REFUGEE CRISIS

Call from the Legal Community for Urgent Action

This statement calls for an urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis. Its signatories include retired judges, Queen’s Counsel, barristers, solicitors and law professors.

We believe that, as a matter of urgency:

  1. The UK should take a fair and proportionate share of refugees, both those already within the EU and those still outside it. The UK's present offer is deeply inadequate: in Lebanon alone, a country of 5 million, there are 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees.
  2. Safe and legal routes to the UK, as well as to the EU, need to be established. Permitting travel by ordinary means will do much to halt the hazardous boat traffic and will save lives. Such routes ought to include:
    1. Humanitarian visas – that is to say visas for the specific purpose of seeking asylum on arrival – issued in the country of departure or intended embarkation.
    2. Resettlement schemes, accepting refugees directly from the country of persecution or from neighbouring states.
    3. Humane family reunion policies, such as allowing child refugees in the UK to be joined by adult family members.
  3. Safe and legal routes within the EU, including the UK, should be established. For instance:
    1. A relocation scheme to take refugees from destitute conditions elsewhere in Europe;
    2. A suspension of the ‘Dublin’ system, save for the purpose of family reunification.
  4. There should be access to fair and thorough procedures to determine eligibility for international protection wherever it is sought.

International refugee law developed following the horrors of the Second World War because states, including the United Kingdom, recognised that people fleeing persecution have a moral and legal entitlement to protection.

But many member states of the European Union, including the UK, make it impossible for people to gain access to these rights by normal means of travel. They require regular visas conditioned on an early return home. There is no such thing at present as a visa for travel from refugee-producing countries such as Syria, Iraq, Eritrea or Afghanistan, permitting entry in order to claim asylum.

This situation, coupled with draconian penalties on airlines and ships which carry undocumented passengers, including those fleeing persecution, has created the conditions which drive individuals and families into the hands of people-smugglers, with unseaworthy and overloaded boats or suffocating lorries.

The EU’s ‘Dublin’ system, under which asylum-seekers are compelled to apply to the first member state in which they land, is dysfunctional. In certain member states, particularly at the EU’s periphery, reception conditions have collapsed and determination procedures are rudimentary.

Like many others, we consider that the UK Government’s offer to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East, spread over 5 years, is too low, too slow and too narrow.

357 Signatories

13 Retired Judges

  • Lord Phillips, former President of the Supreme Court and Senior Law Lord
  • Lord Steyn, former Law Lord
  • Lord Walker, former Justice of the Supreme Court and former Law Lord
  • Lord Woolf, former Law Lord
  • Sir Nicholas Bratza, former President of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Sir Henry Brooke, former Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Richard Buxton, former Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Anthony Hooper, former Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Alan Moses, former Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Stephen Sedley, former Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Nicholas Stadlen, former High Court Judge
  • Ann Power-Forde, former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Catriona Jarvis, former Judge of the Upper Tribunal

