David Sellwood

Year of Call: 2012

"David is a highly competent, diligent and skilled advocate, with significant experience of highly complex and high-profile immigration applications and appeals."

Legal 500, 2024 (Immigration)

"He has excellent communication in all situations, impeccable attention to detail, and he is capable of making all the difference in difficult cases."

Chambers UK, 2024

"His calm advocacy is emotive, meticulous and watertight."

Chambers UK, 2024

"Very reliable and very responsive. He produces great written work and has great knowledge of the law."

Chambers UK, 2024

"Very professional, responsive, charismatic and meticulous in the work he does."

Chambers UK, 2023

"David is very organised and thorough and has excellent client skills. He is calm and able to cope with the unexpected. His oral submissions are excellent as is his written work."

Legal 500, 2023 (Immigration)


To get in touch:​ Or you can contact the relevant​ Practice Team Clerks directly and they will be happy to assist with your enquiry.

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David Sellwood specialises in immigration, asylum, nationality and human rights law. He acts in public and private law proceedings in courts and tribunals at all levels, including SIAC and the Supreme Court. He is regularly instructed in complex asylum, deportation and citizenship deprivation proceedings; judicial reviews; and claims challenging unlawful immigration detention.

David is co-convenor of Garden Court’s immigration team and ranked in Chambers and Partners, UK Bar (Immigration).


David has a broad immigration, asylum and human rights practice, both advisory and advocacy based.  He has detailed knowledge and experience of the Immigration Rules, immigration legislation and policy, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

David regularly receives instructions in complex deportation and removal proceedings concerned with protection and or human rights issues. Most recently he has acted in a number of immigration claims against designation under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. He acts for a range of clients, from high-net worth individuals to those in receipt of legal aid. 

David’s reported cases include:

  • AAA & Ors v SSHD,  in the Supreme Court ([2023 UKSC 42), and the Court of Appeal ([2023] EWCA Civ 745), and at first instance in the Divisional Court ([2022] EWHC 3230). A systemic challenge to the policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda in order to have their asylum claims determined there.
  • MAH v SSHD [2023] EWCA Civ 216, a rare example of the Court of Appeal setting aside a refugee protection decision from the Upper Tribunal and redetermining the issue for itself. The judgment sets out several important principles applicable in refugee claims, including the correct standard of proof, and the fact that there is no legal requirement to provide corroborating evidence;
  • R (S and AZ) v SSHD & Ors, on appeal in the Court of Appeal ([2022] EWCA Civ 1092), and at first instance in the Administrative Court ([2022] EWHC 1402 (Admin)). A challenge to the refusal to allow two Afghan judges at risk from the Taliban to relocate to the UK. The claim was successfully upheld on appeal;
  • Birch (Precariousness and mistake; new matters) [2020] UKUT 86 (IAC). An Upper Tribunal Presidential panel decision addressing how precarious immigration status affects a challenge against administrative removal under Article 8, ECHR;
  • SB (refugee revocation; IDP camps) Somalia [2019] UKUT 358 (IAC). An Upper Tribunal Presidential panel decision concerning the correct approach to determining whether refugee status should be revoked;

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Administrative and Public Law

David’s judicial review practice involves challenges to a whole range of immigration-related decisions, including: unlawful immigration detention; the conditions and treatment of immigration detainees; refusal to provide support and accommodation to migrants; failure to recognise victims of trafficking and modern slavery; refusal to recognise further submissions as a fresh claim under the Immigration Rules; certification of protection and human rights claims; entry clearance refusals; delays in decision making; refusal to provide biometric residence cards to migrants; removal during on-going civil claims; refusal of the Upper Tribunal (IAC) to grant permission to appeal; and the refusal to naturalise or register individuals as British citizens.

Recent cases include:

  • AAA & Ors v SSHD,  in the Supreme Court ([2023 UKSC 42), the Court of Appeal ([2023] EWCA Civ 745), and at first instance in the Divisional Court ([2022] EWHC 3230). A systemic challenge to the policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda in order to have their asylum claims determined there.

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David advises and represents individuals in appeals and reviews before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (‘SIAC’), including where there has been exclusion from the UK, citizenship deprivation, or the refusal to naturalise. He has experience in cases involving national security; including allegations of terrorism, serious organised crime, and corruption. He is currently instructed in several cases before SIAC.

Recent cases include:

  • C9 v SSHD [2024] SC/173/2020, 2 February 2024. An appeal against citizenship deprivation, where the SSHD alleged involvement in Serious Organised Crime.
  • R3 v SSHD, in the Court of Appeal ([2023] EWCA Civ 169), and at first instance in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ([2021] SC/150/2018, 19 February 2021). The case concerned citizenship deprivation on national security grounds, where the SSHD alleged that the Appellant had aligned himself with an Al-Qaeda aligned group in Syria. The Court of Appeal provided guidance on the application of Article 8 ECHR in the context of citizenship deprivation appeals.

