Maha Sardar

Year of Call: 2002

"Maha was very professional. She worked exceptionally hard to build a sound legal case, despite immense time pressures and the complicated nature of the application. She was also very approachable and cared about the case on a personal level, showing immense empathy, understanding and patience. We are deeply indebted to Maha for her amazing efforts."

Public Access Client, 2021

"I am so fortunate to have had a super barrister like Maha, I felt so strong and in control with Maha... I feel a sense of freedom after receiving this outcome... Thank you so much."

Public Access Client, 2021

"Maha's expertise and meticulous attention to detail were clearly evident in the comprehensive bundle that she helped compile in support of the case."

Public Access Client, 2021

"Maha advised me through my British citizenship application process, she made a very difficult and complicated process very easy to understand. Her knowledge of this area is first class. Thanks to Maha my British citizenship was approved."

Public Access Client, 2021


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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For solicitors & organisations | For individuals

Maha has been working in the field of immigration, asylum and human rights for over fifteen years. She is a versatile barrister able to provide advice and representation to a wide range of clientele.

She represents asylum seekers and other vulnerable clients, as well as private clients who want assistance with their personal or business immigration matters.

She is very experienced with domestic and international jurisprudence on the Refugee Convention, European conventions (including ECHR, Istanbul Convention and ECAT) and international Human Rights conventions and standards.

Maha is regularly invited to speak and provide training on asylum, human rights, trafficking and immigration issues.

She is a contributing author to the leading immigration practitioner text, Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice. She co-wrote the chapters on “visits and other temporary purposes” and “Working, business and investment in the UK”.


Maha is a dynamic advocate regularly appearing in the First and Upper Tier Tribunals in asylum, human rights, deportation and deprivation appeals. She also represents applicants for bail.

She is passionate about the protection and representation of vulnerable clients, including victims of torture, unaccompanied minors and cases concerning FGM and trafficking.

Maha is experienced in judicial review proceedings and was involved in the initial Rwanda litigation in the High Court and Court of Appeal in June 2022 where the Garden Court team secured injunctions at an emergency hearing before the Court of Appeal (Master of the Rolls and Singh,  Simler LJJ) for asylum seekers due to be removed on the Home Office chartered plane to Rwanda.

She also acted in the judicial review cases of a high-profile Afghan judge and a female human rights defender challenging the lawfulness of the ARAP scheme and refusal to consider their LOTR applications: see R (S and AZ) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Secretary of State for Defence [2022] EWCA Civ 1092 and KBL v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] EWHC 87 (Admin).

Most recently Maha represented a high-profile Afghan female prosecutor, AB, where it was argued that she and other Afghans seeking to relocate to the UK, have been discriminated against pursuant to Article 14 ECHR, by comparison with the treatment of Ukrainian nationals by the Government: AB v SSHD [2023] EWHC 287 (Admin).

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Immigration Law

Maha has considerable experience with private immigration matters having worked in the private client team at Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP and other private firms where she assisted individuals with a wide range of immigration services. She is experienced in the Points Based System, family-based applications, nationality, visit visas and EEA applications, among others.

During her time in the corporate sector, Maha gained commercial skills and business acumen representing numerous high net-worth and high-profile clients. In addition, she has advised companies applying for sponsor licences and has drafted representations and grounds successfully challenging Home Office decisions to refuse, suspend or revoke their licences.

Maha co-wrote the widely acclaimed chapter on the new Points Based System in Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice.

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Pro Bono

Maha welcomes pro bono instructions in asylum and human rights cases. She regularly acts for BID in immigration bail applications before the First-tier Tribunal.

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Maha is registered with the Bar Council for public access work and regularly assists private clients in their personal and business immigration matters.

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Notable Cases & News

Refugee Week - Seeking a new home: The reality of safe and legal routes to the UK for Palestinians

Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Immigration Team writes for Refugee Week on safe and legal routes to the UK for Palestinians.

20 June 2024

Garden Court barristers recognised on Pro Bono Recognition List of England & Wales

We are delighted to announce that Garden Court barristers have been listed on the Pro Bono Recognition List of England & Wales.

17 June 2024

Immigration Blog: Illegal Migration Act - An Asylum Apocalypse?