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105 Queen's Counsel

  • Lord Alex Carlile CBE QC, 9-12 Bell Yard Chambers
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Lord Ken Macdonald QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Robin Allen QC, Cloisters Chambers
  • Robert Anderson QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Alex Bailin QC, Matrix Chambers
  • David Bailey QC, 7 King’s Bench Walk
  • Ali Naseem Bajwa QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Joel Bennathan QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • David Bentley QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Henry Blaxland QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Paul Bowen QC, Brick Court Chambers
  • Nicholas Bowen QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Kirsty Brimelow QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Monica Carss-Frisk QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Peter Carter QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Richard Clayton QC, 4-5 Grays Inn Square
  • Tom de la Mare QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • John De Waal QC, Hardwicke Chambers
  • Jo Delahunty QC, 4 Paper Buildings
  • Marie Demetriou QC, Brick Court Chambers
  • Jasbir Dhillon QC, Brick Court Chambers
  • Rodney Dixon QC, Temple Garden Chambers
  • Zachary Douglas QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Richard Drabble QC, Landmark Chambers
  • Sarah Elliott QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Ben Emmerson QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Francis Fitzgibbon QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Michael Fordham QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Isabella Forshall QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Laurie Fransman QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Danny Friedman QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Jonathan Glasson QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Caspar Glyn QC, Cloisters
  • Andrew Green QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Sam Grodzinski QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Andrew Hall QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Stephanie Harrison QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Philip Havers QC, 1 Crown Office Row
  • John Hendy QC, Old Square Chambers
  • Javan Herberg QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Richard Hermer QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Henrietta Hill QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Anthony Hudson QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Andrew Hunter QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Raza Husain QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Jeremy Johnson QC, 5 Essex St Chambers
  • Sean Jones QC, 11KBW
  • Wayne Jordash QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Phillippa Kaufmann QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Hugo Keith QC, 3 Raymond Buildings Chambers
  • PJ Kirby QC, Hardwicke Chambers
  • Stephen Knafler QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Julian Knowles QC, Matrix Chambers
  • James Laddie QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers
  • Tom Linden QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Ian Macdonald QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Michael Mansfield QC, Mansfield Chambers
  • Angus McCullough QC, 1 Crown Office Row Chambers
  • Gavin Millar QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Tim Moloney QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Karon Monaghan QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Clare Montgomery QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Helen Mountfield QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Gordon Nardell QC, 39 Essex Street Chambers
  • Patrick O'Connor QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Aidan O'Neill QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Robin Oppenheim QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Tim Owen QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Ian Peddie QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • David Perry QC, 6 Kings Bench Walk Chambers
  • Tony Peto QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Karen Quinlivan QC, The Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Nicholas Randall QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Edward Rees QC (retired), Doughty Street Chambers
  • Geoffrey Robertson QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Matthew Ryder QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Pushpinder Saini QC, Blackstone Chambers
  • Christopher Sallon QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Jo Sidhu QC, 25 Bedford Row Chambers
  • Jessica Simor QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Hugh Southey QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Karen Steyn QC, 11 KBW
  • Paul Stinchcombe QC, 39 Essex Street Chambers
  • Joe Stone QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Anne Studd QC, 5 Essex Court
  • Mark Summers QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Leslie Thomas QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Rhodri Thompson QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Hugh Tomlinson QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Rebecca Trowler QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Jon Turner QC, Monckton Chambers
  • Ashley Underwood QC, Cornerstone Chambers
  • John Vater QC, Harcourt Chambers
  • Kieran Vaughan QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Adrian Waterman QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Aswini Weereratne QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Martin Westgate QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Jon Whitfield QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Marc Willers QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Heather Williams QC, Doughty Street Chambers
  • David Williams QC, 4 Paper Buildings
  • James Wood QC, Doughty Street Chambers

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32 Partners and Directors

  • Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC (Hon), Former Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department and Head of the Government Legal Service
  • David Emmerson OBE, Member Partner, TV Edwards
  • Noel Arnold, Director of Legal Practice, Coram Children's Legal Centre
  • Hamish Arnott, Partner, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
  • Liz Barratt, Partner, Bindmans LLP
  • Raju Bhatt, Partner, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
  • Stephanie Biden, Partner, Bates, Wells and Braithwaite
  • Jane Deighton, Partner, Deighton Pierce Glynn
  • Stephen Eccles, Partner, Pinney Talford LLP
  • Roger Gherson, Partner, Gherson
  • Polly Glynn, Partner, Deighton Pierce Glynn
  • Wesley Gryk, Partner, Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP
  • Michael Hanley, Partner, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Arta Heath, Managing Partner, Heath and Power Solicitors LLP
  • Toufique Hossain, Director, Duncan Lewis Solicitors
  • Alison Hunter, Partner, Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP
  • Anthony Julius, Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya
  • Nigel Leskin, Partner, Birnberg Peirce
  • Jawaid Luqmani, Partner, Luqmani Thompson & Partners
  • Denise McDowell, Director, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
  • Sarah McSherry, Partner, Imran Khan and Partners
  • Gulay Mehmet, Partner, Gulay Mehmet Solicitors
  • Barry O'Leary, Partner, Wesley Gryk Solicitors LLP
  • Gareth Peirce, Partner, Birnberg Peirce
  • Eileen Pembridge, Partner, Fisher Meredith Solicitors
  • Joseph Power, Partner, Heath and Power Solicitors LLP
  • Sue Prevezer QC, Joint Managing Partner, Quinn Emmanuel
  • Akhtar Raja, Partner, Quist Law
  • Mark Scott, Partner, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
  • James Sinclair Taylor, Partner, Russell-Cooke Solicitors
  • Alison Stanley, Partner, Bindmans LLP
  • Sue Willman, Partner, Deighton Pierce Glynn

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27 Professors of Law and International Migration