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Immigration Detention

David is regularly instructed in unlawful detention / false imprisonment claims in the Administrative Court and County Court. He advises, drafts, and undertakes advocacy at all stages of proceedings. He has particular expertise in the treatment of Foreign National Offenders, and vulnerable detainees who fall under the Home Office’s Adults at Risk policies, including those with mental health issues; and victims of torture or modern day slavery. 

Recent cases include R (Soltany & Ors) v SSHD [2020] EWHC 2291 (Admin), a challenge to the lock-in regime and detention conditions at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.

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David regularly advises and represents individuals with claims to British citizenship, or subject to citizenship deprivation (both on ‘conducive to the public good’ grounds, or as a result of alleged fraud).

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International Human Rights

David has significant international human rights experience, having worked and studied in the area for a number of years prior to the Bar. He has been involved in drafting petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, including in the case of a Ukrainian national facing execution in Virginia: IACHR, Report No. 53/13, Case 12.864, Merits, Ivan Teleguz, United States (15 July 2013). David also co-authored an amicus curiae brief addressing prison conditions in the US in a European Court of Human Rights case: Babar Ahmed and Others v United Kingdom [2012] ECHR 609 (10 April 2012).

More recent work includes third-party interventions in the European Court of Human Rights, in Otite v United Kingdom [2022] ECHR 748 (27 September 2022), and Osagiede v United Kingdom (App no 228/20) (pending), both concerned with the correct approach to Article 8 ECHR in the context of deportation.

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David has provided pro bono advice and representation to Bail for Immigration Detainees since he was called to the bar.  He has also represented individuals through Advocate (formally, the Bar Pro Bono Unit), and continues to work pro bono on other matters.

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Notable Cases & News

Rwanda Judgment: Supreme Court unanimously rules Rwanda policy is unlawful

Sonali Naik KC, Adrian Berry, Mark Symes, Eva Doerr and Isaac Ricca-Richardson, of Garden Court Chambers, represent AS (Iran). David Sellwood, of Garden Court Chambers, is part of the team representing RM (Iran).

15 November 2023

Rwanda Plan in Supreme Court: Garden Court representing asylum seekers

Sonali Naik KC, Adrian Berry, Mark Symes, Eva Doerr and Isaac Ricca-Richardson, of Garden Court Chambers, represent AS (Iran). David Sellwood, of Garden Court Chambers, is part of the team representing RM (Iran).

9 October 2023

Rwanda Judgment: Court of Appeal rules government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful

Sonali Naik KC, Adrian Berry, Mark Symes, Eva Doerr and Isaac Ricca-Richardson represent AS (Iran). David Sellwood is part of the team representing RM (Iran).

29 June 2023

Refugee protection appeal allowed outright by the Court of Appeal

The Appellant, MAH was represented by David Jones and David Sellwood of Garden Court Chambers.

1 March 2023

Rwanda judgment: Permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal granted

Sonali Naik KC, Amanda Weston KC, Mark Symes, Eva Doerr, Isaac Ricca-Richardson, Alex Grigg, David Sellwood, Raza Halim and Ali Bandegani of Garden Court Chambers instructed for the claimants.

18 January 2023

Rwanda judgment: Home Secretary failed to properly consider if asylum seekers should not be relocated to Rwanda

Garden Court Chambers (with others) represented a number of claimants.

19 December 2022

Court of Appeal dismisses Home Secretary’s appeal against High Court decision quashing UK Government refusal to consider relocation claims of two Afghan judges

Sonali Naik QC, Irena Sabic and Emma Fitzsimons acted for S, instructed by Wilson LLP Irena Sabic, David Sellwood and Maha Sardar acted for AZ, instructed by Wilson LLP.

5 August 2022

Garden Court Chambers jointly wins Highly Commended at The Lawyer Awards 2022 for Pro Bono Initiative of the Year supporting Afghan judiciary

We are proud to have received Highly Commended for The Lawyer Principal members of our Garden Court team involved in the initiative were Sonali Naik QC, Irena Sabic, Maha Sardar, Ali Bandegani, Emma Fitzsimons, Maria Moodie and David Sellwood.

13 July 2022

High Court grants the judicial review claims of two Afghan Judges against the Government’s refusal of their claims to relocate to the UK

High Court grants the judicial review claims of two Afghan Judges against the Government’s refusal of their claims to relocate to the UK.

9 June 2022

Garden Court Chambers shortlisted at The Lawyer Awards 2022 for Pro Bono initiative to support Afghan judiciary

3 May 2022

Garden Court Immigration Team dedicate 10th Edition of Macdonald's Immigration Law & Practice to the life and legacy of Ian Macdonald QC

The General Editors, Stephanie Harrison QC, Ronan Toal & Sadat Sayeed, are leaders in the field & practice in the number one ranked Garden Court Immigration Team. David Neale is a legal researcher & former barrister

25 June 2021

Appellant’s appeal against removal from UK is allowed by consent in the Court of Appeal

Mr Khan was represented in the Court of Appeal by Stephanie Harrison QC leading David Sellwood of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team.

