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Antonia is an immigration and public law specialist with particular expertise in asylum, immigration, community care and trafficking claims.

Antonia works across the fields of asylum, immigration and public law with a specialism in refugee and asylum claims. Before joining the Bar, Antonia worked for NGOs including the Refugee Council, and has accumulated over 13 years of experience working in support of refugee and migrant rights.

Antonia is regularly instructed in the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals, High Court and Court of Appeal on asylum and public law cases, with a particular focus on complex claims and those involving victims of torture and sexual violence. Combining her backgrounds in the NGO field, Antonia is highly regarded for her ability to engage with particularly vulnerable clients and to approach her cases with a strong client-focus. 

Antonia is regularly instructed in public law challenges on behalf of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children whose age is disputed by the Home Office or local authorities.

She also acts in deportation and human rights cases and is regularly instructed in EEA and criminal deportation cases as well as challenges to extradition and unlawful detention. Antonia has extensive experience in emergency and out of hours applications.

Reported cases

KK (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 2412 – Permission judgment from the Court of Appeal in which the court has granted permission to consider the risk of persecution for Sri Lankan nationals who have given evidence as witnesses to war crimes in the UN OISL inquiry. Substantive hearing listed in January 2019.

R (on the application of General Abdulwaheed Shannan Al Rabbat) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2017] EWHC 1969 (Admin) – A private prosecution brought by a former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army seeking the prosecution of Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Peter Goldsmith QC for the crime of aggression in invading Iraq in 2003.  Led by Michael Mansfield QC. Heard before the Lord Chief Justice in July 2017 with the Attorney General intervening.

MST and Others (national service – risk categories) Eritrea CG [2016] UKUT 00443 (IAC) – Country guidance case considering the risk on return for Eritrean nationals, in which the UNHCR acted as intervener.  Considering whether there had been change in the country situation following a change in the Home Office’s policy to the human rights situation in the country. The case established that the risk categories for Eritrean asylum seekers should be maintained and extended to provide a protection against a breach of Article 4 (2) ECHR for those required to undertake national service in Eritrea which was found to constitute forced labour.

MST and Others (Disclosure – restrictions – implied undertaking) Eritrea [2016] UKUT 00337 (IAC) – Interlocutory hearing considering disclosure of material from the SSHD obtained in the course of a fact-finding mission to Eritrea, undertaken in the course of proceedings, and also the approach to uncorroborated and anonymous evidence.

Ayinde and Thinjom (Carers – Reg.15A – Zambrano) [2015] UKUT 560 (IAC) – EEA test case concerning the rights of Zambrano carers to a derivative right of residence under Reg. 15A(4A), and whether requiring an adult dependent EEA national to enter state care, in the alternative to receiving care from a family member, amounted to an infringement of the genuine enjoyment of their rights as EEA nationals.

Immigration and Asylum Law

Antonia primarily focuses on asylum and refugee law, representing both high-profile individuals and vulnerable clients including those who have been the victims of trafficking, serious human rights abuses and torture.  She has particular experience working with clients who have complex mental health problems.

She is well regarded for her extensive knowledge of asylum law and policy, her academic ability and her sensitivity in working with vulnerable clients. Antonia is dedicated to the advancement of refugee rights and regularly works for NGOs and Law Centres, who are in particular need of high-quality representation.

She has a particular interest in complex policy challenges in relation to the cessation and revocation of refugee status in line with UNHCR standards, cases of disputed and doubtful nationality and the interpretation of medico-legal reports as independent evidence of torture.

Antonia is highly experienced in refugee claims from Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Her knowledge of country information is extensive and she excels in presenting complex factual cases. 

She was instructed in the current country guidance case on Eritrea (MST and Others (national service – risk categories) Eritrea CG [2016] UKUT 00443 (IAC)) and in December 2017, and is presently instructed in the case of KK (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 2412 considering the risk on return to Sri Lanka for those who have given evidence to the UN OISL inquiry as witnesses to war crimes.

Administrative and Public Law

Antonia specialises in public and administrative law in immigration and asylum cases as well as in age-dispute/age assessment challenges for asylum-seeking children. In the field of asylum law, she is regularly instructed in asylum fresh claims and challenges to clearly unfounded certificates as well as complex claims involving statelessness applications and the Dublin III regulation.

Antonia has particular experience in judicial review challenges against local authorities and the Home Office on behalf of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, including age dispute challenges, challenges to detention, termination of support and dispersal. She has a particular interest in challenges that focus on issues of credibility and points relating to country information and guidance. She is presently instructed on a number of complex cases involving disputes between local authorities about the responsibility for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

She is experienced in both complex and urgent challenges and is able to apply her background as an experienced asylum law practitioner to complex public law challenges.

Community Care

Antonia specialises in cases that involve a cross-over between community care and immigration. She has particular experience in public law challenges on behalf of age disputed and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children including challenges to local authority age assessments and cases that involve detention and transfers under the Dublin III Regulation. In addition, she regularly acts in cases involving the Children Act 1989 and Care Act 2014.

Public Inquires

Antonia is currently instructed as junior counsel to the inquiry (led by Henrietta Hill QC) in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Children outside the UK investigation.

The investigation will consider the use of the civil orders framework for the prevention of, and notification to foreign authorities of, foreign travel by individuals known to the UK authorities as posing a risk to children. In addition, the investigation will consider the use and efficacy of section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the extra-territorial jurisdiction to prosecute offences against children committed outside the UK and issues related to the statutory vetting and barring regime.

Training

Antonia regularly delivers training both for, and in partnership, with NGOs and community organisations particularly focusing on the asylum system and issues affecting asylum-seeking and refugee clients. 

She regularly speaks public events on refugee and broader human rights issues, including at the Parallel Event to the 36th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2017 on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and in the House of Commons International Disappearance Day in 2017.