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Catherine is human rights and public law specialist with particular expertise in trafficking, immigration and asylum including immigration detention.

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

“..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.”  "If I had a trafficking case I'd go to her in a heartbeat." "She is an excellent, intellectual lawyer, who grasps cases very well. “She’s completely dedicated to every single case she takes on."“A dynamic and experienced junior.” "She has a lot of energy ... works incredibly hard and pushes for the best outcome."

She has been involved test case litigation at all levels of the UK courts and both the European Court of Human Rights, and the Court of Justice of the EU in cases straddling domestic, European and international law: e.g. acting for the Claimant in PK (Ghana) on the compatibility of UK trafficking policy with the European Anti Trafficking Convention; or interventions in MA BT and Tarakhel on the best interests of the child.

She has advised UN agencies including the UNODC and UNHCR, the Council of Europe and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in developing best practice and practitioner standards in the areas of trafficking, asylum and human rights. Prior to coming to the Bar, she worked with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Committee on Refugees); UNHCR; the AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe); and the Commonwealth Secretariat Human Rights Unit. She has published widely (see below) and frequently advises on public policy issues, public consultations, and lobbying on legislative issues (e.g. torts and victim support under the Modern Slavery Act, FGM in the Serious Crime Bill, legal aid and LASPO). She has lectured within the UK and across Europe (including Russia and Turkey); and has been a guest lecturer on international human rights law and EU law, on masters programmes at Essex, London South Bank and Queen Mary universities. She previously taught public law at Kings College London. 

Immigration Asylum and Personal

Catherine acts in appeals, judicial reviews and civil claims in all aspects of immigration asylum and refugee law. She has a particular specialism in cases involving human rights and representing particularly vulnerable groups, including victims of trafficking, victims of torture and gender based violence, children, sexual minorities and persons with disabilities.

She has been involved in ground-breaking litigation involving victims of trafficking and unaccompanied and separated children (see Administrative and Public Law above) developing the interrelationship of EU, ECHR and international human and refugee rights law. Some further examples in the context of asylum and immigration include:

  • Indiscriminate violence and humanitarian conditions under Article 3 ECHR: Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom App. Nos 8319/07; 11449/07 [2011] ECHR 1045; (2012) 54 E.H.R.R. 9 (with the AIRE Centre).
  • Flagrant human rights abuses: EM (Lebanon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] UKHL 64; [2009] 1 A.C. 1198 (research conducted for Interveners).
  • Unlawful detention: Hussein (II) v. the UK App. no. 19352/12; 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; Ametov v. the Ukraine detention of a Tartar activist (for Social Action Centre No Borders Project).
  • Interception at sea and access to asylum procedures: Sharifi and others v. Italy & Greece, App. no. 16643/09, 21 October 2014 (for the AIRE Centre as joint intervener with Amnesty).
  • Deportation of EU nationals: Case C-378/12 Nnamdi Onuekwere v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] 1 W.L.R. 2420, CJEU;
  • Country guidance: CM (EM Country Guidance: Disclosure: Zimbabwe) [2013] EWCA Civ 1303; [2014] Imm. A.R. 326.
  • Gender-sensitivity in the asylum process: N v the United Kingdom, App. No. 16458/12, decision 15 April 2014. For Human Rights Watch.

She has written and lectured extensively on these subjects (see Publications below). 


Immigration Business and Personal

Catherine is an experienced practitioner and advises private individuals and organisations on all aspects of business and commercial immigration.

Administrative and Public Law

Catherine has a broad public law practice; and also acts in civil claims against public authorities.

