Catherine Meredith

Year of Call

Catherine Meredith

Catherine is human rights and public law specialist with particular expertise in trafficking, modern slavery, immigration and asylum including immigration detention. Catherine has a real specialism in cases involving points of EU, ECHR and international law.


Catherine acts for claimants and NGOs, including as third party interveners, and has been involved in cases domestically at all levels to the Supreme Court, as well as the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.


She has acted as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe and EU Fundamental Rights Agency, as well as UN bodies (UNHCR and UNODC). She regularly speaks, trains, and publishes on topics within her field of expertise. She is Preferred Counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


She has been recognised by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in Immigration and described as:


“An enterprising and experienced immigration barrister, she is highly regarded for her handling of complex cases involving trafficking, children and sexual and gender-based violence. Her broad practice has a noted focus on EU and ECHR law.”


"She's completely dedicated to every single case she takes on." "If I had a trafficking case I'd go to her in a heartbeat."


“A dynamic and experienced junior who specialises in asylum and immigration cases before the higher courts. Her practice has a particular emphasis on EU and ECHR cases.”


"She has a lot of energy ... works incredibly hard and pushes for the best outcome." "She is an excellent, intellectual lawyer, who grasps cases very well." 


Previous Experience

Catherine previously worked at the AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) where she was involved in litigation in both European Courts, primarily on cases concerning asylum and the extraterritorial application of human rights to military actions abroad. She acted as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe, with UNHCR and the AIRE Centre, on guidelines on human rights protections in accelerated asylum procedures and interim measures under Rule 39.


As a lawyer in the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, she worked on immigration detention and interim measures as well as the international obligations of States to those intercepted at Sea (in response to the lives lost in the Mediterranean).


Catherine previously worked as a researcher and consultant with the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat. She worked on the establishment of the first forum of National Human Rights Institutions at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala; and authored a comparative guide to national human rights institutions. Catherine was a visiting tutor in Public law at Kings College London (2006-2008). 


  • “Practical and effective not theoretical and illusory” – the role of interim measures in the European Court of Human Rights protection of rights, Nuala Mole and Catherine Meredith, Journal of Immigration Asylum and Nationality Law (2015) 29.1.
  • Asylum and the European Convention on Human Rights (5th edition), 2010, Council of Europe Human Rights Files, Nuala Mole and Catherine Meredith.
  • Parliaments united against human trafficking, 2010, PACE.
  • The detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Europe, 2010, PACE.
  • Assisted in the drafting of the UNHCR Toolkit on How to Request Interim Measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of the European Court of Human Rights for Persons in Need of International Protection (2012)
  • Expert advisor (with the AIRE Centre and UNHCR) to the Council of Europe working group drafting Guidelines on human rights protection in the context of accelerated asylum procedures (2009)  

  • Not in My Front Yard: Security and Resistance to Responsibility for Extraterritorial State Conduct, 2009, Wolf Legal Publishers, Theodora Christou and Catherine Meredith.

  • War or Crime? National Legal Challenges in Europe to the War in Iraq, 2009, Wolf Legal Publishers, ed. Elspeth Guild, Chapter by Theodora Christou and Catherine Meredith.
  • Comparative Study on the Mandates of National Human Rights Institutions, 2007, Commonwealth Secretariat Publishing.
  • Vilho-Eskelinen v. Finland, Case note, E.H.R.L.R. 2007, 4, 453-457.
  • Anheuser-Busch v. Portugal, Case note, E.H.R.L.R. 2007, 3, 312-315.


Immigration Asylum and Personal

Catherine specialises in asylum and human rights cases – and those involving vulnerable individuals such as victims of trafficking, victims of torture and gender based violence, children, sexual minorities and disabled persons.

She acts at all levels in immigration and asylum appeals and in judicial reviews as well as in claims for damages or declarations against public authorities.