7 February 2020

Supreme Court gives guidance on the right to private life in immigration removal cases

David Sellwood was junior counsel in the case, representing the appellant, Rhuppiah.

14 November 2018

Supreme Court to give guidance on the right to private life under Article 8, ECHR

David Sellwood represented the appellant, led by Hugh Southey QC at Matrix Chambers.  They were instructed by Muhunthan Paramesvaran at Wilson Solicitors LLP. 

13 July 2018

Garden Court and Stephanie Harrison QC shortlisted for Human Rights and Public Law awards

Garden Court has been shortlisted at the Chambers Bar Awards, whilst Stephanie and our Public Law Team are shortlisted at the Legal 500 Awards.

21 October 2016

Garden Court welcomes David Sellwood to its Immigration Team

David practises in all areas of immigration law, with a focus on asylum and human rights.

23 August 2016

All related news


David spent over eight years in the human rights sector prior to the Bar. He worked at Reprieve, identifying and assisting European nationals on death row in the United States, initially as the Head of EC Project, then as joint Interim Director of their Death Penalty Team.

David joined Reprieve from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he was a Human Rights Adviser seconded by Prisoners Abroad. He advised diplomats and government ministers on human rights issues affecting British nationals overseas, including the right to a fair trial, prisoners' rights, miscarriages of justice, and the death penalty.

David also worked as a Senior Immigration Caseworker at Wilson Solicitors LLP, then Refugee and Migrant Justice. He undertook an internship at the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights in Kingston, Jamaica, assisting local counsel and UK based lawyers representing prisoners sentenced to death.



Contributor, Jackson’s Immigration Law and Practice (fifth ed, Bloomsbury Professional) (forthcoming).

Contributor, Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (ninth and tenth eds, LexisNexis Butterworths) (2017, 2018, and 2021).

Contributor, The Law and Practice of Expulsion and Exclusion from the UK (first ed, Hart Publishing) (2014).


Articles, Practice Notes

Deportation LexisNexis Practice Note (2018, co-author).

Challenging deportation decisions LexisNexis Practice Note (2018, co-author).

Case Comment: I.A (Appellant) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) Scotland [2014] UKSC, Journal of Immigration and Nationality Law (2014)

Capital Punishment and the Caribbean: A Marriage on the Rocks? (2005) Vol 30, No.1, West Indian Law Journal 33.

Training and Seminars

David conducts training on a wide range of legal issues and areas of law. 

Previous training includes:

SIAC: Expanded review jurisdiction & detention powers in terrorism cases, Garden Court Chambers’ Nationality and Borders Bill Conference, London (March 2022).

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission: An Introduction, Wilson Solicitors LLP, London (September 2021).

Deprivation of British Nationality: the post-Begum landscape, Garden Court Chambers (April 2021).

Damages for visa revocation and maladministration by the Home Office, Garden Court Chambers (October 2020).

The good character tests in British citizenship applications, Gherson, London (February 2020).

Deprivation of citizenship: legal and practical issues in preparing deprivation appeals, Garden Court Chambers, London (November 2019).

An introduction to immigration and asylum law, Newham Psychological Service, NHS, London (October 2019)

Persecution by reason of political opinion, Mischon de Reya, London (April 2019).

Rhuppiah v SSHD: challenging removal on Article 8 grounds, Garden Court Chambers (February 2019).

Immigration bail under the Immigration Act 2016, Luqmani Thompson and Partners, London (May 2018).

Asylum, immigration and human rights update, Brighton Housing Trust, Brighton (April 2018).

Unlawful detention: principle, policy and procedure, Duncan Lewis Solicitors, London (July 2017).

Judicial review, Rashid and Rashid solicitors, London (May 2015).

Consular assistance and the protection of human rights, British High Commission, Islamabad, Pakistan (April 2011).

The death penalty and the prohibition on torture under international law, Reprieve Death Penalty Conference, Punjab Bar Council, Lahore, Pakistan (April 2011).

Representing foreign nationals Facing the death penalty, Capital Case Defense Seminar 2011, Monterey, California (February 2011).

The death penalty under international law: an end in sight? Vermont Law Review Symposium, Vermont Law School, Vermont, USA (February 2011).

Reprieve’s EU Death Penalty Project: trends and patterns, European Union Delegation to the United States, Washington DC, USA (February 2011).

Partnerships for abolition – NGOs and the European Union, 4th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, Geneva, Switzerland (February 2010).

Public and private diplomacy and the death penalty, Centre on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California, USA (October 2008).


Sir J.C. Smith Travelling Scholarship, University of Nottingham

European Commission Scholarship Centre for Capital Punishment Studies


  • LLB (Hons), (ULaw)
  • LLM, Human Rights Law (Notts) - Distinction
  • BSc (Hons), Politics and International Relations (Soton)

Professional Membership

Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA)

Bar Human Rights Committee

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