We are delighted to announce Gráinne Mellon of Garden Court Chambers has been shortlisted for the International Bar Association's Pro Bono Award 2021 for her incredible work helping vulnerable EU children and families apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Gráinne is a public law specialist with expertise in human rights and equality law. Her practice includes all aspects of immigration and nationality law, community care and Court of Protection, children's rights and discrimination law.
Gráinne has done significant work on migrant children’s rights during the last year and has provided extensive help around the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
After originally agreeing to take on individual cases for immigration charity, Here for Good, she set up the Here for Good EUSS project between Here for Good and Advocate, which recruited and trained barristers to assist with filing EUSS applications for vulnerable applicants before the June deadline. In only six weeks she registered interest from over 70 barristers and organised training. Ultimately, 75 barristers from Chambers across the country signed up to take on cases for the most vulnerable EU nationals referred to Here for Good. Through Advocate, barristers took on cases directly and used the organisation’s caseworkers for assistance.
In one example, Gráinne wrote lengthy representations and gathered extensive positive evidence to support the application of a 22-year-old care leaver. Although he met the criteria for settlement, he had served time in prison for which he had been given a deportation order, thus his application was complex and had a high risk of refusal. While the application is yet to receive a decision, without Gráinne the applicant would be in the UK without permission and at great risk.
In another case, Gráinne supported a nine-month-old baby in the care of Merton Social Services who was born in the UK to a Polish mother. Gráinne was able to support the baby to make an application to the Polish embassy for proof of his Polish nationality, and subsequently support him to make an EUSS application before the deadline. This complex application required several submissions setting out the reasons that the Home Office should exercise discretion in granting the infant settled status outright. Gráinne’s extensive work means the application is expected to be accepted.
Gráinne regularly advises individuals as well as for charities and other organisations. Her expertise spans public and private law and she enjoys acting in complex trials involving cross-examination as much as arguing points of public law. She is particularly known for her work representing vulnerable children and adults across the spectrum of both judicial review claims and civil/human rights claims.
Gráinne is a Part-Time Judge of the First-tier Tribunal assigned to Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and is appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's preferred Panel of Counsel.
Garden Court Chambers is very proud of Gráinne for this recognition of the enormity of work she has undertaken pro bono.
The 2021 International Bar Association's Pro Bono Awards Ceremony took place virtually on Thursday 28 October 2021.
If you missed the ceremony and want to watch it on catch up, you can do so by clicking here.