Notable Cases:

  • SSHD v ZAT & Ors (Syria) (UNHCR & AIRE Centre intervening) [2016] 1 WLR 4894, [2016] EWCA Civ 810, [2016] WLR (D) 452, [2016] WLR 4894. The “Calais refugee” judgment. Four vulnerable applicants were brought from France to the UK to join family to avoid a breach of their Article 8 ECHR rights. Acted for the AIRE Centre as third party intervener.
  • XB v SSHD [2015] EWHC 2557 (Admin). First case to adjudicate on the statutory trafficking exception to deportation.
  •  Y & Others v SSHD and the FTT (IAC) [2015] EWHC. Challenge to the unlawful processing of asylum claims under the Detained Fast Track, including multiple unlawful failings in trafficking and equality cases.
  •  AS (Iran) [2015] EWCA Civ 824. Gender based violence under the Refugee Convention & treatment  of Iranian victims of domestic violence.
  • Tarakhel & Ors v. Switzerland, [2014] ECHR 600. Grand Chamber ECtHR: Dublin II return to Italy of family with minor children breached Article 3 ECHR. On behalf of the Interveners AIRE Centre, Amnesty International, European Council on Refugees and Exiles.
  • Sharifi and others v. Italy & Greece, App. no. 16643/09, 21 October 2014. Concerned the relationship between EU and ECHR obligations prohibiting collective expulsion of asylum seekers and denial of access to the Greek asylum procedure. With the AIRE Centre (joint intervention with Amnesty).
  • MA & Ors v SSHD [2013] EUECJ C-648/11. CJEU Preliminary ruling: asylum applications from children must be examined in the state where the child is presently, under the Dublin II regulation, provided it was in their best interests to do. On behalf of the AIRE Centre (Intervening).
  • Case C-378/12 Nnamdi Onuekwere v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] 1 W.L.R. 2420. CJEU Preliminary ruling: Time spent in prison does not count towards the acquisition of permanent residence.
  • CM (EM Country Guidance: Disclosure: Zimbabwe) [2013] EWCA Civ 1303; [2014] Imm. A.R. 326. Zimbabwe country guidance; duty of disclosure, use of anonymous evidence & appointment of a PII Advocate.  
  • HA CO/12029/2011. Challenge to treatment of asylum appeal as abandoned where victims of trafficking granted twelve months leave to remain. Case settled as API on Discretionary Leave amended to ensure a minimum grant of one year and one day so that victims would not be shut out of their asylum appeals.
  • Hussein (II) v. the UK App. no. 19352/12. Argued that the absence of fixed detention time limits in the UK lacks the requisite quality of law under Article 5 ECHR. Case settled.
  • ​N v the United Kingdom, App. No. 16458/12, decision 15 April 2014. Gender-sensitivity in the asylum process and a modified test in suicide cases. For the intervener Human Rights Watch.
  •  Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom App. Nos 8319/07; 11449/07 [2011] ECHR 1045; (2012) 54 E.H.R.R. 9. Test case on safety of returns to Somalia under Article 3 ECHR due to indiscriminate violence under Article 15c and dire humanitarian conditions in camps. With the AIRE Centre.
  • EM (Lebanon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] UKHL 64; [2009] 1 A.C. 1198. Flagrant violation of derogable rights acting as barrier to removal. Conducted research for Raza Husain QC for Justice and Liberty.
  • Saadi v United Kingdom (13229/03) (Grand Chamber) (2008) 47 E.H.R.R. 17; [2008] Imm. A.R. 368; [2008] I.N.L.R. 436. Challenge to fast-track detention at Oakington under Article 5 ECHR. With the AIRE Centre as an Intervener.
  • R (on the application of Arben Draga) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 842. Unlawful detention. Led by Gordon Lee in the Administrative Court proceedings [2011] EWHC 1825 (Admin).  

Immigration Business and Personal

Catherine advises private individuals and organisations.

Administrative and Public Law

Catherine represents claimants and NGOs in a broad range of public law and human rights matters. She specialises in cases straddling domestic and international law.