  • Professor Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, Visiting Professor of Law at University College London and Senior Consultant, Bindmans LLP
  • Professor Cees van Dam, Professor of International Business and Human Rights at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and Visiting Professor at King's College London.
  • Professor Davina Cooper, Professor of Law and Political Theory, University of Kent Law School
  • Professor Cathryn Costello, Associate Professor in International Human Rights and Refugee Law, University of Oxford
  • Professor Paul Craig, Professor in English Law, University of Oxford
  • Professor Heaven Crawley, Professor of International Migration, University of Coventry
  • Professor Gráinne de Búrca, Professor of Law, New York University Law School
  • Professor Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, Professor of Law and Anthropology, Brighton University
  • Professor Maria Drakopoulou, Professor of Law, University of Kent
  • Professor Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Amandine Garde, Professor of Law, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law, London School of Economics and Barrister, Matrix Chambers
  • Professor Geoff Gilbert, Professor of Law, University of South Wales and Joint Editor in Chief of International Journal of Refugee Law
  • Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law , All Souls College, University of Oxford
  • Professor Colin Harvey, Professor of Human Rights Law, Queen's University, Belfast
  • Professor James Hathaway, Professor of Law, University of Michigan
  • Professor Dora Kostakopoulou, Professor of European Law, Warwick University
  • Professor Helene Lambert, Professor of International Law, University of Westminster
  • Professor Aileen McColgan, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London and Barrister, Matrix Chambers
  • Professor Colm O'Cinneide, Professor of Human Rights Law, University College London
  • Professor Steven Peers, Professor of EU Law and Human Rights Law, Essex University
  • Professor Philippe Sands QC, Professor of International Law , Matrix Chambers
  • Professor Harm Schepel, Professor of Economic Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Professor Sally Sheldon, Professor of Medical Law and Ethics, University of Kent Law School
  • Professor James Sweeney, Professor of International Law, Lancaster University
  • Professor Lynn Welchman, Professor of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Professor Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London

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130 Barristers

  • Jonathan Cooper OBE, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Navita Atreya, Garden Court Chambers
  • Alexander Batesmith, Liverpool University
  • Kate Beattie, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Becket Bedford, No 5 Chambers
  • David Bedingfield, 4 Paper Buildings
  • Adrian Berry, Garden Court Chambers
  • Jessica Boyd, Blackstone Chambers
  • Nicola Braganza, Garden Court Chambers
  • Ruth Brander, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Christopher Brown, Matrix Chambers
  • Susan Bryant, Garden Court Chambers
  • Tim Buley, Landmark Chambers
  • Chris Buttler, Matrix Chambers
  • Catherine Callaghan, Blackstone Chambers
  • Joanne Cecil, Garden Court Chambers
  • S Chelvan, No 5 Chambers
  • David Chirico, 1 Pump Court
  • Ayesha Christie, Matrix Chambers
  • Gerard Clarke, Blackstone Chambers
  • Janet Cragg, Kenworthy's Chambers
  • Dr. Kathryn Cronin, Garden Court Chambers
  • Caroline E. Cross, Crown Office Row
  • Helen Curtis, Garden Court Chambers
  • Kerenza David, Blackstone Chambers
  • Anita Davies, Matrix Chambers
  • Nick De Marco, Blackstone Chambers
  • Graham Denholm, Landmark Chambers
  • Raj Desai, Matrix Chambers
  • Emma Dixon, Blackstone Chambers
  • Laura Dubinsky, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Tatyana Eatwell, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Rachel Francis, 1 Pump Court
  • Jared Ficklin, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Georgina Firth, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Eric Fripp, Lamb Buildings
  • Nicholas Gibson, Matrix Chambers
  • Alex Glassbrook, Temple Garden Chambers
  • Luis Gonzalez Garcia, Matrix Chambers
  • Andrew Green, Blackstone Chambers
  • Raza Halim, Garden Court Chambers
  • Sarah Hannett, Matrix Chambers
  • Ivan Hare, Blackstone Chambers
  • Alison Harvey (non-practising), ILPA
  • Phil Haywood, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Mark Henderson, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Tom Hickman, Blackstone Chambers
  • Nicola Higgins, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Patricia Hitchcock, Cloisters
  • Louise Hooper, Garden Court Chambers
  • Darryl Hutcheon, Matrix Chambers
  • Ben Jaffey, Blackstone Chambers
  • Shivani Jegarajah, Mansfield Chambers
  • Schona Jolly, Cloisters
  • Tristan Jones, Blackstone Chambers
  • Jessica Jones, Matrix Chambers
  • Mikhil Karnik, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Charlotte Kilroy, Doughty Street Chambers
  • James Kirk, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Samantha Knights, Matrix Chambers
  • Michelle Knorr, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Eesvan Krishnan, Blackstone Chambers
  • Helen Law, Matrix Chambers
  • Taimour Lay, Garden Court Chambers
  • Annabel Lee, 39 Essex Street Chambers
  • David Lemer, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Gemma Loughran, Garden Court Chambers
  • Paul Luckhurst, Blackstone Chambers
  • Stephen Lue, Garden Court Chambers
  • Jeannie Mackie, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Lucy Mair, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Alasdair Mackenzie, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Sara Mansoori, Matrix Chambers
  • Rachel Marcus, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Piers Marquis, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Lina Mattson, Hardwicke Chambers
  • Mark McDonald, Mansfield Chambers
  • Claire McGregor, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Steven McQuitty, the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Stuart McTaggart, the Bar of Northern Ireland
  • Ravi Mehta, Blackstone Chambers
  • Gráinne Mellon, Garden Court Chambers
  • Catherine Meredith, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Eric Metcalfe, Monckton Chambers
  • Joseph Middleton, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Rowena Moffat, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Stephanie Motz (non-practising)
  • Catriona Murdoch, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Fiona Murphy, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Blinne Ni Ghrálaigh, Matrix Chambers
  • Jesse Nichols, Doughty Street Chambers
  • John Nicholson, Kenworthy Chambers
  • Stephanie Palmer, Blackstone Chambers
  • Claire Physsas, Mansfield Chambers
  • Alison Pickup, Doughty Street Chambers
  • David Pievsky, Blackstone Chambers
  • Jason Pobjoy, Blackstone Chambers
  • Tim Potter, 4 Brick Court
  • Shaheen Rahman, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Tom Richards, Blackstone Chambers
  • Brian Richardson, Mansfield Chambers
  • Ellen Robertson, Temple Garden Chambers
  • Catherine Robinson, 1 Pump Court
  • Patrick Roche, Garden Court Chambers
  • Jana Sadla-Forster, Blackstone Chambers
  • Gerwyn Samuel, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Adam Sandell, Matrix Chambers
  • Sadat Sayeed, Garden Court Chambers
  • Mark Schwenk, Kenworthy Chambers
  • Duran Seddon, Garden Court Chambers
  • James Segan, Blackstone Chambers
  • Diya Sen Gupta, Blackstone Chambers
  • Harriet Short, 1 Pump Court
  • Peter Skelton, 1 Crown Office Row
  • Lorna Skinner, Matrix Chambers
  • Hannah Slarks, 11 Kings Bench Walk Chambers
  • Martha Spurrier, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Dan Squires, Matrix Chambers
  • Kate Stone, Garden Court Chambers
  • Azeem Suterwalla, Monckton Chambers
  • Katy Thorne, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Ronan Toal, Garden Court Chambers
  • Fraz Wahlah (non-practising), 1st Citizen Lawyers
  • John Walsh, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Frances Webber, Garden Court Chambers
  • Gemma White, Blackstone Chambers
  • Joanna Wilding, Garden Court Chambers
  • Nathalie Wilkins, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Sara Williams, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Elizabeth Woodcraft, Garden Court Chambers

