Charlotte Kilroy

Year of Call

Charlotte Kilroy

Charlotte Kilroy is a public law and human rights specialist. She has a broad practice as a senior junior in which she has developed particular expertise in devising and executing successful strategic litigation.


Her notable cases have involved international law, equality law, actions against the police, constitutional law, access to justice and asylum policy. 


Most recently:

  • In January 2016 she represented three unaccompanied Syrian refugee children and a vulnerable adult stuck in the Calais “Jungle” who obtained a mandatory order that the Home Secretary admit them to join their family members in the UK. This litigation forced France and the UK to improve their implementation of the family reunification provisions in the EU Dublin III Regulation and has led to hundreds of unaccompanied children being permitted to travel lawfully from across Europe to the UK to join family members. Charlotte continues to represent children seeking to join family members in the UK and, in conjunction with the charity Citizens UK, Migrants Law Project and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, to bring litigation aimed at ensuring that effective systems are set up to enable these children to realise their fundamental rights (see R(AM) v SSHD [2017] UKUT 262; R(ZAT and others) v SSHD [2016] 1 WLR 4894; R (MK, IK and HK) v SSHD [2016] UKUT 00231).

  • Between 2013-2015, Charlotte acted for the charity Detention Action in the litigation which led to High Court and Court of Appeal judgments that a) the Home Secretary’s detained fast-track asylum system (DFT) was operating unlawfully, b) her fast-track detention policy was unlawful and c) the Tribunal’s Fast Track Procedure Rules were structurally unfair and ultra vires. The DFT, which had been in operation for over 15 years, was suspended shortly afterwards. In 2017 Charlotte continues to appear in claims where the courts are considering the consequences of these findings for past appeal determinations  (see R(TN) v SSHD [2017] 1 W.L.R. 2595; R(Detention Action) v SSHD [2015] 1 W.L.R. 5341; R(Detention Action) v SSHD [2014] EWCA Civ 1634; R(Detention Action) v SSHD [2014] EWHC 2245).

  • Between 2011-2014, Charlotte represented eight women deceived into having relationships with undercover police who brought a claim against the Metropolitan police for deception, assault, negligence, misfeasance in public office and breach of their rights under Article 3 and 8 ECHR. The police eventually settled the claim with the issue of a landmark apology accepting that the women’s fundamental rights had been violated, and damages (see ). The circumstances in which this deception took place is now the subject of an ongoing public inquiry announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in 2015.(See AJA v Commissioner of Police [2014] 1 W.L.R. 285; DIL v Commissioner of Police [2014] EWHC 2184). Charlotte is currently representing one of the claimants in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal as she seeks declarations that her rights have been violated under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Other significant litigation in which Charlotte is currently involved includes:

  • Challenges to the lawfulness of the Home Secretary’s Restricted Leave policy, by which the government uses ordinary discretionary immigration powers to impose significant restrictions on freedom of movement, access to employment, and education on individuals whom she cannot remove from the UK because they would face torture or ill-treatment in their home countries (see MS v SSHD [2017] EWCA Civ 1190; G v SSHD [2016] EWHC 3232).
  • Damages claims against the Home Secretary and the UK Security Services made on behalf of 11 Libyans detained between 2005-2007 pending deportation to Colonel Qadhafi’s Libya under the deportation with assurances programme (DWA). The claims are based on intelligence material found in Libya after the fall of Colonel Qadhafi which shows there was collusion between UK and Libyan intelligence services in interrogations of terrorist suspects in Libya at the time the deportation proceedings were ongoing (Kamoka v Security Service [2016] EWHC 769; Kamoka v Security Service [2015] EWHC 60). 

Charlotte’s past cases include:


Deportations and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission

  • In April 2016 SIAC allowed the appeals of a group of five Algerians whom the Home Secretary had been attempting to deport to Algeria since 2005 under the DWA programme. After years of appeals, SIAC accepted the Algerian men’s case that the assurances offered by the Algerian government were insufficient to contain the risk of torture the men faced because the assurances could not be adequately verified. Charlotte had been representing three of the Appellants since 2008 (see; BB v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 9).

Control orders

  • DD v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 1681. The Court found that the imposition of a condition requiring the Appellant to wear an Electronic Tag violated his rights under Article 3 ECHR due to the severity of his mental health condition. Charlotte acted for the Appellant.


  • R. (on the application of Lumsdon) v Legal Services Board [2014] EWHC 28 Divisional Court, 20 January 2014 Charlotte acted for the Claimant in this major challenge to the Legal Service Board’s decision to introduce a Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) for all criminal practitioners. The public interest claim, which was backed by the Criminal Bar Association, argued that QASA violated fundamental principles of the rule of law, European Union law and Article 6 ECHR.

Constitutional Law

  • Bank Mellat v HM Treasury [2014] A.C. 700, Supreme Court, 19 June 2013 The Supreme Court concluded that it had the power to hear closed evidence in an appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeal reached following a closed procedure held under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, even though there was no express statutory power enabling it to do so. The Court also gave guidance on the circumstances in which it is appropriate to hold closed hearings. Charlotte Kilroy acted for the intervener Liberty.
  • Al Rawi v Security Service [2011] 3 WLR 388. The Supreme Court held that the adoption of a closed evidence procedure in civil proceedings would constitute a fundamental departure from the basic principles which govern common law trials. It was not therefore open to a court to adopt this procedure in the absence of statutory authority. Charlotte Kilroy acted for Mr Al Rawi.
  • R (Cart) v. Upper Tribunal; R (U) v. Special Immigration Appeals Commission [2010] 2 W.L.R. 1012, DC (The Divisional Court held SIAC was not, by virtue of its status as a superior court of record, immune from judicial review by the High Court; SIAC's decision to revoke the U's bail solely on the basis of closed evidence violated his rights under Article 5(4) ECHR and therefore fell to be quashed). Charlotte acted for the Claimant “U” 


  • R(Medical Justice) v Home Secretary [2011] EWCA 1710. The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision that the Home Office's policy of giving little or no notice of removal directions to certain categories of individuals was ultra vires because it abrogated the constitutional right of access to justice. Charlotte acted for Medical Justice.
  • R (L.) v. Commr of Police for the Metropolis [2010] 1 A.C. 410, SC The Supreme Court ruled that when deciding under the Police Act 1997 whether to disclose information about an individual's past to an employer on an enhanced criminal record certificate the police must weigh the need to protect children against an individual's right to private life under Article 8 ECHR. The Court of Appeal had been wrong to conclude in X v Chief Constable of West Midlands [2005] 1 W.L.R. 65 that there was a presumption in favour of disclosure. Charlotte acted for L. 
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