Alison is a public law practitioner with a wide ranging claimant practice, including in immigration and asylum, prison law, community care, and EU law. She also acts in civil claims for damages against public authorities, particularly unlawful detention and discrimination claims. In 2010, she was shortlisted for the Young Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
Alison is regularly instructed in publicly and privately funded appeals in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber (First-tier and Upper Tribunals) and in immigration judicial review claims. Before coming to the Bar Alison had worked as an immigration caseworker since 2001, including over three years at the Refugee Legal Centre. In 2012 she co-authored (with Mark Henderson) an updated online edition of the Best Practice Guide to Asylum and Human Rights Appeals published on the Electronic Immigration Network. She is experienced in handling urgent judicial review challenges to removal as well as unlawful detention claims. Alison advises on all aspects of immigration law and on issues relating to migrants’ rights in other areas of her practice, such as claims for damages for immigration detention, prisoners’ rights, asylum support and community care including age dispute judicial reviews in the Upper Tribunal. Alison is recommended for immigration in the Legal 500 (2010, 2011 and 2012) and in Chambers and Partners (2011 and 2012).
Significant cases include:
Alison regularly acts for claimants in judicial review proceedings challenging the decisions of public authorities. These including judicial review claims relating to immigration matters, unlawful detention under immigration powers, asylum support, community care particularly relating to the Children Act 1989, and prisoners’ rights.
Alison has a particular interest and expertise in the implications of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 for the availability of legal aid in the fields of immigration, asylum and asylum support. She has advised NGOs and others on the scope of legal aid under the Act and use of the exceptional funding provisions. She briefed Young Legal Aid Lawyers on using the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to challenge the removal of legal aid. She contributed to the immigration section of the Bar Council's Civil Legal Aid Committee response to the consultation on Legal Aid Reform in 2010 and drafted the response of Doughty Street's Immigration Team.
Alison is especially interested in issues arising out of unlawful detention under the Immigration Acts. She has extensive experience of bail hearings in the Tribunal, and acts pro bono for Bail for Immigration Detainees. She frequently advises on claims for damages for unlawful detention (both judicial review and civil claims) and has successfully settled a number of claims against the Home Office. She acted with Paul Bowen for Medical Justice in its intervention in R (MD (Angola) & Others) v SSHD
 EWCA Civ 1238, which challenged the detention and treatment of immigration detainees who were HIV positive. She also represented the claimant in R (M) v SSHD  EWHC 1424 (Admin), establishing that a Somali man who had been separated from his wife and children had been unlawfully detained for ten months.
Alison also advises on claims for damages for false imprisonment and related breaches of human rights arising in other contexts, including detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 and in prison and police stations. She has been junior counsel in a series of claims brought by Iraqi civilians against the Ministry of Defence for damages arising out of their arrest and detention during the occupation of Iraq, and in group litigation brought by former civilian employees of UK Government departments in Iraq for negligence and human rights breaches arising out of their employment.
Alison is recommended in Chambers and Partners 2012 for civil liberties and human rights.
Alison frequently advises on issues arising from asylum support provision. She also acts in challenges to decisions made by local authorities in connection with the provision of accommodation and services under part 3 of the Children Act 1989 and has been particularly involved in cases involving migrant families. She regularly appears as a pro bono advocate at the First-Tier Tribunal (Asylum Support) on behalf of the Asylum Support Appeals Project. She acted with Mark Henderson in an intervention by Refugee Action in R (MK and AH) v SSHD
 EWHC 1896 (Admin), in which the High Court held that the Home Office policy of delaying consideration of applications for support made by asylum seekers who had made a subsequent claim for asylum was unlawful as it created an unacceptable risk of Article 3 breaches.
Alison is instructed in cases raising issues of EU law particularly in the context of entitlement to social security benefits. She was junior counsel to Simon Cox in Patmalniece v SSWP
 UKSC 11;  1 WLR 783 (whether the restriction of State Pension Credit to those with a right to reside in the UK was unlawfully discriminatory on grounds of nationality against other EU citizens who were habitually resident in the UK) and R (Tilianu) v SSWP  EWCA Civ 1397 (whether a worker who, after a period of self-employment followed by a period of illness during which he was hospitalised, was involuntarily unemployed retained a right of residence).
Alison appears regularly before the Parole Board and advises on legal issues arising from imprisonment including claims for disability and race discrimination, and challenges to categorisation and allocation decisions. She has provided training on adjudication appeals and challenges at the Association of Prison Lawyers’ conference and on foreign national prisoners and discrimination for the Prisoners Advice Service. She has a particular interest in the rights of foreign national prisoners and the application of policies on temporary release and allocation to open conditions to prisoners facing deportation.
In R (Baybasin) v MOJ (
November 2010), Alison was instructed as junior to Paul Bowen. The MOJ settled this claim for unlawful disability discrimination by a paraplegic wheelchair user who had been held in appalling conditions in HMP Belmarsh since February 2004 the week before a five-day hearing in the High Court. The MOJ accepted that it had unlawfully discriminated against Mr Baybasin by failing to provide him the means to use the toilet and bathe independently, apologised to him, and paid him compensation for the injury to his feelings.
Alison advises on issues relating to mental health and mental capacity law. She was junior counsel to Paul Bowen acting on behalf of the Interveners (INQUEST, JUSTICE, Liberty and Mind) in Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust
 UKSC 2  2 AC 72 (whether there is an operational obligation under Article 2 ECHR to take reasonable steps to protect psychiatric in-patients who are not detained from taking their own lives), and (also as junior to Paul Bowen) for the respondent local authority in the Court of Appeal in DL v A Local Authority  EWCA Civ 253  3 WLR 1439 (whether the High Court retained an inherent jurisdiction in respect of vulnerable adults with capacity).
Alison has a keen interest in equality and discrimination issues. In 1998 – 1999, she spent a year as a research intern at the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) in Budapest researching discrimination against Roma in employment among other issues. She has been instructed to advise on potential discrimination claims arising in the prison, mental health, education and public authority fields. These have included the claim in Baybasin, noted above.
BA (Hons) Cantab
MA Understanding and Securing Human Rights (Distinction)
Middle Temple Queen Mother Scholar
Brazilian Portuguese (Conversational)
Administrative Law Bar Association
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association: Co-convenor of ILPA’s Access to Justice Sub-Committee.
Discrimination Law Association
Association of Prison Lawyers
Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People: Member of the Expert Panel
(est. by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund)
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