Stephanie Harrison QC

Year of Call: 1991 | Year of Silk: 2013

"She is brilliant in court, an excellent barrister." "She is a really meticulous and fierce advocate."

Chambers UK, 2019

"She is a leading figure at the immigration Bar and she's very tenacious and committed to clients." "Extremely committed; an excellent lawyer who takes on difficult cases and wins them."

Chambers UK, 2019

"One of our preferred QCs. She's brilliant, very direct and fierce, very good on her feet and very good at tackling complex cases involving a number of claimants."

Chambers UK, 2018

"She is committed, hard-working and knows the law like the back of her hand. A fiery advocate."

Chambers UK, 2018

"Strategically brilliant; a first-class silk for immigration cases"

Legal 500 2017

Contact Stephanie

If you would like to get in touch with Stephanie please contact the clerking team:

+44 (0)20 7993 7600

You can also contact Stephanie directly:

+44 (0)207 993 7764

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Described as a "brilliant advocate", Stephanie is a leading public law practitioner who has appeared at all court levels. Her multi-disciplinary practice spans the breadth of public law and civil liberties.

Stephanie's cases include those arising from unlawful detention, national security, official misconduct, abuse of power, child sexual exploitation, equality and discrimination, minority rights and civil rights protest and injunctions.

She also has considerable expertise in cases involving closed material procedures.

Stephanie is regularly involved in test case litigation and has been instrumental in winning some of the most important cases within her areas of specialism in recent times. Much of her work is high profile and receives media coverage. She is passionate about upholding and advancing the rights of vulnerable, minority groups and children.

Stephanie was appointed as legal counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2015 and is head of the Garden Court Public Law team.

Stephanie is ranked for Administrative and Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Immigration in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar Guide. She won the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2013, the Chambers UK Bar Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year award 2012, and was shortlisted for Public Law Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Awards 2017.

Administrative and Public Law

Overview

Highly regarded as a leading and versatile public law practitioner, Stephanie has over twenty years' experience representing claimants in complex judicial review (JR). She has particular expertise in claims arising from unlawful detention, official misconduct, abuse of power, and discrimination and minority rights.

Her varied practice is evident from cases ranging from the constitutional right to JR, bail and national security and secret evidence procedures to discriminatory denial of healthcare on grounds of gender identity discrimination. Stephanie is the leading practitioner in JR challenges to the lawfulness of treatment and detention of vulnerable adults including those with serious mental illness, trafficking victims, pregnant women and children.

Stephanie has a truly strategic approach to cases and has a proven track record of bringing test case litigation in a wide variety of areas of public law. These include challenges relating to the rights of minorities, including the ban on gay and lesbians in the military and the Article 8 rights of transgender people.

She was one of the lead counsel in successfully challenging the legality of the Detained Fast Track Asylum system in the UK, leading to its suspension and the Government admitting the fast track process was unfair and breached the Equality Act 2010 and the UK's trafficking obligations.

She won the Chambers and Partners Human Rights and Public Law Award in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Legal 500 Public Law Silk of the Year 2017.

Notable Cases

R (Medical Justice and 7 Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017]
Stephanie was leading Counsel for the lead claimant, Medical Justice, and two individual claimants in a test case challenging the adoption by the Secretary of State of a more restrictive definition of torture in her new Adults at Risk statutory guidance issued under s. 59 Immigration Act 2016. As a result of this challenge, the Secretary of State was ordered to reissue guidance that protects torture victims from harm in detention.

B (Algeria)(Respondent) v SSHD [2018]
Stephanie was leading Counsel for the respondent in this major Supreme Court judgment which considered the correct approach to the availability of immigration bail when detention powers, in line with the Hardial Singh principles, are exhausted. Originally considered within SIAC, this case had a national security context. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the SSHD's appeal.

VC v Home Secretary [2018]
Stephanie was leading Counsel in this test case concerning whether the Home Secretary had acted unlawfully and in breach of the Human Rights Act when she detained a severely mentally disordered offender who lacked mental capacity to take steps to challenge the legality of his detention. The case concerned whether the Home Secretary breached Article 3 ECHR, the Equality Act and her own detention policy. The case was successful in the Court of Appeal.

AM (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2017]
Widely reported guideline case in which Stephanie appeared as leading Counsel. The Court of Appeal provided guidance on the correct approach to be followed by all Tribunals determining asylum claims made by unaccompanied children and other vulnerable asylum seekers. The case was also very important in creating a right to a litigation friend in the Tribunals.

