"Can turn around high-quality, detailed work in a short space of time."
Legal 500, 2019
“Maria is thorough, detailed and practical in her work advising and representing clients in often complex cases which have issues spanning across different areas of law. She is second to none in her dedication and meticulous preparation in order to get the best possible result for very vulnerable clients whose futures often depend on the outcome of the case.”
Warwick Norris, GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates
Maria has a specialist public law practice in the areas of community care (Adult and Children Act cases), human trafficking, migrant welfare, housing, immigration and asylum law.
Prior to her career at the bar, Maria worked for a number of years in the charity sector advising on children’s rights issues. This front line experience very much forms the basis of Maria’s commitment to representing children, vulnerable adults and victims of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking / Immigration and Asylum Law
Maria has developed niche expertise in the area of human trafficking. She frequently advises and represents victims of trafficking in immigration and asylum matters as well as in public law challenges concerning age disputes, the proper identification of victims and the enforcement of the positive obligations arising under Article 4 ECHR.
Maria was most recently instructed on behalf of the Poppy Project (Eaves for Women) to intervene in test case litigation challenging the Detained Fast Track and, in particular, the inherent unfairness of this process for victims of trafficking. The Home Office conceded that it had acted incompatibly with Article 4 ECHR and the High Court declared that the process had operated in a discriminatory manner contrary to s.149 EA 2010 for vulnerable groups. The Home Office have now suspended operation of the Detained Fast Track.
Maria is co-author of the chapter on human trafficking in Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (9th Edition).
Social Welfare Law / Age Dispute Challenges
Maria practises in all areas of community care, with a particular focus on Children Act challenges. She has considerable experience of advising and representing claimants in public law challenges relating to community care assessments, child in need assessments, the provision of services and support and the on-going duties owed to care leavers.
She is specifically engaged with issues that arise from the interface between immigration and the provision of community care and welfare support. Maria previously acted as a Duty Representative for the Asylum Support Appeals Project in the First Tier Tribunal (Asylum Support), where she represented clients in s.4 and s.95 appeals. Maria has experience of advising on judicial review actions arising from these appeals.
Having mentored a number of unaccompanied asylum seeking minors and child victims of trafficking whilst working in the charity sector, Maria has a valuable insight into this client group and the particular issues they face. Maria is frequently instructed to advise and represent victims of trafficking in community care challenges.
Maria has particular specialism in age dispute judicial review challenges which involve cross over issues of homelessness, dispersal, unlawful detention and removal. Maria is committed to the protection of the rights of these children, who are often experiencing mental health issues as a result of torture, trauma or trafficking experiences.
Maria advises in all areas of housing law including possession proceedings, homelessness appeals, disrepair, unlawful evictions, allocation of social housing and housing-related anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) injunctions.
The broad nature of Maria’s experience means that she is able to apply public law and discrimination arguments effectively in a housing law context, particularly when representing vulnerable clients.
Maria has a dual qualification undergraduate law degree in English and French law, specialising in EU law. She then successfully completed a Maitrise (MA) in EU and French law at the University of Rennes (France).
Maria’s fluency in French was most recently sought after during an advisory project coordinated by the International Senior Lawyers Project exploring refugee determinations in Cameroon as a result of the increasing numbers of asylum seekers fleeing Boko Haram in Nigeria. Maria welcomes instructions from francophone countries.
European Court of Human Rights
In 2014, Maria was seconded to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg as a Pegasus Scholar. Whilst there she worked closely with the Head of the UK’s Legal Division in advising on wide-ranging applications, drafting chambers judgments and communications to the UK government. These included the recent application brought against the UK following disclosure by Edward Snowden of alleged indiscriminate and un-targeted interception of external communications and metadata of journalistic material contrary to Articles 8 and 10 (Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Alice Ross v UK 62322/14 and Big Brother Watch and Others v UK 58170/13).
Maria also worked on an application alleging violation of religious freedom of expression (Green v UK 36797/14 challenging the Supreme Court’s judgement in Bull v Hall  UKSC 73) as well as an application challenging the operation of the limited jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal to undertake a full merits assessment of decisions made by the Independent Safeguarding Board (Harvey v UK (80237/13)).
Maria has previously lived and worked in Japan and subsequently maintained her study of Japanese (to an intermediate level, but this remains a work in progress!). She was later awarded a scholarship to study Mandarin at Beijing University (北京语言大学). After having spent a considerable amount of time in both countries Maria has a long standing interest in South East Asia, in particular Chinese and Japanese affairs.
- Pegasus Scholarship 2014
- Inner Temple Pupillage Award 2012
- Lord Taylor Prize 2011 (Second Highest Grade on the BPTC)
- NTU Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship to Beijing University to study Mandarin Chinese 2011
- Representative of NLS at the ICC International Moot Mediation Competition held in Paris
- Winner, Nottingham Law School Moot Mediation Competition 2011