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Stephanie Harrison QC

  • Call: 1991
  • Silk: 2013
Stephanie Harrison QC
  "A brilliant advocate, she always adds something to a case." "One of our preferred QCs. She's brilliant, very direct and fierce, very good on her feet and very good at tackling complex cases involving a number of claimants."
Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018

“Excellent advocacy and a good rapport with judges in court. She is creative and pleasant to work with. The amount of expertise she has is really impressive. Also, she is really good strategically.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Administrative and Public Law)

“She is committed, hard-working and knows the law like the back of her hand. A fiery advocate.”
Chambers UK 2018 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“Strategically brilliant; a first-class silk for immigration cases”
Legal 500 2017 (Administrative and Public Law)

“A wonderfully strategic thinker, who’s very smart and always one step ahead of the opponent.” “She’s a visionary and a highly effective advocate.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“Almost unrivalled when it comes her deep knowledge of detention issues.” “She is a legend at the Bar with a famed refugee practice.”
Chambers UK 2017 (Immigration)

“An outstanding advocate, who reads the court incredibly well.”
Legal 500 2016 (Administrative and Public Law)

“She is incredibly down-to-earth, has such a depth of knowledge and has been involved in so many cases that you feel more confident with someone like her on your case.” “On her feet she is the best advocate I have ever seen, she’s completely in control of the court and really pushes the law.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Administrative and Public Law)

“She has unrivalled knowledge of immigration detention law and always goes the extra mile for her clients.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“Stephanie’s exceptional advocacy and strategic approach to cases and issues make her a standout QC in this area.” “She takes a huge amount of information and distils it into the key points.”
Chambers UK 2016 (Immigration)

“Her background is very much immigration-based, and she is an expert in actions against the state. She is a really feisty operator and her advocacy skills are second to none – she brings a sharpness and determination to the case, and she has excellent client care skills.” “The judges love her – she explains things really clearly.”
Chambers UK 2015 (Immigration)

“She’s incredible on paper, and her arguments are flawless. Her advice is brilliant and really easy to digest.”
Chambers UK 2015 (Civil Liberties and Human Rights)

“She is really on top of the issues, and is a great tactician.” “A brilliant and personable barrister.”
Chambers UK 2015 (Administrative and Public Law)

“A guru on immigration law” who “knows everything there is to know about it,” Stephanie Harrison QC “has great wisdom and judgement. She has the ability to deal with very sensitive cases and handles clients with immense calm and wisdom.” “In court she’s capable of delivering knockout blows.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2014

Stephanie Harrison QC concentrates her human rights practice on cases involving public law and civil law. “She knows this area very well. She is a thorough and authoritative advocate.” “She is a good lawyer, who is very passionate, committed and forceful in court.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2014

“She is very clear thinking and can offer workable solutions to thorny and complex problems.” “She is extremely intelligent and very accessible.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2014

“National security cases and unlawful detention are key areas of focus for her, and her expertise in human rights and public law enables her to secure notable wins against the state. According to one source, “she is someone with a very high success rate in an area where most cases go down in flames.”
Chambers and Partners UK 2013


Stephanie practises predominantly in public and administrative law with a strong emphasis on civil liberties and anti-discrimination. She has expertise in all areas of immigration and asylum law and practice. She is committed to maintaining an appellate practice in hearings before the Adjudicator and the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and has extensive experience of judicial review and the Higher Courts including as junior counsel in the House of Lords in Shah and Islam (women as a social group) and Salem (asylum seekers and entitlement to benefits) Adan and Auitseguer (Germany as a safe third country).

The use of international human rights law including the European Convention of Human Rights is now integral to practice and she has considerable expertise in this area as well as experience in applications direct to the European Court of Human Rights. She is also competent in all matters of European Community law including EC Association Agreements. She was junior counsel in the case of Baumbast and R (free movement, the rights of children and family life) in the European Court of Justice.

Stephanie’s practice also includes civil actions, mainly against state authorities, in particular arising from Immigration Act detention and discrimination-related cases.

Other immigration related areas: expertise in social welfare and housing law is essential to immigration and asylum practice. She has an established expertise in these areas and all matters relating to the support of asylum seekers and their families. She has developed a specialisation in family law cases with a strong immigration aspect, particularly Children Act applications, inter-country adoptions and abductions. She has expertise in immigration related criminal matters and the use of anti-terrorism legislation.

Stephanie was appointed as legal counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2015.

Stephanie is ranked for Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Immigration in both the Legal 500 2016 and Chambers UK Bar Guide 2017.


Stephanie has appeared before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in national security deportations including on behalf of two appellants interned under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 as well as advising and representing organisations banned under the Terrorism Act 2000 in the Proscribed Organisations Commission.


Stephanie was shortlisted for Public Law Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Awards 2017. Stephanie is convener of the Garden Court Public Law team, shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2016.

She won the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2013 for her work as an advocate and for her commitment to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures.

Stephanie won the Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year award 2012, at the prestigious Chambers UK Bar Awards.

Jointly with other lawyers involved in legal cases seeking equality for lesbians and gay men, Stephanie was awarded the Stonewall Equality Award in 1997.


  • Blake and Fransman’s Immigration, Nationality and Asylum under the Human Rights Act: chapter on Article 14 discrimination and the ECHR; The Law and Practice in the Application of the Dublin Convention in the UK: European Institute of Public Administration.
  • Contributor to 5th edition of Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice.
  • Contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England: Nationality, Immigration and Asylum.
  • Contributor to Liberty’s on line service on discrimination law. Has contributed articles to Legal Action and Socialist Lawyer.

