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Shu Shin practices in all areas of public law. Her practice has a strong human rights, civil liberties, and anti-discrimination focus.

Her expertise covers a broad range of subject matters including community care, mental health and mental capacity, health care, education, housing, welfare benefits, human trafficking, immigration and asylum, and deprivation of liberty both in the context of immigration detention and the Court of Protection. She pursues significant public interest litigation on behalf of individuals and organisations.

Shu Shin aims to act for her clients in a comprehensive way, advising where possible on the full range of legal issues impacting on different aspects of their lives in the context of judicial review, statutory appeals, and actions against public authorities, where relevant. This depth of experience and breadth of legal knowledge and expertise enables her to have a truly creative approach to a case.

Shu Shin is committed to civil legal aid and to supporting individuals to have effective access to legal remedies. She is on the panel of junior counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She undertakes advisory and consultancy work for non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations and state bodies in the UK and other jurisdictions on legal policy and draft legislation. She acted as the specialist legal advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its immigration detention inquiry in 2018/ 2019. She also regularly provides training to governmental departments, local authorities, and public interest groups in the UK and internationally.

Background

Shu Shin was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US. Prior to coming to the Bar, she worked as a part-time campaign assistant for Amnesty International. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist for the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Sun-Times in the US and in Southeast Asia and China. She won several awards for investigations into detention of children in asylum care in the US, deaths arising from officer-involved shootings and price-fixing among grocery conglomerates. She has also reported on labour and corporate management issues in southeast Asia, particularly in the context of human rights and corporate social responsibility. In 2003, she published Business the Sony Way (John Wiley & Sons). In 2005, she published The People of China (Mason Crest Publishing) and The Economy of China (Mason Crest Publishing).

What others say

Shu Shin is ranked in Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 in all areas of her practice, including administrative and public law, civil liberties and human rights, community care, education and immigration.

"She has excellent judgement and is spot on with her succinct and excellent drafting. She truly has star quality. "

LEGAL 500 2020

“Intimidatingly clever, handles exceptionally complex, layered and novel points with ease.”

LEGAL 500, 2020

"She really goes above and beyond, works around the clock and is incredibly dedicated. It's astonishing how much energy she puts into cases."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

Administrative and Public Law

Shu Shin has an extensive public law practice with a strong human rights, equality and EU law focus. She acts for a broad range of individuals across key public law areas including community care, education, prison law, immigration and asylum, mental health and healthcare. She has significant experience in acting for NGOs as claimants and interveners in public interest litigation. Her public law casework has materially contributed to changes to policy and practice for groups of individuals across a broad range of areas of law, such as in the context of immigration detention, access to and provision of social care, housing and welfare benefits.

Notable Cases:

R (DA and Ors) v Secretary of State for Works and Pension [2019] UKSC 21, acting for the intervener Shelter in a challenge to the revised benefits cap as being unlawfully discriminatory against lone parents with children under two and children under two.

R (DS) v SSHD [2019] EWHC 3046 (Admin), acting in a successful test case challenge, securing a declaration that the Home Office’s policy, which prevented victims of trafficking from making requests for reconsideration of negative decisions, is unlawful in breach of common law fairness and the Article 4 positive duty to investigate situations of trafficking and complete accurate identification of victims of trafficking. This resulted in the Home Office amending its policy.

R (Medical Justice) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 2391 (Admin), intervening on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the nature and scope of the right of access to an effective remedy under Articles 3, 8 and 13 ECHR in the context of a challenge to the Home Secretary’s policy on the service of Notice of Removal Windows (‘RNW’).

R (ED) v Essex County Council (2019), acting in successful test case challenge to an unlawful local authority policy of diverting homeless children from suitable accommodation and support under the protective social care regime.

R (A and B) v Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and Lord Chancellor [2018] EWCA Civ 1534, challenging a rule preventing two victims of modern slavery from accessing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme because of historic unspent criminal convictions as being discriminatory in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR.

R (K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 2951 (Admin), acting in a successful test case challenge to the Home Secretary’s decision to cut subsistence payments to asylum-seeking victims of trafficking as discriminatory in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR. This resulted in the quashing of the decision and an order requiring repayment of monies unlawfully withheld to all affected victims, amounting to more than £1.5 million.