Much of her judicial review work concerns public law cases involving victims of trafficking challenging a broad range of unlawful conduct by public bodies: e.g. negative identification under the NRM, defective investigations, immigration status, unlawful detention, unlawful prosecution, protection and support issues, legal aid. She also acts in civil and private law claims in these areas; and in cases where there are multiple-defendants or a number of parallel claims. She is one of a small number of practitioners nationwide with this level and breadth of experience. Some of her recent cases include:

  • Protection and support: 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); and R (FH by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) CO/5658/2017 where the SSHD agreed to pay subsistence to a victim who had exited the NRM.
  • Article 4 ECHR duties towards victims of trafficking: J v Austria (58216/12)[2017] ECHR 37 .
  • Challenges to the Home Office policy on residence permits for victims of trafficking: PK (Ghana) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 9 where Home Office policy failed to reflect the Anti-Trafficking Convention criteria; HA CO/12029/2011 requiring a minimum of one year and one day leave so that victims can pursue asylum appeals.
  • Legal aid for victims of trafficking in scope of LASPO: LL v Lord Chancellor CO/3581/2017; and pre-NRM see Gudanaviciene & Ors v The Director of Legal Aid Casework & Or [2014] EWCA Civ 162.
  • Immigration detention and the failure to investigate indicators of trafficking as a breach of published policy and Art 4 ECHR within the detained fast track process: Y & Others v SSHD and the FTT (IAC) [2015] EWHC.
  • Unlawful removal of a trafficking victim from the UK: XB v SSHD [2015] EWHC 2557 (Admin).

Catherine acts for claimants and third-party interveners in public law and human rights cases in a range of contexts, e.g.:

  • Children’s rights and refugee law: e.g. SSHD v ZAT & Ors (Syria) (UNHCR & AIRE Centre intervening) [2016] 1 WLR 4894, [2016] EWCA Civ 810, [2016] WLR (D) 452, [2016] WLR 4894 (for the AIRE Centre as third party intervener) – on family reunion under Article 8 ECHR; Tarakhel & Ors v. Switzerland, [2014] ECHR 600, Grand Chamber ECtHR (for the Interveners AIRE Centre, Amnesty International, European Council on Refugees and Exiles) – on the rights of children of families facing return under the Dublin regulations; MA & Ors v SSHD [2013] EUECJ C-648/11, CJEU (AIRE Centre (Intervening) – on the best interests of unaccompanied asylum seeking children under the Dublin regime.
  • Denial of access to justice and legal aid: The Public Law Project, R (on the application of) v Lord Chancellor [2016] AC 1531 on the residence test (for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as Intervener); BF v Lord Chancellor concerning funding for a mass clinical negligence claim.
  • Extraterritorial human rights abuses in the context of military action abroad, e.g.  Kontic & Others v Ministry of Defence [2016] EWHC 2034 (QB) & 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 (Kosovo); Secretary of State for Defence v. Al-Skeini & Ors [2007] UKHL 26 (Iraq); R (Al Rawi & Ors) v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs & Anor [2006] EWCA Civ 1279 (Guantanamo).
  • Police misconduct, e.g. kettling in Austin v. the United Kingdom, App. no. 39692/09,15 March 2012, [2012] ECHR 459.
  • Disclosure, fairness and closed PII procedures: CM (EM Country Guidance: Disclosure: Zimbabwe) [2013] EWCA Civ 1303.

Much of this work involves vulnerable clients or is sensitive or high-profile so Catherine is also experienced in issues concerning media and information law including data protection, freedom of information, confidentiality, reporting restrictions, anonymity, special measures.

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, the European Court of Human Rights and the CJEU. See above under Administrative and Public Law.

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.

  • Beyond the end of the line: home secretary can and will support victims of trafficking post-exit from the NRM, Legal Action Group, February 2018, Fiona Couzens and Catherine Meredith.
  • Modern Slavery: More Action Needed? Employment Law Journal, May 2015, Richard Kenyon and Catherine Meredith
  • Grayling stalls over changes to exceptional funding, Legal Action Group, May 2015, Catherine Meredith and Alison Pickup
  • “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.
  • European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European Court of Human Rights Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration (written by Nuala Mole, Maryam Akhavan-Tabib and Catherine Meredith) (June 2013, re-published June 2014)
  • Asylum and the European Convention on Human Rights (5th edition), 2010, Council of Europe Human Rights Files, Nuala Mole and Catherine Meredith.
  • Preventing harm to refugees and migrants in extradition and expulsion: Rule 39 indications by the European Court of Human Rights, 2010, PACE.
  • 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.
  • E.H.R.L.R Case notes.