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27 Solicitors

  • Robert Atkins
  • Tim Barnden, Bates, Wells and Braithewaite
  • Hannah Barnett, Mishcon de Reya
  • Diana Baxter, Wesley Gryk
  • Syd Bolton (non-practising)
  • Rachel Bradley, Quist Law
  • Charles Burnett, Gherson
  • Gina Clayton (non-practising), Chair, South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice
  • Sophie Colyer, Leigh Day
  • Sophie Freeman, Coram Children's Legal Centre
  • Eleanor Glass, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Vicky Guedalla (non-practising), formerly of Deighton Guedalla
  • Clare Hurst, Newcastle Law Centre
  • Natalie Loader, Mishcon de Reya
  • Chris McKendry, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Abel Manukyan, Fladgate Solictors
  • Anjuli Patel, Baker & Mckenzie
  • Krisha Prathepan, Duncan Lewis Solicitors
  • Chris Randall, Bates Wells Braithewaite
  • Nina Rathbone Pullen, Wilson Solicitors LLP and trustee of ILPA
  • Isaac Shaffer, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Chloe Spaven, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Chris Stanley, KRW Law LLP
  • Jovanka Stojsavljevic, Savic & Co Solicitors
  • Solange Valdez, Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens
  • Jennine Walker, Wilson Solicitors LLP
  • Liz Williams, Baker & Mckenzie

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23 Law Academics

  • Jeanette Ashton, Senior Lecturer in Law, Brighton University
  • Dr. Samia Bano, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Dr. Kate Bedford, Reader in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Brenna Bhandar, Senior Lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Dr. David Cantor, Director of the Refugee Law Initiative, University of London
  • Dr. Theodora A Christou, Teaching Associate, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Dr. Eleanor Curran, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Mark Dsouza, Lecturer in Law, Liverpool University
  • Dr. Nadine El-Enany, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
  • Dr. Luis Eslava, Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Nuno Ferreira, Senior Lecturer in Law, Liverpool University
  • Dr. Kate Grady, Lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Dr. Devika Hovell, Assistant Professor in Public International Law, London School of Economics
  • Dr. Sarah Keenan, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
  • Dr. Sara Kendall, Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Per Laleng, Senior Lecturer and Barrister, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Violeta Moreno-Lax, Lecturer in Law, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Dr. Yoriko Otomo, Lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Dr. Sinéad Ring, Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Andrew Sanger, Lecturer in Law, Newnham College, University of Cambridge
  • Dr. Anastasia Tataryn, Lecturer in Law, School of Law, Liverpool University
  • Dr. Sophie Vigneron, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School
  • Dr. Thanos Zartaloudis, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Kent Law School

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Institutional affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.