experiencing homelessness who seek to enforce their right to be housed by a Local Authority. He has experience of suspending warrants for possession, of drafting advice on the merits of defending possession claims against both public and private landlords, and of representing clients up to trial.

Franck was a pupil under Liz Davies, the co-author of Housing Allocation and Homelessness. Through her he gained experience of homelessness appeals under s.204 of the Housing Act 1996.

He retains a particular interest in acting for squatters and those who actively contest the terms of the UK’s worsening housing crisis. He also advises on the legal requirements associated with establishing housing cooperatives, which are set to be exempt from the prospective right-to-buy provisions due to affect housing association tenancies.

Prison law

Franck has experience appearing at parole board hearings. Before being called to the bar he regularly volunteered his time at the Prisoners’ Advice Service, where he developed his knowledge of the practical and legal realities governing life inside. Franck recently represented a man who had been convicted of a gang-related murder at the age of seventeen, securing his client’s transfer to open conditions.

Criminal defence: protest cases

Franck accepts instructions from those charged with criminal offences relating to public protest. He has acted for people charged while resisting their illegal eviction from squats, for anti-fracking protestors, and for activists monitoring and disrupting badger culls. He is interested in the tactical and political considerations surrounding whether or not defendants should run defences of justification.

Civil actions against public authorities (“AAP”)

Franck’s knowledge of asylum, prison and criminal law strengthens his grasp of how successfully to sue public authorities. Before arriving at Garden Court, he spent two years as a paralegal in the AAP Department at Birnberg Peirce & Partners. There he received training in how to obtain damages from the Home Office, prison governors, police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service. He also contributed to civil litigation in the High Court governed by Closed Material Procedures, brought against the security services in relation to their imposition of “control orders” on a group of Libyan dissidents.

Community and workplace organising and political activism

With an emphasis on grassroots and workplace activity, Franck situates his practice inside broader movements for socio-economic equality and political liberation. During pupillage Franck co-founded the Materialist Lawyers’ Group, which critically interrogates and challenges the operation of law from a materialist, as opposed to liberal-idealist, standpoint. Based in part on his own experience as a paralegal, he is an active participant in the Paralegals’ Association, who aim to organise paralegals into effective bargaining units capable of agitating for better working conditions, shorter hours and a greater share of law firms’ profits.

Franck is co-founder of Housing Action Greenwich and Lewisham (‘HAGL’), a non-hierarchical group of local citizens who share knowledge and collectively solve their housing problems. During his Master’s degree in 2014 he co-founded Deptford Cinema, a community-run, non-profit arts organisation providing access to radical culture at below-market rates. He is currently co-pioneering the London Learning Cooperative, a public experiment in redistributive pricing and emancipatory pedagogy.

He enjoys playing piano (especially Rihanna tunes), chess, and writing plays.