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 ( EWCA Civ 745), and at first instance in the Divisional Court ( 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  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 ( EWCA Civ 1092), and at first instance in the Administrative Court ( 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)  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  UKUT 358 (IAC). An Upper Tribunal Presidential panel decision concerning the correct approach to determining whether refugee status should be revoked;
- Rhuppiah v SSHD, in the Supreme Court ( UKSC 58) and the Court of Appeal ( EWCA Civ 803). The key domestic authority on private life under Article 8 ECHR in the context of administrative removal;
- Andell (foreign criminal – para 398)  UKUT 198 (IAC). Guidance on the definition of a ‘foreign criminal’ under the Immigration Rules;
- IA (Pakistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 784. A deportation appeal on Article 8 ECHR grounds;
- IR (Jamaica) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 419. A deportation appeal on Article 8 ECHR grounds.
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 ( EWCA Civ 745), and at first instance in the Divisional Court ( EWHC 3230). A systemic challenge to the policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda in order to have their asylum claims determined there.
- R (S and AZ) v SSHD & Ors, on appeal in the Court of Appeal ( EWCA Civ 1092), and at first instance in the Administrative Court ( 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 successful upheld on appeal.
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 R3 (Deprivation: Substantive)  SC/150/2018 (19 February 2021), an appeal against citizenship deprivation where the SSHD alleged that the Appellant had aligned himself with an Al-Qaeda aligned group in Syria, and posed a threat to national security. SIAC’s judgment was appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in turn gave guidance on the application of Article 8 ECHR in the context of citizenship deprivation: R3 v SSHD  EWCA Civ 169.
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  EWHC 2291 (Admin), a challenge to the lock-in regime and detention conditions at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.
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  ECHR 609 (10 April 2012).
More recent work includes third-party interventions in the European Court of Human Rights, in Otite v United Kingdom  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.