R (AJS and AJU) [2018]
Stephanie appeared as leading Counsel representing a detained father (AJS) and his daughter in their linked judicial review and civil damages challenges. The case was successful and father and daughter were reunited. The Home Office accepted that AJS was unlawfully detained for the entirety of his detention. There were multiple breaches of the Home Office's published policy relating to Detention and Family Separation and they agreed to pay the Claimants £50,000 in damages.

MA v SSHD [2018]
This case concerned a highly vulnerable victim of torture with serious mental ill health who was subject to repeated physical and mental ill treatment, including derogatory abuse by G4S guards at Brook House IRC, recorded in footage broadcast on the BBC's Panorama programme in September 2017. Stephanie appeared as leading Counsel and secured permission to seek an independent public inquiry into the evidence of systematic abuse that was taking place at the Immigration Removal centre.

Hussein & Ors v SSHD & G4S (Liberty intervening) [2018]
In this high-profile challenge, the Court held that the Secretary of State had interfered with and indirectly discriminated against the rights of Muslims protected under human rights and Equality Act 2010 duties, to properly observe their faith through prayer owing to the conditions of the Brook House detention centre, to include being forced to pray next to dirty, recently used, open toilet pans, in crowded rooms, while locked in overnight.

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Immigration Law

Overview

Stephanie has a vast experience in the most complex immigration and asylum claims. Her expertise spans the areas of deprivation and refusals to citizenship and naturalization, fresh and certified claims for asylum, detention and conditions of detention, challenges to deportation and cases involving national security. Stephanie frequently appears in the highest courts in landmark cases.

Stephanie's recent immigration practice has focused more heavily on policy challenges and often have a large crossover with her other specialisms including public law, civil liberties and equality and discrimination. She has led a number of high-profile judicial review challenges to the lawfulness of policy and practice relating to the detention of vulnerable adults, families and children in the detained fast track and immigration detention generally.

She is highly committed to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and has worked tirelessly to positively change the experiences of immigrants coming within the jurisdiction of the UK authorities.

Stephanie was awarded Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2013 for "her prowess as an advocate for human rights and commitment to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures".

She is ranked in Band 1 for Immigration within Chambers & Partners.

Notable Cases

Stephanie's range is reflected in landmark cases such as: Shah and Islam (a Pakistani woman accused of adultery - ('women as a social group' - House of Lords); Adimi (the prosecution of asylum seekers for false documents); Baumbast, European Court of Justice (freedom of movement and enduring rights to education); Singh (Court of Appeal, family life and adopted children), Januzzi (internal flight alternative); EM Lebanon (House of Lords, rights of women, human rights and local law); A (House of Lords, indefinite detention of foreign nationals), W (Algeria, Supreme Court, confidentiality orders in Article 3 claims).

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Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Overview

Stephanie's multi-disciplinary practice has a strong emphasis on civil liberties, human rights and equality and anti-discrimination.

The use of international human rights law including the European Convention on Human Rights is integral to her practice, and she has considerable expertise in this area. Stephanie is sought after for her particular expertise in claims arising from unlawful detention, official misconduct, and discrimination and minority rights where she is a leader in the field of challenging the use of civil injunctions by public authorities and corporations to prevent and restrict the Article 10 and 11 ECHR rights of protesters and campaigners.

She has been involved in pioneering test case litigation relating to the rights of minorities including the ban on gay and lesbians in the military and the Article 8 rights of transgender people. She also has considerable experience in acting for victims of trafficking and modern slavery.

Stephanie has a wealth of experience in progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures. She is a pre-eminent practitioner in national security and counter terrorism cases, including challenges to the fairness of secret evidence procedures, and the human rights issues arising from deportation on national security grounds and the use of control orders/TPIMS relating to Article 2/3, 5 and 6 ECHR.

Notable Cases

UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC & Ors v Persons Unknown & Ors [2018]
Stephanie appeared as lead Counsel for environmental campaigners Weald Action Group and Friends of the Earth in this high-profile challenge seeking to overturn a broad injunction being sought by UK Oil and Gas against "persons unknown", prohibiting lawful acts of protest against fracking activities.

VC v Home Secretary [2018]
Stephanie was leading Counsel in this test case concerning whether the Home Secretary had acted unlawfully and in breach of the Human Rights Act when she detained a severely mentally disordered offender who lacked mental capacity to take steps to challenge the legality of his detention. The case concerned whether the Home Secretary breached Article 3 ECHR, the Equality Act and her own detention policy. The case was successful in the Court of Appeal.