Blog post by Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Immigration Team.

15 September 2023

Refugee Week - A limit to compassion?

Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team writes for Refugee Week. This year, the theme is compassion.

19 June 2023

High Court finds Afghans discriminated against on grounds of nationality

Sonali Naik KC, Maha Sardar and Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers acted for AB, instructed by Marcela Navarrete of Wilsons LLP.

13 February 2023

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

Refugee Week - Healing in Turbulent Times

Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team

20 June 2022

Garden Court Barristers secure injunctions from the Court of Appeal for last few asylum seekers on Rwanda Flight

The Garden Court team who secured consisted of Sonali Naik QC, Adrian Berry, Grace Brown, Mark Symes, Alex Grigg, Maha Sardar, Ella Gunn, Eva Doer, and Stephen Clark.

15 June 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

Imagining more. What is the future for refugee and migrant communities post-COVID? #RefugeeWeek2020

Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team.

19 June 2020

Imagining more. What is the future for refugee and migrant communities post-COVID? #RefugeeWeek2020

Maha Sardar of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team.

19 June 2020

Judicial review challenges refusal of discretionary leave to remain to a victim of trafficking

Maha Sardar of Garden Court represented the applicant in the Upper Tribunal where permission was granted to judicially review the Home Office decision. She was instructed by Duncan Lewis.

2 August 2019

All related news


Prior to joining chambers, Maha worked with numerous human rights organisations including Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ, formerly RLC), Reprieve and the UNHCR. She has an unwavering commitment to human rights and humanitarian issues, not only through her work but also in a personal capacity, including visiting refugee camps and delivering aid and food to displaced people.

Maha regularly assists vulnerable clients on a pro-bono basis. In 2018 she was approached by charity Goodwill Caravan to represent a Syrian boy and his mother living in Greece. Najib suffered life-threatening injuries when he was caught in an airstrike in his hometown in Homs. Maha assisted Najib and his mother obtain a visa so that he could undergo life-saving medical treatment at Great Ormond Street hospital. Najib’s story has been covered by Sky News.

Maha is very experienced with domestic and international jurisprudence on the Refugee Convention, European conventions (including ECHR, Istanbul Convention and ECAT) and international Human Rights conventions and standards.  She has produced two reports for the Council of Europe (COE) and is currently working on a country-wide Human Rights audit for an international Government. 

Training and Seminars

Maha has provided training in Human Rights in various settings. For several years she regularly gave diversity awareness training at Hendon Police College where recruits were trained to become police officers. She taught the importance of cultural awareness and religious sensitivities in the community, with its consequential impact on Human Rights.

Whilst living in Turkey, Maha provided a training session on The Assessment of the Credibility of Asylum Seekers to new UNHCR employees in Ankara. Over the course of the academic year in 2013 she delivered lectures to students at Bogazici University in Istanbul entitled Introduction to Human Rights.

Maha is also a regular trainer with HJT Training where she delivers sessions on a wide range of immigration and asylum matters.

She is currently working on a personal non-profit social enterprise project for refugees in the UK. She is developing an App called Belong to provide the tools, information, contacts and connections that will assist refugees to become fully functioning members of society and provide a sense of belonging in their new home.


Maha completed her pupillage at Garden Court Chambers under the supervision of Sonali Naik QC. As a pupil she assisted in the preparation of the Court of Appeal and Upper Tribunal case of HM (Iraq) on the safety of returns of Iraqi asylum seekers to Baghdad.

She also worked on the case of KA (Afghanistan) in the Court of Appeal concerning unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Afghanistan and the Secretary of State’s duty to trace their family members.

Maha also represented criminal defendants in both the magistrates and crown courts. Maha’s representation of a high-profile individual in the criminal courts has received media coverage.


  • University College London, 2:1 – LLB Law Degree
  • Inns of Court School of Law, Very Competent – Bar Vocational Course
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, Distinction – MA International and Comparative Legal Studies

Leading Non Violent Movements for Social Progress, Harvard Kennedy School Executive Program
Global Diplomacy: Diplomacy in the Modern World, SOAS
Global Diplomacy: The United Nations in the World, SOAS

Professional Membership

  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • Bar Human Rights Committee



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