Maha Sardar

Year of Call: 2002

"Maha was so incredibly well prepared with an amazingly detailed knowledge of all the evidence in my client’s case. She treated the client with such respect and compassion and addressed all the issues raised during the hearing with a real precision and attention to detail, while remaining so calm."

Esme Madill, Solicitor, MiCLU Islington Law Centre

"She’s a warrior and she went in really good, higher than I expected, I’m 100% happy with how she handled it all in court."

Lay Client, Asylum Appeal, 2021

"Maha's advocacy was both impeccable and very persuasive."

BID Lay Client, Pro Bono, 2021

"Maha was great to work with and undoubtedly we put together the very best possible response as a result of Maha's guidance."

CEO of company, sponsor license revocation case, 2019

"As an instructing solicitor, I could not have hoped for a better barrister on a complex appeal. Maha was superb in her advocacy, highly meticulous and knowledgeable in dealing with the various issues at hand and easy to work with, as well as very approachable and clear when in direct contact with my client."

Dmitri Macmillen, Solicitor, Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP, 2021

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For solicitors & organisations | For individuals

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

Maha represents a wide range of clientele from asylum seekers and other vulnerable clients to private clients who want assistance with their personal or business immigration matters.

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”.

REFUGEE LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

Maha is a dynamic advocate regularly appearing in the First and Upper Tier Tribunals in asylum, human rights and deportation 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.

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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 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 with one of the Big Four, 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 was involved in the Court of Appeal litigation of Balajigari where she was led by Sonali Naik QC and acted for the proposed intervener Migrants Rights Network. The case involved challenges to the refusal of settlement applications (based on earning discrepancies) where the Home Office relied on paragraph 322 (5) of the Immigration Rules.

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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DIRECT ACCESS

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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Background

Prior to joining chambers, Maha worked with numerous human rights organisations including Refugee and Migrant Justice 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 has assisted 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 dedicated to continuing education in the field of human rights and in 2018 she completed the Harvard Executive Course Leading Non-Violent Movements for Social Progress.

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.

Pupillage

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.

Education

  • 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

  • JUSTICE
  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • Bar Human Rights Committee

Languages

  • Urdu

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