The future of medical evidence in asylum cases

Thursday 17 November 2022

In-person only

Chris Maloney

Julia Nelki

Alison Summers

Stephanie Harrison KC

Ronan Toal

Date: Thursday 17 November 2022
Time: 6.30pm - 8pm, followed by a drinks reception
Venue: Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ  
Cost: Free
Areas of Law: Immigration Detention, Asylum and Deportation , Immigration Law , Administrative and Public Law , Mental Health Law

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Watch the launch below:

To launch this important and timely new book ‘Seeking Asylum and Mental Health’, the editors Chris Maloney, Julia Nelki and Alison Summers were joined in conversation by leading asylum lawyers Stephanie Harrison KC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers and Ronan Toal of Garden Court Chambers. They explored some of the key themes from the book, and focused discussion on the future role of medical evidence in asylum cases, in the context of changes made by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.

Several of the book’s expert contributors, including Professor Cornelius Katona, Medical Director of the Helen Bamber Foundation, and Piyal Sen, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Visiting Professor at Brunel University, were also present. The evening aimed to further a creative dialogue and ongoing links between legal and healthcare professions.

"A fantastic resource for anyone, including lawyers, judges and social workers, wanting to get to grips with the complex issues around asylum seeker mental health. Clearly written and very well explained, it offers expert insight into how and why asylum seekers are assessed and diagnosed with mental health conditions" - Colin Yeo, barrister at Garden Court Chambers, author of ‘Welcome to Britain’, and editor of ‘Free Movement’ website.

Speaker Panel

Chris Maloney
Chris Maloney was a consultant medical psychotherapist in East Berkshire and then became a GP partner in Hackney, East London. He has worked extensively with people and families seeking asylum and has grown to understand the many problems they face. From 2003 he had an expert witness practice writing psychiatric and physical reports for people’s asylum claims and in related civil matters. He is a co-author of Intelligent Kindness: Rehabilitating the Welfare State, published by Cambridge University Press, and is on the Board of Torture ID.

Julia Nelki
Julia Nelki is a child psychiatrist and family therapist. She has worked with refugees and families seeking asylum for many years, in both the NHS and the voluntary sector. In 1999, she set up the Family Refugee Support Project which offers access to a garden and psychotherapeutic support, and now works with the charity Refugee Resilience Collective, providing support to volunteers working in Calais.  A book about her own Jewish family refugee story has recently been published - Villa Russo: A Jewish Story (Pub: Offizin).

Alison Summers
Alison Summers is a general psychiatrist and psychodynamic psychotherapist.  She has worked with people seeking asylum since 2008 as a psychotherapist, and more recently as a medico-legal report writer.  She is a Board member, and report writer for Torture ID, and works with people seeking asylum in her local community. She has previously worked on projects exploring the needs of resettled refugees and developing an NHS Trust’s response to asylum-seeking and other refugee service users. She has previously worked as a consultant in public health medicine, and in leprosy control in Malawi.

Stephanie Harrison KC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers
Stephanie is a leading practitioner in the field of immigration and asylum law, with over 30 years of experience in complex cases. She frequently appears in the highest courts in landmark cases concerning the interpretation and application of the Refugee Convention and other related international human rights. 

She specialises in claims of torture, human trafficking and other forms of serious violence including sex and gender-based violence. She represented the Appellant in AM( Afghanistan) [2017] EWCA Civ 113 as well as the Helen Bamber Foundation, Freedom from Torture and Medical Justice as intervenors in KV (Sri-Lanka) [2019] UKSC 10 and the AIRE Centre in MN and IXU [2020] EWCA 1746, all leading cases on the role of medical evidence in claims for international protection.

She has been involved in many of the most significant judicial review challenges to the lawfulness of detention policy and practice relating to vulnerable adults and children. She was lead counsel for a number of Core Participants and Medical Justice in the ongoing Statutory Inquiry into Article 3 mistreatment in Brook House IRC. She is an editor of Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice (1Oth Edition), the leading textbook in the field.

Ronan Toal, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Ronan has practiced in immigration and asylum law since 1989.  He has appeared in leading cases concerning medical and psychiatric evidence including KV (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 10 and MN and IXU v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1746. He is an editor of Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice, the leading practitioners' text. He is ranked in Band 1 for immigration law in the Chambers Bar Guide. 

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