R (Against Borders for Children) v Secretary of State for Education (2018), acting for a group of concerned members of the public, in a challenge to the systemic collection of children's nationality and country of birth data as part of the school census as being in breach of data protection principles under EU and domestic law. Further to the litigation, the Education Secretary decided in May 2018 to cease collection of such data in future school census.

R (Medical Justice and 7 Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 2461 (Admin), acting for Medical Justice and two others in a successful judicial review on the legality of the use of the definition of torture under the UN Convention against Torture for the purposes of determining vulnerable adults at risk and unsuitable for immigration detention.

R (ATLEU) v the Lord Chancellor (2016), acting for the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) in a successful challenge to the failure of the Lord Chancellor to make sufficient legal aid provision for trafficking and modern slavery to pursue compensation claims against their traffickers. The Lord Chancellor agreed, as part of settlement, to carry out a review which resulted in the provision of specific funding for trafficking compensation claims.

R (TH and Ors) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1331 (Admin); [2016] EWCA Civ 815, acting for three of four test claimants in challenging the revised detained asylum process post-suspension of the DFT, establishing the scheme breached section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

R (JM and Ors) v SSHD [2015] EWHC 1331 (Admin); R (PU and Ors) v SSHD (20 July 2015), acting in test litigation challenging the lawfulness of the operation of the Detained Fast Track process in respect of potential victims of torture and trafficking. This litigation, directed at the unacceptable risks of unfairness inhering in the DFT decision-making process, led to the Immigration Minister's suspension of the DFT on 2 July 2015.

What others say

"She brings innovative ideas to the cases without losing sight of the client’s needs."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

“She knows how to put together a robust case with excellent evidence.”

LEGAL 500, 2020

"One of the best public law juniors around, she's ferociously hard-working and startlingly clever." "Astonishingly quick and really cares about her clients." "Very bright and committed."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2019

"She drafts very well and is extremely thorough and hard-working... She is incredibly tenacious and determined. She has expert knowledge in migrant rights issues and is committed to achieving the best outcome for clients."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2018

"An exceptionally clever barrister who is incredibly quick, and has excellent judgement and instincts. A totally safe pair of hands. She is always about five steps ahead of you, which can be disconcerting but helpful." "Passionate, committed and a real fighter." "Exemplary work ethic. Due to her expertise in a number of areas, she is able to advise on complex cases arising from the interrelationship between numerous areas of law."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2017

Equality and Discrimination

Shu Shin regularly represents claimants in public interest litigation and civil claims which involve discrimination and failure to comply with the equality duties. She acts for interveners in public interest litigation concerning discrimination in government policy, particularly in the context of welfare benefits. She is on the panel of junior counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Notable Cases:

Luton Community Housing Ltd v Durdana [2020] EWCA Civ 445, intervening on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the nature and scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty in the context of housing possession cases and the remedies for a breach of PSED.

R (DA and Ors) v Secretary of State for Works and Pension [2019] UKSC 21, acting for the intervener Shelter in a challenge to the revised benefits cap as being unlawfully discriminatory against lone parents with children under two and children under two.

R (A and B) v Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and Lord Chancellor [2018] EWCA Civ 1534, challenging a rule preventing two victims of modern slavery from accessing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme because of historic unspent criminal convictions as being discriminatory in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR.

R (K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 2951 (Admin), acting in a successful test case challenge to the Home Secretary’s decision to cut subsistence payments to asylum-seeking victims of trafficking as discriminatory in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR. This resulted in the quashing of the decision and an order requiring repayment of monies unlawfully withheld to all affected victims, amounting to more than £1.5 million.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Shu Shin has considerable experience in private law claims and associated claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 against public authorities and their contractors in the context of immigration detention, social care, education and healthcare law. She has particular expertise in claims relating to the forced separation of families both in the context of immigration detention and in the context of family court proceedings, and in historic abuse claims. Shu Shin regularly acts in claims brought under the Equality Act 2010 in respect of the provision of goods and services in the social care and education context. Shu Shin has also acted for individuals in claims against traffickers and companies in the supply chain.

Shu Shin has advised and regularly acted for individuals and organisations as applicants or Third Party Intervener / amicus curae in human rights claims before other national courts and international courts. In 2018 / 2019, she acted as a specialist legal advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its immigration detention inquiry.