R (Medical Justice and 7 Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017]
Stephanie was leading Counsel for the lead claimant, Medical Justice, and two individual claimants in a test case challenging the adoption by the Secretary of State of a more restrictive definition of torture in her new Adults at Risk statutory guidance issued under s. 59 Immigration Act 2016. As a result of this challenge, the Secretary of State was ordered to reissue guidance that protects torture victims from harm in detention.

B (Algeria)(Respondent) v SSHD [2018]
Stephanie successfully represented the respondent, B, in his challenge against the Home Office/Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) and conflict with Article 5 ECHR. The Supreme Court rejected the Home Secretary's argument that strict conditions of bail under Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 could be imposed indefinitely. This case led to a major ruling on powers to restrict the liberty and freedoms of those who cannot lawfully be detained.

MS v SSHD [2017]
Stephanie acted as leading counsel in this case challenging the limitations and conditions to the claimant's civil liberties of the SSHD's Restricted Leave Policy. The claimant, a Sikh Indian national who had resided in the UK for 20 years with his British family, had been refused indefinite leave due to his historical links to terrorist activities in India. He was not entitled to protection from the Refugee Convention; however, he could not be removed because to do so would breach his human rights due to the real risk of persecution. The court held that the restricted leave conditions restricted MS's liberty to live his life, there was no need for the conditions and it was irrational not to grant indefinite leave. A residence condition was ultra-vires of the powers under the 1971 Act.

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Publications

Blake and Fransman's Immigration, Nationality and Asylum under the Human Rights Act: chapter on Article 14 discrimination and the ECHR; The Law and Practice in the Application of the Dublin Convention in the UK: European Institute of Public Administration.

Contributor to 5th edition of Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice.

Contributor to Halsbury's Laws of England: Nationality, Immigration and Asylum.

Contributor to Liberty's on line service on discrimination law.

Has contributed articles to Legal Action and Socialist Lawyer.

Awards

Stephanie was shortlisted for Public Law Silk of the Year at the Legal 500 Awards 2017. Stephanie is convener of the Garden Court Public Law team. In 2016 Garden Court Chambers won the Human Rights and Public Law Set of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards.

She won the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award 2013 for her work as an advocate and for her commitment to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures.

Stephanie won the Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year award 2012, at the prestigious Chambers UK Bar Awards.

Jointly with other lawyers involved in legal cases seeking equality for lesbians and gay men, Stephanie was awarded the Stonewall Equality Award in 1997.

Latest News

Court of Appeal overturns draconian injunctions preventing protests against INEOS fracking activities

Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblet represented Joe Corré. Henry Blaxland QC & Stephen Clark represented Friends of the Earth.

3 April 2019

Supreme Court reasserts the role of medical experts in asylum claims by torture survivors

The appellant was represented by Ronan Toal and Michelle Brewer. Stephanie Harrison QC, Ali Bandegani and Mark Symes for the interveners.

6 March 2019

KV (Sri Lanka) v SSHD (Helen Bamber Foundation, Freedom from Torture, and Medical Justice Intervening) UKSC 2017/0124

Stephanie Harrison QC, Mark Symes and Ali Bandegani are instructed by Freshfields on behalf of all three intervenors.

30 November 2018

Home Office in major U-turn agrees to Article 3-compliant investigation by Prisons & Probation Ombudsman into abuse at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre

Stephanie Harrison QC of Garden Court Chambers represented one of the abuse victims (MA).

11 October 2018

Home Office admits it unlawfully detained and separated a father from his daughter, who remained in care and at imminent risk of adoption

The father and daughter are represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers.

11 July 2018

Six environmental campaigners appear in High Court this week to challenge broad injunction sought by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG)

Garden Court's Stephanie Harrison QC, Tim Baldwin, Stephen Simblet and Owen Greenhall are instructed in the case by Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. 

4 July 2018

Permission granted to seek public inquiry into systematic abuse at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre

Garden Court's Stephanie Harrison QC was instructed with Alex Goodman of Landmark Chambers, by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

23 May 2018

High Court legal challenge secures delay to wide-ranging injunction against environmental protestors

The campaigners are represented by Stephanie Harrison QC leading Timothy Baldwin and Stephen Simblet leading Anna Morris of Garden Court Chambers.

