Jelia Sane

Year of Call

Jelia Sane

Jelia Sane practices in all areas of immigration and asylum, human rights and public international law. 


Jelia regularly appears in the First-Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal on asylum, human rights, EEA, bail, and deportation appeals. She is deeply committed to, and experienced in, representing vulnerable claimants.  Jelia is junior counsel  in SSHD v ZAT and Ors [2016] EWCA Civ 810, a groundbreaking judicial review claim on the United Kingdom’s duty to admit unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the Calais ‘Jungle’ under Article 8 ECHR and the Dublin III Regulation for the purposes of family reunification.


In addition, Jelia is an experienced international lawyer. She has previously worked for a range of international organisations and NGOs, including the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Assistance Mission to the Khmer Rouge Trials, the Centre for Justice and International Law in Argentina and the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee in Colombia.  Jelia has advised on cases before the European Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, and the UN treaty monitoring bodies. 


Jelia holds a first class LLM degree in Public International from University College London. She is a native French speaker and is fluent in Spanish. 




Colombia: a long road to peace March 2015. Counsel magazine.

“Mathieu Ngodjulo Chui: reflections on the ICC’s first acquittal.” 25 December 2012. Opinio Juris.

“Prosecuting crimes against cultural property in northern Mali: why it matters.” 21 August 2012.  Justice in Conflict.

Immigration and Asylum

Jelia’s specialist practice covers all areas of immigration and asylum law including nationality law, the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, EEA law, unlawful detention, deportation, immigration bail, and the Immigration Rules including entry clearance and points based system applications.  She regularly represents vulnerable claimants, including victims of torture and gender-based violence, and unaccompanied minors.

Jelia has a strong interest in the legal responses to the EU refugee crisis. She is  junior counsel in SSHD v ZAT and Ors [2016] EWCA Civ 810 - a judicial review claim  in the Court of Appeal concerning the family reunification rights of unaccompanied asylum seeking children  in the Jungle in Calais under Article 8 ECHR and the Dublin III Regulation (led by Michael Fordham QC, with Charlotte Kilroy and Michelle Knorr).  In addition, Jelia was instructed to advise Médecins du Monde on options for strategic litigation in Greece, particularly in relation to material reception conditions in the Greek refugee camps, the processing of unaccompanied minors, and the legality of the EU/Turkey deal.  In August 2016, Jelia spent 10 days providing pro bono legal advice and assistance to refugees in the Samos ‘hotspot’ with Advocates Abroad.

Jelia’s specialised knowledge of international criminal and humanitarian law means that she is well placed to advise on exclusion cases under Article 1(A) Refugee Convention.  Recent work includes assisting Alison Pickup in an exclusion case based on allegations of crimes against humanity in Iran and advising on the operation of the defence of duress under international criminal law. 

Jelia also has a particular interest in political persecution/prosecution asylum appeals and deportation appeals, and in the interface of immigration and criminal law.

International Criminal and Humanitarian Law

Jelia has a strong background in international criminal and humanitarian law. 

Recent instructions have included:

  • Advising Legal Action Worldwide in relation to war crimes and crimes against humanity in Somalia (with Wayne Jordash QC)
  • Developing a capacity building and technical assistance project with Global Rights Compliance and Lawyers Without Borders for a large Colombian NGO in connection with ongoing transitional justice processes in Colombia (with Wayne Jordash QC).  
  • Assisting  Steven Powles with research on legal privilege in a  case before the ICC.  

Prior to joining Doughty Street, Jelia was a law clerk to Judge Kuenyehia in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court. In that role, she was involved in drafting interlocutory appeal judgments in the cases of Prosecutor v Bemba  (charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity) and Prosecutor v Katanga and Ngudjolo (charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity). 

In addition, Jelia worked in the Office of the International Co-Prosecutor of the Extraordinary  Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.  She was a member of the prosecuting team in Case-002 against four senior Khmer Rouge cadres charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. 

International Human Rights Law

Jelia has advised individuals and NGOs on a broad range of cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the Human Rights Committee relating to torture, enforced disappearances, fair trial rights, unlawful detention, counter-terrorism and protest rights. 

Recent work includes:

  • Drafting an amicus curiae presented to the Colombian Constitutional Court on behalf the NGO ABC Colombia-  successful challenge to a constitutional amendment  which threatened to curtail access to justice for victims of human rights abuses committed by Colombian state security forces during the civil war (with Smita Shah and Paul Clarke). Read more here and here
  • Assisting Steven Powles on the case of  Dedvukaj  and Dedvukaj v Montenegro before the ECHR - concerning two American nationals accused of coup attempt in Montenegro. Issues include treatment upon arrest (Article 3) and fairness of trial (Article 6).
  • Conducting a trial observation in Colombia on behalf of the Swiss based Inter-Parliamentary Union - case of Oscar Arboleda Palacios, a former member of the Colombian Congress currently facing trial in the Colombian Supreme Court for alleged ties with paramilitary groups. For local press coverage see Elpais and El Colombiano.
  • Assisting Amal Clooney and Mark Wassouf in the case of  Mohamed Fahmy, an Al Jazeera  English journalist detained in Egypt on terrorism charges. For press coverage see The  Guardian

Jelia previously worked as a legal adviser to the Bogotá based Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee. In that role, she was heavily involved in torture prevention work and monitored and reported on prison conditions. She also provided advice and representation to internally displaced communities and families of victims of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Inter-American proceedings; and led workshops on transitional justice in the context of the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC.   

In addition, Jelia  worked  at the Centre for Justice and International Law in Argentina, where she was involved in the strategic litigation of cases before the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, including:

Jelia has conducted trainings on international human rights standards and advocacy for  human rights defenders, indigenous leaders, trade unionists and civil society groups in Argentina, Colombia and Spain.


LLB Law with Spanish (2:1), University of Sheffield and University of Barcelona (2004-2008)

LLM Public International Law (1st), University College London (2008-2009)

Barrister Professional Training Course (Very Competent), City University (2012-2013)



French (native)




Bar Human Rights Committee

Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association 


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