Notable Cases

Stephanie has appeared in numerous reported cases. News items on Stephanie’s cases can be viewed on our website. Further important cases are summarised below.


Shah and Islam v SHHD, HL (see above)

Lul Omar Adan and others, HL (see above)

R v Uxbridge Magistrates Court ex parte Adimi and others, DC (Article 31)

Thomas Danian v IAT, CA (bad faith)

SSHD v Danaie, CA (Adjudicator’s finding binding on SSHD)

Salem v SSHD CA, HL (benefits)

Muktiar Singh v SSHD, SIAC (Article 3) ECHR/National Security Deportation


R v SSHD ex parte Arman Ali (recourse to public funds and Article 8)

R v SSHD ex parte Obi (illegal entry and British citizenship)

Baumbast and R v SSHD, ECJ (free movement rights)


R (HBH) (Disputed Minors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EW HC 928 (Admin)
Successful challenge to the Home office policy in respect of disputed minors and age determination for those facing prosecution for immigration related offences quashed as unlawful. Culmination of 4 years of litigation involving over 50 children wrongly detained as adults on the basis of unlawful; age assessments and entitled to damages.

R (MT) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWHC (Admin) Established that Home office responsible for the failures of third party contractors in detention centre when they fail to apply detention centre Rules and /or give effect to policy.

Civil claims for damages for unlawful immigration act detention is a specialist area that Stephanie Harrison covers and in 2008/9 she has successfully represented significant number of Claimant’s seeking compensation for unlawful immigration act detention through mediation and settlement. For example:

Bikunga family: £150,000 for two periods of unlawful detention of a family

Akinfenway v Home Office: unlawful detention in breach of policy re torture victims

Paul Singh v Home Office: detention of a British Citizen due to unlawful foreign prisoners policy

Sylivi Kamojour v Home Office: detention in breach of policy re those with mental illness

AH v Home Office Civil claim against the Home Office arising from the detention on national security ground pending deportation, raising complex legal issues re Article 5 and tort of false imprisonment .

National Security Cases

Stephanie Harrison is one a small group of barristers specialising in immigration related national security and terrorist related cases. Appearing in SIAC first in 2000 and in the litigation relating to the legality of detentions under the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 leading to judgment of HL in A and Others [2004] ( detention in breach of Art 5 ECHR) and the substantive appeals leading to A and Others ( No 2) [2006] ( use of torture evidence).

Special Immigration Appeals Commission

VV (deportation to Jordan) and Others (concerning revocation of bail)

Sihali v SSHD (removal to Algeria with assurances) (appeal pending in July)

TT v SSHD (removal to Algeria with assurances) (appeal pending)

VV, OO and PP appeals pending in the Court of Appeal against decisions by SIAC to uphold deportation decisions on nationals security grounds.

Control Orders

Stephanie Harrison has been involved in Control Order cases as a junior and as leading counsel cases include:

JJ and Others , MB and Others (HL quashed CO as a breach of Article 5 and ruled on the scope of Article 6 in Control order proceedings)

AH v Secretary of State for the Home Department (control order upheld- but established no power to carry out personal searches under a CO) On appeal to C/A

Secretary of State v NN [2009] Control order imposed on Iraqi national because of alleged involvement in attack planning in 2005. NN was of one of the original litigants in the JJ and Others

Secretary of State for Home Department v AV [2009]

Judicial Review

AKA MH and Others [2009] EWCA Civ 287 Represented three Claimants in test case litigation about refusal of British nationality on public interests grounds – issue of the nature of the procedural protection and use of Special Advocates was dealt with by Court of Appeal.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Stephanie Harrison is leading in the field of the challenging the use of civil injunctions to prevent or restrict protest rights. Has been involved in a serious of cases including:

R (EM (Lebanon) [2008] UK HL 64 (removal of a Lebanese woman and her son to
circumstance were mother would be deprived of custody and car of son because of Sharia law) lead by Frances Webber landmark case concerned with interpretation of flagrant breach of a fundamental human rights and established for the first time in any jurisdiction that a breach of Article 8 of the ECHR could prevent expulsion of a foreign national.

EDO MBM v Smash EDO: (antiwar protest /use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR)

Heathrow v Garman [2007] (use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR)

Npower v Caroll and Others [2007] (environmental protest/ use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR)

Oxford University v Webb and Others (protests against vivisection and animal experiments / use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR)

Glaxo Smith Klein Beecham v Webb (protests against vivisection and animal experiments/use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR)

Crawley and Horsham Hunt v Wilde and Others (anti illegal hunting/ use of representative proceedings against unincorporated associations/ Protection from Harassment Act /Art 10 and 11 ECHR) Successfully resisted injunction in trespass and harassment against hunt monitors in 2009.

Public Law

In 2008/9 instructed by Steve Lodge at Public Law Solicitors, Birmingham to challenge by way of judicial review polices of Health Authorities policies to refuse funding for gender reassignment treatment. Two cases relating to the policy of the Health Commission for Wales resulted in an entire review of the entire policy for Wales and a grant of funding.

Other cases have settled but in R (C) v Staffordshire PCT permission has been granted to challenge the policy including on grounds of discrimination and a full hearing is yet to be listed.

Also successful appeal in the first case under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 instructed by Steven Lodge.

N v Secretary of State for the Home Department, CA (Human Rights Act damages)