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Camila practises in immigration, asylum, public law and civil liberties.

Immigration: Asylum and human rights

Camila is regularly instructed to appear in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals in complex asylum, human rights and deport appeals for vulnerable adults and children. She has particular experience representing victims of human trafficking, torture and sexual violence, unaccompanied minors, individuals with mental health needs and those who lack capacity.

Camila’s experience of the range of immigration matters also includes issues relating to revocation of refugee status, ‘first countries of asylum’ and the Immigration Rules (including entry clearance).

 

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Administrative and Public Law

Camila represents clients in judicial review claims, including on an urgent basis, in the Upper Tribunal and Administrative Court, including challenges to decisions relating to fresh claims, certification, immigration detention, removal and trafficking.  

She represented the Seven Sisters Latin Village market traders in their legal challenge to the government’s decision to redevelop the market, led by Marc Willers QC and Tim Baldwin.

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Civil Liberties

Camila advises claimants in civil damages claims against the police and prisons, including false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office and claims under the Human Rights Act 1998. She represents bereaved family members in inquests and has experience in making submissions on the applicability of Article 2 ECHR. 

Camila was recently instructed by Hodge Jones and Allen, led by Una Morris, for the claimant in TPKN v Ministry of Defence [2019] EWHC 1488 (QB). The issue was whether the Ministry of Defence could be held vicariously liable for the rape of the claimant by a fellow soldier on base, following a social event. The claimant successfully appealed against summary judgment/strike out. 

During her pupillage under the supervision of Maya Sikand and Keir Monteith QC, Camila worked on statutory criminal appeals against conviction for victims of human trafficking (including R v L; R v N [2017] EWCA Crim 2129), and drafted grounds of referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. She also appeared in the Crown, Magistrates and Youth courts for trials, bail hearings, sentencing, contested Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings and Criminal Behaviour Order hearings.

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Pro Bono

Camila regularly accepts pro bono instructions from Bail for Immigration Detainees and other NGOs, including Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit), in respect of bail, deport appeals and asylum support appeals.

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Latest News

Garden Court barristers submit report as independent international observers for Bolivian presidential elections

Accredited by the Supreme Electoral Court of Bolivia (TSE) to be independent international observers for the Bolivian presidential elections, our Camila Zapata Besso & Steven Galliver-Andrew have submitted their final report to the TSE's president.

11 November 2020

The Asylum Research Centre publishes its major report yielding interesting results on the reliability of reports produced by the Trump administration

By Camila Zapata Besso of the Garden Court Immigration Team.

9 November 2020

Amicus curiae brief on international human rights and environmental law filed in Wayúu indigenous peoples’ claim against mining company in Colombia

The amicus was drafted by Camila Zapata Besso of the Garden Court International Team with Jelia Sane and Dr Keina Yoshida of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Sue Willman of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

14 September 2020

COVID 19: Implications for bail hearings

Briefing prepared by Camila Zapata Besso and Navida Quadi of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team.

14 April 2020

Two-day court hearing set to start over demolition of Seven Sisters indoor market

The Claimants are represented by Marc Willers QC, Tim Baldwin and Camila Zapata Besso of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Hodge Jones and Allen.

7 October 2019

Camila Zapata Besso of Garden Court selected by the Bar Council to speak on human rights in Mexico and Colombia

Camila Zapata Besso is a member of the Garden Court Immigration, Public Law and Civil Liberties Teams.

7 September 2019

Garden Court Chambers welcomes new tenant Camila Zapata Besso

We are delighted to announce that Camila Zapata Besso has joined Garden Court Chambers as a tenant.

1 August 2019

Ministry of Defence can be vicariously liable for rape committed on base

Una Morris and Camila Zapata Besso successfully acted for the Claimant in TPKN v Ministry of Defence [2019]. Read about the legal implications of the recent judgment.

26 July 2019

Three campaigners cleared of disrupting Cardiff defence industry event

The defendants were represented by Audrey Cherryl Mogan, Meredoc McMinn and Camila Zapata Besso.

5 July 2018

Hill immunity revisited: The beginning of the end?

Stephen Clark, Laura Profumo and Camila Zapata Besso comment on the recent Supreme Court judgment in Robinson v Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police [2018] UKSC 4.

9 February 2018

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Background

Before coming to the Bar Camila volunteered at Grenfell Legal Support, the Free Representation Unit, the United Migrant Workers Education Project, Survival International and a human rights consultancy in Colombia.

Camila has a continuing interest in Latin American human rights issues. She completed her LLM thesis under the supervision of Professor Roger O'Keefe on the protection of indigenous culture under international human rights and cultural heritage law (first class). She has provided oral and written advocacy on the protection of human rights defenders in Latin America.  The Bar Council awarded her the International Legal Professional Scholarship in 2019 to deliver talks on human trafficking and modern slavery at conferences in Mexico and Colombia, and in 2020 she drafted an amicus curiae brief for a Colombian case concerning indigenous peoples’ rights.

As a keen social mobility advocate, she has appealed for school bursary funding at the V&A museum and has delivered panel discussions about diversity in the legal profession at events organised by the Human Rights Lawyers Association, Kings College London and Goldsmiths University.  

Awards

  • International Legal Professional Scholarship, the Bar Council and Criminal Bar Association (2019)
  • Ann Felicity Goddard Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2018)
  • Prize for best individual oralist and best written pleadings in the UK, Jessup International Law Moot (2017)
  • Inderpal Rahal Memorial Trust Award (2016)
  • Lord Justice Holker Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2015)
  • GDL Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2014)
  • Sloane Robinson Scholarship (2010)

Education

  • LLM in International Law, UCL (Distinction, top of the year in international refugee law and international humanitarian law) [2016-17]
  •  Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (Very Competent) [2015-16]
  • Graduate Diploma in Law [2014-15] 
  • BA (Hons) English, University of Bristol [2010-13]

Professional Membership

  • Liberty
  • Justice
  • Colombian Caravana
  • Police Action Lawyers Group
  • Administrative Law Bar Association

Languages

  • Spanish (fluent)