21 March 2018

Supreme Court rules against Home Office on SIAC powers to impose bail conditions

Stephanie Harrison QC and Anthony Vaughan of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration and Public Law Teams represented the respondent.

8 February 2018

High Court rules on “discriminatory and unlawful practices” at Brook House. Muslim immigration detainees forced to worship in degrading conditions.

The claimants were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Raza Halim and Stephen Simblet and instructed by Duncan Lewis Public Law.

2 February 2018

High Court rules Government redefinition of torture in immigration detention policy is unlawful

Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers represented Medical Justice and two victims of gender based violence.

10 October 2017

“A child is foremost a child before he or she is a refugee”: Court of Appeal provides new guidance to tribunals to ensure children and vulnerable persons have their voices heard in asylum proceedings

Raza Halim and Stephanie Harrison QC were instructed by Brighton Housing Trust for the appellant.

1 August 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

High Court finds Home Office system for allocating bail accommodation to immigration detainees is operating unlawfully

Stephanie Harrison QC, Anthony Vaughan and Greg Ó Ceallaigh acted for the three successful claimants.

22 July 2016

High Court declares Secretary of State failed to have due regard to equality duties in considering asylum claims in detention

The claimants were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Shu Shin Luh, Anthony Vaughan and Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court.

7 June 2016

Channel 4 News – Stephanie Harrison QC rejects PMs suggestion that Muslim women could be deported if they don’t speak English

Stephanie Harrison QC comments on whether failing a language test could become a basis for removal.

20 January 2016

Court of Appeal rules Home Office acted unlawfully by detaining Iranian child seeking asylum

The child was represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers.

6 November 2015

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

Home Office unlawfully detained refugee fleeing domestic violence

The claimant was represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Bryony Poynor of Garden Court Chambers and Jed Pennington of Bhatt Murphy.

15 October 2015

Home Office to review detention of pregnant women

Stephanie Harrison QC and Michelle Brewer of Garden Court Chambers acted for the claimant in this groundbreaking case.

6 October 2015

Court of Appeal upholds finding that Moroccan national was unlawfully detained for eight months

The claimant was represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Greg Ó Ceallaigh of Garden Court Chambers.

27 August 2015

High Court declares that Home Office asylum system fails to protect victims of trafficking, is discriminatory and breaches their human rights

Stephanie Harrison QC and Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court Chambers brought this test litigation.

20 July 2015

Court of Appeal to consider Home Office obligations when detaining age disputed children under immigration powers

The Court of Appeal will consider the obligations owed by the Home Office when detaining children who are age disputed. Garden Court Chambers is representing the families.

14 July 2015

Home Office defeated again at the High Court over fast-track asylum process

The Immigration Minister has announced the suspension of the detained fast track asylum process. The announcement was in response to test cases brought by Garden Court Chambers.

3 July 2015

Court of Appeal clarifies scope of SIAC’s bail powers

Stephanie Harrison QC and Anthony Vaughan represented the Appellant.

7 May 2015

Home Office ordered to return mother and son unlawfully deported to Nigeria

Stephanie Harrison QC and Kathryn Cronin of Garden Court Chambers represented the mother and the child.

23 April 2015

Full Divisional Court rejects Home Secretary’s attempts to limit Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s powers of scrutiny

A review jurisdiction on ‘judicial review’ principles concerning refusals of applications to naturalise or decisions to exclude from the UK on grounds which the Secretary of State does not wish to make public.

19 March 2015

Garden Court barristers appointed as panel counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

4 March 2015

Court of Appeal rejects SIAC approach to ‘deportation with assurances’

The appellants were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Amanda Weston and Anthony Vaughan.

29 January 2015

Unlawful detention breaches Article 3 and Article 5 rights of woman with mental illness

High Court judgment finds that claimant with mental illness was unlawfully detained for 11 months.

10 July 2014

Court of Appeal rules immigration detention of mentally ill woman unlawful

The Court of Appeal in a test case on Tuesday overturned a decision of the Administrative Court in relation to Home Office policy of detaining those subject to immigration control with a serious mental illness.

30 January 2014

Boat race protester saved from deportation

An Australian man living in the UK who had been facing deportation following his disruption of the 2012 Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race has been told he may stay in the UK. He was represented at yesterday's tribunal hearing by Stephanie Harrison QC and Edward

10 December 2013

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Education

  • BSc Politics and Sociology (Bristol)
  • MSc International Relations and Economics (LSE)
  • CPE (Polytechnic of Central London)

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