Taimour Lay

Year of Call: 2011

"Taimour's personable style quickly gains the confidence of clients, while his thorough preparation impresses judges."

Clair Hilder, Deighton Pierce Glynn

"Shows a tremendous commitment to clients who are often the most excluded and marginalised, ensuring they get access to justice."

Jackie Peirce, Solicitor


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

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

Taimour practises in immigration, public law, inquests and human rights. 

He is public access accredited and welcomes direct enquiries from members of the public seeking advice or representation.



Taimour's immigration work covers the full range of appeals, specialising in asylum and deportation. He is also regularly instructed in judicial reviews in both the High Court and the Upper Tribunal, including urgent challenges to removal, unlawful detention, Dublin III transfers, certifications, NRM trafficking decisions and failures to provide asylum accommodation.

Taimour is public access accredited and welcomes direct enquiries from members of the public seeking advice or representation. He successfully assists clients with exclusions, PBS challenges and visit visa refusals.

He was a volunteer on the duty scheme at the Asylum Support Appeals Project and also provides regular pro bono advice to individuals at Haringey Migrant Support Centre, with an emphasis on regularisation of status and EU residence rights.

He is a contributing author to Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, 10th Edition.

Notable Cases

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

AM Zimbabwe applies to destitution claims
Ainte (material deprivation, Art 3, AM Zimbabwe) [2021] UKUT 203 (IAC)
Upper Tribunal guidance on the new Article 3 ECHR breach threshold for socio-economic deprivation.

High Court orders release from immigration detention
R (on the application of Osadebay) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] 8 WLUK 80
Mr Justice Linden granted interim relief and costs to the Claimant.

Challenge to Dublin III transfer to Bulgaria
R (HSF) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKAITUR JR112832014

Complex Dublin III challenge succeeded on basis of unlawful certification. Led by Mark Symes.

Afghan fresh claim judicial review succeeds
FS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department JR/10273/2015
Settled following permission by Court of Appeal against UT judgment.

Successful quashing of age assessment
R(Q) v Leicestershire County Council & Anor [2016] EWHC 2087
Successful judicial review establishing that an Eritrean asylum-seeker was a child upon arrival in the UK. Claim for unlawful detention also later settled.

Challenge to Iraqi migrant's conviction
R v YY [2016] EWCA Crim 18
Recipient of Humanitarian Protection from Iraq prosecuted for document offence. Appeal against conviction heard by Sir Brian Leveson.

War Crimes exclusion
AA (Rwanda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] UKAITUR
Upper Tribunal appeal involving attempted refugee exclusion of Rwandan national accused of war crimes. Three-day hearing before panel. Junior Counsel to Duran Seddon.

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Taimour specialises in false imprisonment claims, including the unlawful detention of minors, trafficking victims and vulnerable individuals with mental health issues. He provides comprehensive advice on merits and quantum at all stages.

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Inquests and Inquiries


Taimour is a member of the INQUEST Lawyers Group and Garden Court Inquests Team. He represents bereaved families at Coroner's inquests involving state authorities, including prison and immigration detention as well as patients who have died while detained or under the care of mental health services in the community.

He also brings civil claims arising from breach of duties by the state, including Article 2 ECHR and negligence.

Notable Cases

Jury find neglect in Daryl Hargrave Inquest
Jury found that "neglect" had contributed to the death of a 22-year-old prisoner suffering from psychosis at HMP Winchester. Coverage by the BBC and The Guardian.

Inquest exposes Carillion contract failure
The Ministry of Justice policy gap identified during the inquest into death of Sean Plumstead was taken up by the shadow secretary of state for justice.

Met Police subject to criticism in Faisa Ahmed Inquest
The jury returned a narrative conclusion critical of the police and London Ambulance Service. The Coroner issued three Reports to Prevent Future Deaths. Taimour successfully obtained interim relief from the High Court in 2015 to ensure the inquest was Article 2 ECHR compliant. A civil claim against the Metropolitan Police subsequently succeeded. Extended coverage by The Guardian and Sky News.

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Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery


Taimour represents victims of trafficking in claims for judicial review of NRM decisions, in appeals within the immigration tribunal and through applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and Court of Appeal. He has particular expertise in China, Vietnam and West Africa cases.

Notable Cases

Upper Tribunal allows appeal on basis of disputed trafficking definition
JFK v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] UKAITUR PA068542016
Successfully argued that the Convention had been misconstrued.

Court of Appeal considers VoT's historic conviction
R v Okedare & Ors [2014] EWCA Crim 228
Application for appeal against conviction of a victim of trafficking. Heard by special panel of the Court of Appeal.

Crown Court overturns conviction of cannabis farm victim
R (TT) at Lincoln Crown Court [2014]
A successful application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission led to referral to the Crown Court which quashed the conviction at a hearing in 2014

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International Human Rights

Taimour's current international work includes trial observation for human rights groups in the Middle East and participation in legal advice projects for refugees in Greece since 2016. He has also recently published investigations of human rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Since 2020 he has been on the Board of ‘Declassified UK’, an investigative journalism organisation.

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Pro Bono Work

Taimour was a volunteer on the duty scheme at the Asylum Support Appeals Project and also provides regular pro bono advice to individuals at Haringey Migrant Support Centre, with an emphasis on regularisation of status and EU residence rights. He previously volunteered with the Unity Centre in Glasgow and Bail for Immigration Detainees.