Notable Cases:

MS (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 9, acting for the Aire Centre as the intervener in this important appeal concerning the extent to which decisions of the Competent Authority may be binding on a tribunal and the scope of the protective and investigative duties under Article 4 ECHR.

Sh.D and Ors v Greece and 6 other countries (App No 14165 /16), 13 June 2019, acting for the Intervener, State Watch, in respect of the failure of the Greek state to operate a system for registering and processing asylum claims made by unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Greece, resulting in the unlawful detention of children and the denial of child- specific support in breach of Articles 3, 5 and 8 ECHR.

R (AKE) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2019), acting in test case litigation on the compatibility of the immigration bail power with Article 5 ECHR (the right not to be arbitrarily detained) and Article 14 ECHR (protection against discrimination on grounds of disability, mental illness and lack of mental capacity). A substantial award of damages for false imprisonment was also recovered for the claimant.

VCL v United Kingdom (App No 77587/12) and AN v United Kingdom (App No 74603/12) acting as Third Party Intervener for Liberty in applications concerning the extent to which Article 4 ECHR requires member states to implement specific measures for the non-punishment of defendants who are recognised victims of trafficking.

R (AJS and AJU) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2018), acting for a father and daughter in a successful challenge to the Home Secretary's detention of AJS, and his forced separation from his daughter, with consequences of the daughter being at imminent risk of adoption and permanent separation. Substantial damages recovered including on Article 8 ECHR grounds.

Chowdury v Greece [2017] ECHR 300 acting for the Intervener Anti-Slavery International in a landmark victory establishing that the wide scope of the definition of forced labour for the purposes of Article 4 ECHR includes those who are controlled by their exploiters notwithstanding ability to have limited free movement.

XEM v Home Office [2016] EWHC 2622 (QB), successfully resisting an application to strike-out a false imprisonment and Article 4 claim brought on behalf of a victim of trafficking. This is the first case applying the guidance in BA (Nigeria) v the Home Office on strike out of private law claims raising similar issues to previous judicial review claims.

Home Office v VS [2015] EWCA 1142 acting for an age-disputed child in establishing the correct interpretation of Home Office policies relating to the detention and interviewing of asylum seeking children at port and the procedures that the Home Office is required to adopt in respect of age disputes.

R (AA) v SSHD [2013] UKSC 49, on whether the Home Secretary’s duty under section 55 Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 requires her to be satisfied of the objective fact of a child's age prior to exercising the power to detain. The relevant statutory detention powers have since been amended.

A v Essex County Council [2010] UKSC 33, on nature and ambit of right to education under Article 2 Protocol 1 for severely disabled children out of education for more than 18 months. The case was admitted by the European Court of Human Rights and subject to a friendly settlement.

What others say

"She has excellent judgement and is spot on with her succinct and excellent drafting. She truly has star quality. "

LEGAL 500 2020

"She really goes above and beyond, works around the clock and is incredibly dedicated. It's astonishing how much energy she puts into cases."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

"Her written work is really good and she is an effective advocate who is always looking to push boundaries."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2019

Community Care / Education

Community care and education law has always been a focus of her practice. Her work in advancing the rights of vulnerable children earned the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in 2012.  Her casework has influenced policy change at the local and central government levels in the areas of homelessness, financial support to children in need and their families, fair access to education funding for migrant care leavers and safeguards in age assessments. For example, in 2018 / 2019, Shu Shin's casework led to three London local authorities withdrawing their eligibility criteria for services for disabled children on grounds that the policies directly discriminated against certain cohorts of disabled children.

Shu Shin also regularly advises and supports NGOs on consultation responses to policy change and on amendments to draft legislation. She has been involved in this capacity in the Parliamentary processes for the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Immigration Act 2016, the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and the current Domestic Abuse Bill.

Notable Cases

R (DA and Ors) v Secretary of State for Works and Pension [2019] UKSC 21, acting for the intervener Shelter in a challenge to the revised benefits cap being unlawfully discriminatory against lone parents with children under two and children under two.

Samuels v Birmingham City Council [2019] UKSC 28, intervening on behalf of Shelter in a case examining the interrelationship between welfare benefits and homelessness legislation.

R (CXF) v Central Bedfordshire Council and Anr [2018] EWCA Civ 2852, on whether the duty to provide after-care services arise in respect of a mental health patient given temporary leave of absence from hospital.

