Migrant Justice in the time of COVID

Monday 26 July 2021

Sonali Naik KC

Unkha Banda

Brian Dikoff

This webinar is brought to you by the Garden Court Chambers Immigration Team and will be chaired by Sonali Naik QC.

Date: Monday 26 July 2021
Time: 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue: Online  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Immigration Law , Immigration Detention, Asylum and Deportation

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK. From migrants being put at greater risk of infection at work due to structural inequalities in society to barriers to international travel disrupting periods of continuous residence, this webinar will explore the impact of the pandemic from the perspective of campaigners and lawyers working to protect migrants’ rights. 





Sonali Naik QC, Garden Court Chambers (Chair)
Sonali Naik QC is a senior public law and immigration practitioner with over 28 years’ experience who specialises in public law cases and in all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law. Sonali is ranked for immigration in Chambers UK 2021 and has a significant Higher Courts practice. She conducts almost exclusively leading work at all levels: the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and in the Upper Tribunal in statutory appeals and judicial reviews. She has very substantial immigration and asylum experience in her High Court and appellate court practice, acting in various country guidance asylum cases, most recently in AS(Afghanistan) in the Court of Appeal, the latest leading case on internal relocation. Sonali has an extensive judicial review practice in the areas of Article 8 ECHR certification, nationality, challenges to Home Office policy, trafficking and unlawful detention.

Sonali is Chair of Liberty and a trustee of Freedom From Torture and the Immigrant’s Aid Trust (charitable arm of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants), a member of the JUSTICE Council and she was appointed to the JUSTICE Working Group on Reform of Immigration and Asylum system. She won Lawyer of the Year at the Diversity Legal Awards 2018. She won Highly Commended for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion at the Chambers Bar Awards 2019. She was a finalist for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in 2016 and was featured as The Times’ Lawyer of the Week in January 2018.

Miranda Butler, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Miranda works in a broad range of public law areas, including unlawful detention, community care,  healthcare provision, trafficking, and strategic litigation. She is regularly instructed in judicial review challenges, including urgent matters and applications for interim relief.  Miranda is a member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Panel of Counsel and in 2020 she was a finalist in the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards.

Miranda works on a broad range of challenges on behalf of those with no recourse to public funds, including claims concerning asylum accommodation, trafficking support and under the Children Act 1989. She was instructed in NN and LP v SSHD [2019] EWHC 1003 (Admin) and has a particular interest in the support provided to victims of trafficking. She has been involved in successful challenges to the level of financial support given to victims who are pregnant or new mothers and to the Home Office's cessation of trafficking support for those housed in initial accommodation. She is currently instructed on a strategic challenge to the level of fees for children seeking to register or naturalise as British Citizens, in PRCBC and ors v SSHD in the Court of Appeal, led by Richard Drabble QC.

Danielle Manson, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Danielle Manson joined chambers in March 2020 and is experienced in defending individuals charged with serious violence, the supply and production of drugs and firearms offences. She has particular expertise representing children and young people and is also a member of JUSTICE’s racial disparity in the youth justice system working party. Whilst studying law at university, Danielle also managed the Innocence Project; working on a range of criminal appeals and applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘CCRC’). In recognition of her commitment to the project, she was nominated for the Chancellor’s Medal upon graduation and continues to sit on the CCRC’s Stakeholder Forum as an established practitioner.

Unkha Banda, Bindmans and Here for Good
Unkha is an immigration solicitor at Bindmans LLP. Her work focuses on work arising from the firm’s partnership with the ‘Here For Good’ charity, which provides free legal advice to vulnerable EEA nationals and their family members affected by Brexit. Given this, her current practice covers the EU Settlement Scheme, European Union Law, human rights, and British nationality.  

Due to Unkha’s extensive experience in private, legal aid, and pro bono cases she has a lot of experience in working efficiently for clients with complex needs homeless individuals, minors, people with mental health conditions, victims of domestic violence and victims of trafficking.

Brian Dikoff,  Legal Organiser, Migrants Organise
Brian is a level 3 OISC immigration adviser and part of his work is providing direct advice and casework support for Migrants Organise members for immigration and all other connected welfare issues (housing, community care, mental health, social security and crime). He specialises in dealing with complex cases involving migrants and asylum seekers with significant mental health issues. In 2017 he founded the Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy Project which is a specialised strategic project looking into the issue of mental capacity in the immigration system. The project established a network of professionals who can act as litigation friends in the immigration tribunal when no one else is available, including the Official Solicitor. Through policy work, the project has also pushed for the litigation friend to obtain ex gratia payment from the HMCTS. Brian also led on Migrants Organise recent legal challenge against the Home Office, represented by counsels at Garden Court Chambers, on their lack of policy on how individuals who lack mental capacity could access the EU Settlement Scheme. The challenge led to significant amendment in the Home Office policy regarding mental capacity and also effectively introduced a safeguarding duty on the Home Office immigration enforcement team. 

Brian also leads on Migrants Organise strategic legal work and provides advice and assistance to its different campaigns, including Patient not Passport and Abolish Reporting. On the issue of immigration reporting, together with the Public Law Project, he co-authored a report on the lawfulness of the current bail immigration reporting regime funded by Strategic Legal Fund. The report led to the creation of the Abolish Reporting campaign. He has also produced guidance for support workers and caseworkers to assist individuals to challenge their reporting condition. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic he led on Migrants Organise's effort, together with other key charities in the sector, to stop physical reporting. This led to the Home Office's full suspension of physical reporting during the first lockdown. 

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