Alasdair Mackenzie

Year of Call

Alasdair Mackenzie

Alasdair Mackenzie is an experienced specialist in immigration and asylum law. 


Alasdair is an immigration and asylum specialist and practices generally in public law.  He appears frequently before the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Upper Tribunal and First-Tier Tribunal in all areas of immigration law, including refugee, human rights, family, EEA, student, points-based system, bail and deportation cases.  He is regularly instructed in appeals against First-Tier Tribunal decisions, as well as appeals to the Court of Appeal and judicial reviews.  He also undertakes claims for judicial review in immigration detention cases, including claims for damages for unlawful detention.


Alasdair is recommended in Band 2 by Chambers and Partners where it is said that he is ‘extremely bright and one of the most responsive barristers around’ and that he is ‘very knowledgeable and has learned the art of putting complex cases to the judge clearly and persuasively.’  In the Legal 500  he is recommended as a leading junior, and is described as ‘Dogged and determined’.


He contributed chapters on asylum and human rights claims to the recent Legal Action Group book on Foreign National Prisoners.  He is a regular contributor to the Administrative Court Digest and has written for journals including the New Law Journal, the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law and the European Human Rights Law Review.


Before joining Doughty Street from pupillage in 2005, Alasdair spent many years as a campaigner and advice worker on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.  He was among the founders of the charity Asylum Aid, of which he was Co-ordinator from 1990 to 2002.  He spent some years as an executive committee member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, of which he remains an active member, and is a former Chair of the Asylum Rights Campaign and of the Refugee Legal Group.  He has acted as an expert consultant to the Immigration Services Commissioner, the regulator of immigration advisers.  Alasdair has written or contributed to a number of significant reports and publications on asylum and immigration issues.

Immigration Business and Commercial

Alasdair regularly appears in points-based system appeals before the Upper Tribunal and First-tier Tribunal in related judicial reviews, including recently R (Alnuaimi) v SSHD (challenge to refusal of ILR to spouse of points-based system migrant).

Immigration Asylum and Personal

Alasdair specialises in asylum and human rights work, in particular in complex issues such as mental health, rights of appeal and exclusion from refugee status.  He has been counsel in numerous completed or proposed Country Guidance cases in the Tribunal, including the leading [Judgment] on the risks facing asylum applicants from Sri Lanka, GJ (post-civil war: returnees) Sri Lanka.  He also appeared as junior counsel for three of the appellants in EM (Returnees) Zimbabwe CG [2011] UKUT 98 (IAC) [Judgment], the leading Country Guidance case on Zimbabwe, and for two of the appellants in RS (Zimbabwe – AIDS) Zimbabwe CG [2010] UKUT 363 (IAC) [Judgment], on the lawfulness of removing people with HIV/AIDS to Zimbabwe.  He represented the appellant in the leading case on the risk of re-prosecution in China to those convicted of offences in the UK, JC (Double jeopardy: Art 10 CL) China CG [2008] UKAIT 00036 [Judgment].

He appeared in the Supreme Court as junior counsel in Al-Sirri v SSHD [Judgment], the leading case on the exclusion from refugee status of people accused of acts contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations. He recently appeared in Youssef [2016] UKUT 00137 (IAC), relating to exclusion on the grounds of incitement under Article 1F(c) of the Refugee Convention [Judgment]Alasdair was also junior counsel for the first claimant in the leading case on the Home Office’s legacy programme, R (Geraldo, Aroun and Iqbal) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 2763 (Admin) [Judgment].

Alasdair was recently junior counsel in a claim for judicial review involving the unlawful refusal of British citizenship to the family members of a person alleged to be an extremist, R (MM, GY & TY) v SSHD [2015] EWHC 3513 (Admin) [Judgment].

Alasdair acted as junior counsel in MP (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2016] UKSC 32, [2016] All ER (D) 127 (Jun) [Judgment], in which the Supreme Court made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union on whether a person who cannot be removed because of a risk of suicide is entitled to humanitarian protection under the Qualification Directive.  He is also currently instructed in several appeals before the Court of Appeal and Upper Tribunal relating to  the correct construction of rules and legislation on deportation, including Chege (“is a persistent offender”) [2016] UKUT 00187 (IAC), [2016] ImmAR 833 [Judgment].