R (K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 2951 (Admin), acting in a successful challenge quashing the Home Secretary’s decision to cut subsistence payments to asylum- seeking victims of trafficking as discriminatory without objective justification in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR. This resulted in an order to repay all affected victims for monies unlawfully withheld from them, amounting to more than £1.5 million.

R (C,T, M, U) v LB of Southwark [2016] EWCA Civ 707, intervening on behalf of Coram Children Legal Centre on the approach to be taken by local authorities to determining rates of subsistence pay for families subject to immigration control and the requirements under the Children Act 2004 duty to safeguard and promote children’s welfare.

Nzolameso v City of Westminster [2015] UKSC 22, intervening on behalf of Shelter on the nature and ambit of the duty to safeguard children's welfare under section 11, Children Act 2004 in the housing authority's discharge of homelessness duties under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.

R (MVN) v LB of Greenwich [2015] EWHC 1942 (Admin) on the correct approach to assessment of credibility in an age assessment of a child victim of trafficking.

R (PO and Ors) v LB of Newham [2014] EWHC 2561 (Admin), a successful challenge to the local authority's policy on setting subsistence rates for families subject to immigration control. The policy was withdrawn as a consequence of the judgment.

R (FZ) v LB of Croydon [2011] EWCA Civ 59, acting for an age disputed child in appeal establishing the test for permission in age assessment judicial review claims.

What others say

“Intimidatingly clever, handles exceptionally complex, layered and novel points with ease.”

LEGAL 500, 2020

"Her attention to detail is amazing and her work is perfect. She is possibly the most tenacious counsel I have worked with - her mind works at lightning speed. She really goes above and beyond for her clients and is incredibly dedicated."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

“Has broad expertise in education, human rights, community care and immigration law.”

LEGAL 500 2020

"She stands out as unparalleled in her knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm in all matters." "She is extremely thorough and has excellent attention to detail and great client care. She has a very human approach with particularly vulnerable and traumatised young clients."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK, 2019

"She is great at handling cases involving vulnerable children."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2019

"Works at break-neck speed and quickly gets to the nub of the issue."

LEGAL 500 2019

"She is a first-class barrister with an exemplary work ethic."

LEGAL 500 2019

"As soon as she came on board, the case was strengthened. With her it's not just about the law or helping one individual client; she's genuinely committed to the whole area and to getting civil society engaged on the issues."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2018

"Shu Shin is second to none in terms of work where there is overlap between social care duties and immigration law elements. Her knowledge of the law across different areas affecting clients is exceptional and means that action can be taken very quickly and practically."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2018

"She is very, very good." "She takes the points and is not fazed at all - she's tough."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2017

Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

Shu Shin is particularly well known for her expertise in the area of anti-trafficking and modern slavery. She acts for individuals in judicial review challenges to disputes over their status as victims of trafficking, the level of support and other rights to protection by the state. She also acts for individuals in private law claims for compensation against public authorities, companies and traffickers. She has been involved in key cases on the nature and scope of the prohibition against slavery under Article 4 ECHR both at the domestic and international levels.

During the Modern Slavery Act 2015, Shu Shin provided legal advice on the protection obligations of the UK to leading NGOs and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has also given written and oral evidence before the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and is regularly invited to speak on legal policy issues relating to modern slavery by leading NGOs in the UK and at the EU level. Shu Shin is part of the lawyers' network run by the EU's Group of Experts against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).

Notable Cases:

MS (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] UKSC 9, acting for the Aire Centre as the intervener in this important appeal concerning the extent to which decisions of the Competent Authority may be binding on a tribunal and the scope of the protective and investigative duties under Article 4 ECHR.

R (DS) v SSHD [2019] EWHC 3046 (Admin), acting in a successful test case challenge, securing a declaration that the Home Office’s policy, which prevented victims of trafficking from making requests for reconsideration of negative decisions, is unlawful in breach of common law fairness and the Article 4 positive duty to investigate situations of trafficking and complete accurate identification of victims of trafficking. This resulted in the Home Office amending its policy.

R (MN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 3268 (Admin) and R (IXU) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 12 (Admin), acting in linked test case appeals on the correct standard of proof in determining whether a person is a victim of trafficking under Articlem4 ECHR and related international trafficking obligations. A separate point of law arises In IXU relating to the approach to the assessment of credibility in a child victim case.