Much of her judicial review and civil practice involves challenging trafficking decisions and Home Office decisions, as well immigration detention, access to justice and legal aid, and community care including age assessments. She also has particular expertise in cases concerning the extraterritorial application of human rights.


Notable work:


  • Galdikas & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors (Rev 1) [2016] WLR(D) 214, [2016] WLR 4031, [2016] 1 WLR 4031, [2016] EWHC 942 (Admin). Case challenging the lack of support for EU victims of trafficking once they have been identified.
  • The Public Law Project, R (on the application of) v Lord Chancellor [2016] AC 1531. Challenge to the introduction of a residence test for eligibility for legal aid. Acted for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as Intervener.
  • Kontic & Others v Ministry of Defence [2016] EWHC 2034 (QB). Investigative obligations in respect of deaths and disappearances in Kosovo in 1999.
  • JVL v. Austria, Application no. 58216/12. The first case concerning the obligations under Article 4 ECHR of a transit state towards victims of trafficking. With the AIRE Centre.
  • Gudanaviciene & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Director of Legal Aid Casework & Or [2014] EWCA Civ 162. Test case on refusals of exceptional case funding and need for legal aid for victims of trafficking cases prior to a reasonable grounds decision by the Competent Authority
  • Austin v. the United Kingdom, App. no. 39692/09,15 March 2012, [2012] ECHR 459. The Grand Chamber held that the police kettling of demonstrators on May Day 2001 was not a breach of Article 5 EHCR.
  • Secretary of State for Defence v. Al-Skeini & Ors [2007] UKHL 26 and R (Al Rawi & Ors) v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs & Anor [2006] EWCA Civ 1279. Extraterritorial application of the ECHR and the Human Rights Act in Iraq and Guantanamo respectively. With the AIRE Centre.
  • Behrami v. France/Saramati v. France, Germany and Norway, App. nos. 71412/01; 78166/01, 22 B.H.R.C. 477; (2007) 45 E.H.R.R. SE10. Extraterritorial liability for human rights abuses (death and disfigurement of two children from unexploded cluster munitions in Behrami; and unlawful detention in Saramati) in Kosovo by troop-contributing nations (France, Germany and Norway) acting under the auspices of a UN mandate. With the AIRE Centre.
  • Expert to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings across the Council of Europe.
  • Advisor the Lords on the Serious Crime Bill in relation to the crime of female genital mutilation.

Actions Against the Police and Public Authorities

Catherine advises across the full range of matters with a particular expertise in human rights and trafficking.

See above under Administrative and Public Law.


Community Care and Health

Catherine regularly acts in age assessment and related challenges; and in cases concerning the support and accommodation of migrants and victims of trafficking. Catherine has run several test cases on the trigger and scope of the duty to provide assistance and support to victims of trafficking. She also acts in cases concerning vulnerable children under the Children Acts.

Notable cases: See above under Administrative and Public Law.


International Law

Catherine has a specialism in advising on matters of EU, ECHR and international law. She has been involved in litigation at all levels of the domestic Courts and in Strasbourg and the CJEU.


Catherine frequently gives lectures on international human rights law and EU law, including on several masters courses (Essex and London South Bank).


Notable cases: See above under Administrative and Public Law


  •  Ametov v. the Ukraine.  Challenge to the decision to detain and conditions of detention of a human rights activist and political prisoner in the Ukraine who had been campaigning on the minority land rights of Tartars. Instructed by Ukrainian NGO, Social Action Centre No Borders Project.

Equality and Discrimination

Notable cases: See above under Immigration – Asylum and Personal and Administrative and Public Law

Catherine is on the Equality and Human Rights Commission B Panel of Preferred Counsel.


LLB Kings’ College London

(Chemistry sandwich year, Imperial College London)

LLM (Human Rights Specialism),

LSE Prince of Wales and BVC Scholarships






Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association

Anti Trafficking Legal Project

The Constitutional & Administrative Law Bar Association

Human Rights Law Association


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