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Tessa Buchanan

  • Call: 2012
Tessa Buchanan

"Very good at relating to clients, and so highly intelligent that you completely trust her advice."

"She is an impressive junior who has a good attention to detail, and is willing and able to go the extra mile."

Chambers UK Bar Guide 2018


Tessa is a social welfare law practitioner with particular expertise in the following fields:

– Housing
– Homelessness
– Gypsy and Traveller Law
– Community care
– Mental health
– Education

Her practice is primarily publicly funded and she is committed to representing the most vulnerable members of society. She regularly represents clients in a wide range of hearings in the County Court and High Court and is also currently instructed in several cases in the Court of Appeal. She is the vice-chair of the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association. She has a particular interest in representing clients from the Gypsy, Traveller, and Roma communities.

Housing and homelessness

Tessa is committed to representing clients who are homeless, who are at risk of losing their home, or whose homes suffer from disrepair. She is regularly instructed in judicial review claims, homelessness appeals, possession and disrepair trials, and other housing-related matters.

Recent notable cases include:

  • Panayiotou v London Borough of Waltham Forest

Tessa is currently acting as junior counsel for the Appellant in this case, which is concerned with Lord Neuberger’s definition of vulnerability in Hotak v London Borough of Southwark [2015] UKSC 30 and the meaning of “significantly” more vulnerable.  The Appellant has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the case will be heard in 2017.

  • A successful urgent application for interim relief in a judicial review.
  • An appeal against a decision that the client was not in priority need which settled in the client’s favour.
  • A successful contested appeal against a finding of intentional homelessness.
  • A successful contested application for an interim injunction in a homelessness appeal.
  • A successful application to discharge an anti-social behaviour injunction.
  • A successful appeal against a District Judge’s decision to grant an injunction.
  • Kalganova v Matumorya and Mandazi October 2014 Legal Action 48

Tessa acted for the Second Defendant in a claim for possession brought on the grounds that the Defendants were trespassers.  In a complex case involving multiple contracts/tenancy agreements and a fraudulent third party, she successfully rebutted arguments that the Defendants had entered onto the land without lawful consent; that a tenancy agreement  between the Claimant and the agent was void for uncertainty, illegality, or fraudulent misrepresentation; that the agreement between the Claimant and the agent did not create a tenancy and was not valid; that the Defendants’ subtenancy had been forfeited; and that the subtenancy was unlawful.

Tessa is actively involved with the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association. As well as being the vice-chair, she is also the Executive Committee member responsible for law reform proposals and regularly responds to consultations on HLPA’s behalf.

She is the co-author of Article 8 and disability discrimination: where are we now? [2014] 18 L. & T. Review 210.

Gypsy and Traveller law

Tessa has a particular interest in representing members of the Gypsy, Traveller, and Roma communities. She has appeared in some notable recent cases in this area:

  • Mulvenna v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 3494 (Admin).

Tessa is junior counsel (led by Marc Willers QC) for the Claimants in this case. Permission has been granted to appeal to the Court of Appeal in this case and the case will be heard in 2017.

  • Ealing LBC v Connors [2016] EWHC 1387 (QB)
    She acts for the First Defendant in this case, which was reported in the Journal of Planning Law.

Tessa is a contributor to the third edition of Gypsy and Traveller Law, due to be published by LAG in 2017. She is a member of the Traveller Movement’s pro bono panel of counsel and is also a trustee for the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit.

Community care, education, and mental health

Tessa acts in a wide range of community care cases. She is regularly instructed in judicial review matters and appears frequently in the High Court.

She has a particular interest in representing children and is often instructed in cases involving challenges to failures to provide support or accommodation under the Children Act 1989; cases involving children who are leaving or have left care; and challenges to age assessments of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

She also practises in education law and has frequently assisted parents seeking to challenge the contents of their children’s Education, Health and Care Plans.

She also appears in Mental Health Tribunals in cases challenging detention (or aspects of that detention) under the Mental Health Act 1983

Significant cases include:

  • R (SC) v London Borough of Ealing [2016] EWHC 2765 (Admin)
    Tessa acts for the Claimant in a Children Act challenge which is currently before the Court of Appeal.
  • R (HM) v Kent County Council
    Tessa is acting for the Claimant in an age assessment case in which the correct test for permission in a challenge to a refusal to re-assess has been confirmed.


Tessa joined Garden Court Chambers in October 2013, after completing her pupillage under the supervision of Beatrice Prevatt and Marguerite Russell.

Prior to coming to the Bar, she volunteered with Hammersmith and Fulham Community Law Centre, the Children’s Legal Centre, Just for Kids Law, the Free Representation Unit (FRU), and the National Centre for Domestic Violence. She also spent time in Ghana after winning a bursary from the Commonwealth in England Barristers’ Association, during which she worked with and visited organisations including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Legal Aid Board, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit, and the Human Rights Advocacy Centre.


  • Bernard Sunley prize, Inner Temple (2012-13)
  • Princess Royal Scholar, Inner Temple (2011-12)
  • Trinity Chambers Prize for Best Overall Performance, Northumbria University BPTC (2011-12)
  • Parklane Plowden Chambers Prize for Best Advocate, Northumbria University BPTC (2011-12)
  • BPTC Scholar, Northumbria University (2011-12)
  • Winner, Inner Temple Leeds Debating Competition (2011)
  • Winner, Middle Temple Monroe Cup (2010)