Gemma Loughran

Year of Call: 2008

"She is such an experienced barrister. She is great with strategy and understands how to build a strong case.”

Chambers UK, 2024

"Gemma works closely and assiduously with instructing solicitor and lay client, ensuring no stone is unturned in the preparation of a case."

Legal 500, 2024

"An incredibly experienced and knowledgeable barrister. She always has the client at the forefront of all decisions and strategy."

Chambers UK, 2023

"She is a very thorough barrister and gives clear and concise advice. She is very experienced and gets great results."

Chambers UK, 2022 (Immigration)

"Gemma is a brilliant lawyer. She prepares thoroughly. She is meticulous with her paperwork."

Legal 500, 2022 (Immigration)

"She is an extremely effective barrister; the quality of her presentation and her distilling of complicated legal issues is very impressive. She is also a thorough and skilful advocate who inspires confidence in clients and solicitors alike."

Chambers UK, 2021 (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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Legal 500 2023: Leading Junior

Gemma Loughran provides advice and representation in all areas of immigration, asylum and human rights law. She is recommended in the Legal 500 and in the Chambers UK Bar Guide in immigration. She is registered with the Bar Council for public access work. 

Immigration Law


Gemma has extensive experience in asylum and human rights law, having worked in the field for over 15 years. She regularly appears in high-level complex asylum and deportation appeals.

Gemma undertakes national security work in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, acting in deprivation of citizenship cases.

Gemma is able to advise on private immigration matters including all aspects of the Points Based System, family based applications, nationality, visit visas and EEA applications.

Notable Cases

Past notable cases can be viewed below. Click here to see a list of recent notable cases.

Court of Appeal

AS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 208
Preliminary hearing in a pending appeal against the decision of the Upper Tribunal in a Country Guidance case about the return of Afghan nationals to Kabul – AS (Safety of Kabul) Afghanistan CG [2018] UKUT 0018 (IAC). It raised a novel question of jurisdiction about the circumstances in which the Upper Tribunal can correct errors in the reasons which it gives for its decisions.

AB (Sierra Leone) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] (C5/2015/3121)
Complex legal argument regarding the issue that the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s refusal to revoke the deportation order left the Appellant in a state of limbo that was likely to endure indefinitely.

GS (India) & Ors v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 40
Important test case on the circumstances in which applicants with very serious medical conditions for which they (i) are receiving life sustaining medical treatment and (ii) may receive life transforming treatment; may resist removal from the UK, the consequence of which would be death within a very short space of time.

Country Guidance Cases

AS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (AA/03491/2015)
Country guidance on the issue of the safety and reasonableness of internal relocation to Kabul for those who have been found to have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home area in Afghanistan.

MOJ & Ors (Return to Mogadishu) Somalia CG [2014] UKUT 00442 (IAC)
Country guidance on the issue risk on return to Mogadishu.

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Administrative and Public Law

Gemma appears in the High Court in a broad range of cases often involving challenging removal, detention, certification, trafficking decisions under the National Referral Mechanism, fresh claim refusals, legacy decision making and other immigration-related public law challenges. Gemma is experienced in urgent removal cases and is comfortable taking instructions at short notice. Gemma represents unaccompanied asylum seeking children trying to join family members in the UK under the family reunification provisions in the EU Dublin III Regulation.

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Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery


Gemma is particularly well known for her experience and expertise in trafficking cases.

She is a contributing author to Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (LexisNexis), the UK’s leading practitioner textbook in immigration law and is currently updating the chapter on trafficking for the forthcoming edition.

She is also a contributing author to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Law and Practice (Bloomsbury).

She co-convenes the Anti Trafficking Legal Project.

Notable Cases

Notable Cases

The Queen on the Application of O and H v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 148 (Admin)
A test case on the delays by the Secretary of the Home Department in the process of making "Conclusive Grounds" decisions in respect of potential victims of human trafficking had become so significant and so widespread as to be unlawful.

The Queen on the Application of MN v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 3268 (QB)
Gemma was instructed by the intervener: The AIRE Centre. The case raises issues of general public importance with wide-ranging implications for the identification and protection of victims of human trafficking. It was submitted that the Defendant’s policy, which is to apply a standard of proof of balance of probabilities in its procedure for the identification of victims of human trafficking, is unlawful.


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Youth Justice & Child Rights

Gemma has extensive experience of representing children and young people in a wide range of public law, immigration and trafficking matters. She has particular experience of working with unaccompanied asylum seeking children and child victims of trafficking and is frequently instructed in challenges against deportation, where the offences were committed, whilst the child was in a trafficking situation. 


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Notable Cases & News

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

Court of Appeal provides important guidance as to the correct approach to be used by the Competent Authority when deciding whether an individual is a victim of trafficking

The Appellants were represented by Ronan Toal of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team. Our own Stephanie Harrison QC, Gemma Loughran, and Ella Gunn, instructed by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, represented the AIRE Centre.

21 December 2020

New Afghanistan Country Guidance provides a clear pathway for asylum-seekers to win appeals

Sonali Naik QC, Ronan Toal and Gemma Loughran of the Garden Court Immigration Team represented the appellant, instructed by Kam Dhanjal of JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors.

7 May 2020

Garden Court Chambers wins Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion Award at Chambers Bar Awards 2019

We pay special tribute to Mia Hakl-Law, Director of Operations and HR at Garden Court for spearheading and championing our work on diversity and inclusion together with many others within our chambers.

1 November 2019

Garden Court Chambers wins the ECPAT Children's Champion Award 2019

The award is made in recognition of Garden Court's tireless work advocating for the rights of trafficked children and developing the law to protect child victims for over a decade.

25 October 2019

Garden Court Chambers shortlisted for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion Award at Chambers Bar Awards 2019

We are proud to announce that Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion Award at the Chambers Bar Awards 2019.

9 September 2019

Court of Appeal remit Upper Tribunal Country Guideline case on Afghanistan and provide guidance on correct approach to internal relocation

Sonali Naik QC, Ronan Toal and Gemma Loughran were instructed by JD Spicer on behalf of the appellant. Ali Bandegani was instructed by Baker McKenzie for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

28 May 2019

Garden Court Long Term Mentoring Scheme wins Chambers Diversity Initiative of the Year at UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017

Mia Hakl-Law, Head of Operations & HR, pioneered the mentoring scheme in conjunction with Garden Court's Leslie Thomas QC and Connor Johnston.

30 November 2017

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

Chambers UK Bar Guide ranks Garden Court in Band 1

Garden Court Chambers recognised as a leading set for immigration, social housing, civil liberties, police law, Court of Protection, crime and inquests and public inquiries.

30 October 2015

All related news


Prior to coming to the Bar, Gemma worked as a senior asylum appeals caseworker for Refugee and Migrant Justice (formerly the Refugee Legal Centre).


Gemma is a contributing author to Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (LexisNexis), the UK’s leading practitioner textbook in immigration law and is currently updating the trafficking chapter for the forthcoming addition. Gemma is also a contributing author to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Law and Practice (Bloomsbury).

Somalia: Indiscriminate Risk, Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law, Gemma Loughran and Harriet Short, 2012, 26(2), 175189.

Training and Seminars

Gemma regularly delivers Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-accredited seminars covering different areas of immigration practice to keep solicitors up to date with all areas of applicable legislation and case law.

In 2014, Gemma lectured on the 'Refugees and Human Rights' LLM module at London Metropolitan University.

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