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Notable Cases & News

Kane Boyce: Coroner raises serious concerns about risk of future deaths at HMP Lowdham Grange

Kane's fiancée, Kate, is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers and Amalia King of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

5 February 2024

Jury finds neglect in mental health discharge death

Taimour Lay of the Garden Court Chambers Inquest & Inquiries Team represented the family of Nicholas Dymond.

29 June 2023

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

Reported case: High Court orders release of vulnerable immigration detainee

Claimant represented by Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers instructed by Bahar Ata of Duncan Lewis Solicitors. David Jones of Garden Court Chambers is instructed in the ongoing unlawful detention claim.

21 August 2020

Inquest concludes death of Leon Evans contributed to by failings of community mental health services

The family of Leon Evans were represented at the inquest by Taimour Lay of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests & Inquiries Team.

20 July 2018

Inquest into death of Sean Plumstead exposes Carillion contract failure

Taimour Lay represented Sean Plumstead’s family at the inquest.

13 February 2018

Latest inquest into prisoner death at HMP Winchester finds more failings

Sean's family is represented by counsel, Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers and assisted by the charity INQUEST.

19 October 2017

‘Neglect’ at HMP Winchester contributed to death of 22-year-old prisoner

Taimour Lay represented the family of Daryl Hargrave, who was 22 when he died.

12 April 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

Prison failures contributed to death, jury finds

The family of Mr Smith were represented by Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers.

1 September 2016

High Court quashes local authority age assessment

Successful judicial review establishes Eritrean national was a child when he claimed asylum.

23 August 2016

Bullying at Shropshire prison creates risk of future deaths, Coroner warns

The family was represented by Taimour Lay of Garden Court Chambers, instructed by Hodge Jones & Allen.

29 April 2016

Inquest finds prison failings contributed to death in custody

Taimour Lay represented Colin Chappell, the father of the deceased.

9 September 2015

Victim of trafficking has conviction quashed

Taimour Lay was counsel for the appellant.

22 January 2015

All related news


Before coming to the Bar, Taimour spent a decade as a journalist and political analyst. He has worked in the US (2005), Hong Kong (2006), Sri Lanka/Maldives (2006-7), Uganda (2009-10), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (2010-12) and Somalia (2012). He was a correspondent for Africa Confidential and The Africa Report and has written for BBC Focus on Africa, The Guardian, Private Eye and Corporate Watch, among others. He currently sits on the board of Declassified UK.

He also worked for environmental justice group Platform for two years, investigating corruption in the oil and gas industries. He is a member of the Labour Party and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.


Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, contributing author, Chapter 15 ‘Enforcement and the hostile environment’, 10th Edition (September 2021)  

“AM Zimbabwe test now applies to destitution”, Free Movement, 16 August 2021

“UK Border rules are harsher for Africans”, The Africa Report, 22 July 2021

"The EU-Turkey refugee deal: a Greek myth", Free Movement, June 2019

"Bread and Circasses: What Spartak Nalchik says about one of Russia's minorities", The Blizzard, July 2018

"Ahead of the game: Uncovering a massacre in Gabon", Delayed Gratification, Issue 26, February 2017

"Gabon, politics and Afcon 2017", Royal African Society, February 2017

"Lost in transit - Football and trafficking", When Saturday Comes, February 2016

Fresh claims for asylum - a DIY guide, Free Movement, 8 January 2016

"Are £1-an-hour jobs legal?" Corporate Watch, 22 April 2015

"Human rights and the Africa Cup of Nations", Royal African Society, 9 February 2015

"Why Scotland's independence would be good for migrants" Garden Court Blog, 27 August 2014

"Somalia: safe for returns?" Free Movement blog (with Ronan Toal) 15 October 2013

"Challenging immigration decisions and enforcement: Analysis: The Crime and Courts Act 2013" (with Michelle Brewer), July 2013, Lexis Nexis

"Syria's legal fight amid the gunfire" February 2013, Socialist Lawyer, No. 63

"Limits of the law: Review of Borderline Justice by Frances Webber", Feb 2013, Socialist Lawyer, No 63

"Egypt: Defending the Revolution" July 2012, Socialist Lawyer 61

"Employment Law Isn't Working: A discussion with David Renton", June 2012, New Left Project

"The Optimism Industry: how private equity rips off Africa", May 2012, BBC Focus on Africa

"Death on the lake: British oil company's role in Congo killings exposed", May 2012, Corporate Watch

"Shabaab's Waiting Game", 30 March 2012, Africa Confidential, Vol 53 No 7

"On the African Union offensive: the frontline against Shabaab", April 2012, The Africa Report, No 39

"Simon Mann: A gun for hire, with conditions", April 2012, The Africa Report No 39

"Revealed: How the World Bank fails on racial discrimination", October 2011, The Africa Report, No 41

"Get out of town: Ledbury residents resist Tesco development", 6 September 2011, Corporate Watch

"Lake of Oil: Congo's contracts escalate conflict, pollution and poverty", May 2010, Platform London. Also translated into French. Published and distributed in Democratic Republic of Congo by CENCO and the UN as "Pétrole au Lac Albert: révélation des contrats congolais contestés"

"Cursed Contracts: Uganda's oil agreements put profit before people", Feb 2010, Platform London.

"Uganda's contracts give little cause for optimism", 17 Feb 2010; The Guardian


  • BA Modern history and politics (Oxford)
  • GDL and BPTC (City University) Major Scholarship (Inner Temple)

Professional Membership

  • Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA)
  • Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
  • Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL)
  • National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
  • Anti-Trafficking Legal Project (ATLeP)

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