He also regularly appears in the Upper and First-tier Tribunals, and in the Court of Appeal and Administrative Court, in student, marriage and deportation cases.

Other leading cases include R (MG) v FTT (IAC) ('fresh claim’; para 353: no appeal) IJR [2016] UKUT 00283 (IAC) (rights of appeal where SSHD refuses to treat further submissions as a fresh claim) [Judgement]; R (Osman Omar) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 3448 (Admin) (lawfulness of Regulations requiring fee for Article 8 application by destitute person) [Judgment]; PR, SS & TC v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 988, [2012] 1 WLR 73, [2011] ImmAR 904  (‘second-tier appeals test’ for appeals to Court of Appeal; junior counsel for first applicant) [Judgment]; SSHD v AS (Somalia) and others [2011] EWCA Civ 1319, Times, January 2, 2012 (appeal rights for those within the ‘legacy’ of previously unresolved asylum claims) [Judgment]; and Abiyat (Rights of appeal) Iran [2011] UKUT 00314 (IAC), [2011] ImmAR 822 (rights of appeal under s.83 NIAA 2002; rights of appeal to UT where FTT declines jurisdiction) [Judgment].

Mental Health and Court of Protection

Alasdair also works in mental health law and appears before mental health tribunals.  He has developed a particular interest in the interrelation between mental health and immigration law and in the treatment of mentally disordered people in the immigration system.  His numerous cases in the latter area include Y & Z (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 362, [2009] HRLR 22, Times, May 5, 2009 [Judgment], believed to be the first reported case in which applicants have succeeded in contesting removal under Article 3 of the ECHR on grounds of a risk of suicide and R (Y) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 2127 (Admin), a successful challenge on ECHR grounds to the refusal of indefinite leave to remain to an applicant with severe PTSD and depression. [Judgment].

He was also recently involved in a successful challenge to the refusal of the First-tier Tribunal to appoint a litigation friend to an appellant lacking capacity, which has resulted in a declaration that the FTT does have the power to do so.

Community Care and Health

Alasdair practices in asylum support, including judicial reviews of the Home Office and First-tier Tribunal relating to asylum support decisions, and regularly appears before the First Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber).  Notable cases include a challenge to the Home Secretary’s power to provide clothing to those on asylum support (R (AW Kenya) v SSHD [2006] EWHC 3147 (Admin), [2006] All ER (D) 392 (Nov), [2007] ACD 33), as well as a successful challenge to the failure of the Home Office to provide travel expenses to those signing on at immigration reporting centres and numerous successful judicial reviews of adverse decisions of the First-tier Tribunal.

National Security

Alasdair appears before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and in appeals against SIAC, including SS (Libya) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 1547, [2012] All ER (D) 23 (Jan) [Judgment].  He has appeared in control order proceedings in the High Court such as AR v SSHD [2009] EWHC 1736 (Admin) (challenge to SSHD’s refusal to modify control order) [Judgment].

Prison Law and Criminal Justice

In addition to challenges to immigration detention, Alasdair has also acted in Parole Board proceedings, prison adjudications and claims for judicial review of the Prison Service.

Administrative and Public Law

Alasdair is frequently instructed in proceedings in the Administrative Court and Upper Tribunal including in actions against the immigration authorities, challenges to decisions of the Upper Tribunal and First-tier Tribunal, challenges to decisions of the Legal Aid Agency and claims for unlawful detention.  Cases include SSHD v AS (Somalia) and others [2011] EWCA Civ 1319, Times, January 2, 2012 (successful challenge in High Court to Tribunal’s refusal of jurisdiction to hear appeal, upheld by Court of Appeal) [Judgment] R (TT (Sri Lanka)) v SSHD [2011] EWHC 1701 (Admin) (refusal to grant indefinite leave to remain to vulnerable refugee) [Judgment] and R (Teluwo) v SSHD [2009] EWHC 2762 (Admin), [2009] All ER (D) 135 (Nov) (mistakes by Home Office inadvertently misleading tribunal, causing unfairness and calling for remedy).  He was also involved in a successful challenge to the failure of the Home Office to provide travel expenses to those signing on at immigration reporting centres.


BA (Oxon)


Bedingfield Scholar, Gray’s Inn, 2003



Immigration Law Practitioners' Association

The Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association

Human Rights Lawyers Association







Russian (Basic)

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