R (O and Anr) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 148 (Admin), challenging the systemic delays in the Competent Authority’s process for identifying victims of trafficking as being contrary to the UK’s international obligations to trafficked victims

R (A and B) v Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and Lord Chancellor [2018] EWCA Civ 1534, challenging a rule preventing two victims of modern slavery from accessing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme because of historic unspent criminal convictions as discriminatory in breach of Articles 4 and 14 ECHR.

VCL v United Kingdom (App No 77587/12) and AN v United Kingdom (App No 74603/12) acting as Third Party Intervener for Liberty in applications concerning the extent to which Article 4 ECHR requires member states to implement specific measures for the non-punishment of defendants who are recognised victims of trafficking.

R (XYL) v SSHD [2017] EWHC 773, successful unlawful detention claim establishing, as a principle, that detention of a victim of trafficking further to an NRM referral amounts to false imprisonment.

R v VSJ and ors [2017] EWCA Crim 36, acting for the intervener Anti-Slavery International on the compliance of the common law defence of duress with the UK's international obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking whose crimes are connected with their exploitation.

Chowdury v Greece [2017] ECHR 300 acting for the intervener Anti-Slavery International in a landmark case establishing the definition of forced labour for the purposes of Article 4 ECHR includes those who are controlled by their exploiters notwithstanding ability to have limited free movement and the positive obligations under Article 4 including a duty to identify and assist in victim recovery.

R v L and Ors [2013] EWCA Crim 991, acting for the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the correct approach of the criminal courts to determining an application for a stay of criminal proceedings for abuse of process in the case of a defendant whose crime is connected with his exploitation and trafficking.

Immigration and Asylum

Shu Shin combines her public law and private law expertise in her immigration and asylum practice. She is known in particular for acting for unaccompanied children, mentally ill and incapacitated adults and victims of torture and trafficking in complex individual and public interest litigation challenges relating to their treatment by the state.

She also acts for individuals in judicial review challenges to the decisions to certify their fresh claims for asylum or grant only an out of country appeal right. See for example, R (Zafar) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1217, successful judicial review challenge on behalf of a mentally ill victim of torture who was unlawfully included in the Detained Fast Track process, for whom the certification of his asylum claim was quashed and directed to be reconsidered afresh on grounds of procedural fairness. See also R (ZA) (Mauritius) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 2833 (Admin) acting for a claimant in successfully overturning the Home Secretary’s decision to certify an asylum seeker's claim as clearly unfounded because of a sufficiency of state protection if she was returned to Mauritius, where she feared ill-treatment from her relatives for abandoning her husband, who she had been forced to marry.

What others say

"Our go-to barrister on migrants' rights. A leading light in trafficking cases and excellent for unlawful detention appeals."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

 

International Human Rights Law

Shu Shin has experience advising states, organisations and individuals on matters concerning public international law and engaging in UN and regional special mechanisms. She has been involved in litigation at all levels of the UK domestic courts, the European Court of Human Rights. She has provided training in areas of her speciality to state bodies and organisations.

What others say

"She's very determined and not afraid to run novel points." "She is committed to her clients with every fibre of her being."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2020

"Her written work is really good and she is an effective advocate who is always looking to push boundaries."

CHAMBERS AND PARTNER UK 2019

"Competent particularly in cases with a complex crossover of trafficking/immigration issues."

LEGAL 500 2019

"Extremely thorough and hardworking with a knack for good drafting."

LEGAL 500 2017

Clinical Negligence & Personal Injury

Shu Shin has considerable experience in private law claims and associated claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 against public authorities and their contractors in the context of immigration detention, social care, education and healthcare law. She has particular experience in claims involving historic abuse and is known in particular for acting for unaccompanied children, mentally ill and incapacitated adults and victims of torture and trafficking in complex individual and public interest litigation challenges relating to their treatment by the state. 

Publications

Shu Shin is co-author of the forthcoming Legal Action Group publication, Migrant Support Handbook (forthcoming) She is also a contributing author to several key practitioners' texts, including Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, Law and Practice (Bloomsbury) (second edition forthcoming) and the forthcoming Child Migration: International Family and Immigration Laws (Bloomsbury). She is a contributing author to MacDonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, Lexis Nexis (10th Edition, forthcoming) and was previously a General Editor for the 9th Edition. She is a contributor to Legal Action Magazine’s Community Care Law Quarterly Update on legal developments in child rights.