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Graham Denholm

Graham Denholm


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Graham is recognised as a leading junior barrister in immigration, civil liberties and human rights, and public and administrative law. He appears regularly in the Administrative Court, the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, and the Court of Appeal, and has conducted numerous cases before the First-tier and Upper Tribunals. Details of his practice are set out below. The current directories include the following commentary: 

Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2018, Immigration: “…unflappable. His drafting is excellent and he has superior knowledge in relation to immigration and detention claims. His advocacy is brilliant as well.” “He’s very collaborative, very calm and measured. He is able to focus on the good points and ditch the bad points.” 

Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2018, Civil Liberties & Human Rights: “His work is always exceptionally thorough and considered and his advice is very balanced.” “Graham researches thoroughly to get the right answers and the right judgment.” 

Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2018, Public & Administrative Law: “…extremely professional and efficient, and he combines a really thorough knowledge of the law with procedural insights.” 

Legal 500 2017, Immigration (Including Business Immigration): “An excellent barrister, whose advocacy, drafting and determination is first class.” 

Past comments have included the following:

  • one of the best claimants’ representatives for immigration detention” (Chambers & Partners 2017)

  • extremely careful and very proper in the way he presents cases” (Chambers & Partners 2017)

  • unrivalled knowledge of the complex legislation, policies and case law in the area of immigration detention” (Chambers & Partners 2016)

  • Peers praise him for his ability to untangle complicated, technical cases… very clever, very thorough and very hard-working” (Chambers & Partners 2016)

  • His strengths are his attention to detail and fantastic advocacy” (Legal 500, 2016


Graham has long been recognised as a leading practitioner in the field of immigration. His practice in this area extends from personal and business immigration, including EU free movement law, to complex asylum, human rights, and deportation cases. He has extensive experience of human rights cases involving children. He has a particular interest in the impact of Brexit on EU nationals in the UK and on those employing EU nationals.

Immigration Detention

Graham is well-known for his work challenging immigration detention and is regularly instructed in judicial review claims in this area, as well as false imprisonment claims in the County Court and High Court. He has appeared in many high profile cases, and is the co-author of the leading textbook on the topic: Detention under the Immigration Acts: Law and Practice (OUP, 2015) (see further under Publications). 

Public law

As well as immigration, Graham’s public law practice encompasses community care, education (including student funding), social security, and housing. 

Planning and environmental law

Graham accepts instructions across the range of chambers’ work in advisory matters, appeals, inquiries, judicial review claims and statutory review applications under s.288 TCPA 1990. Areas of particular interest include residential planning matters, gypsy and traveller cases, permitted development rights, planning enforcement, s.106 obligations, listed buildings, environmental impact assessment, and the Habitats Directive. 

Direct Access

Graham is accredited by the Bar Council for Direct Access, which means that, in appropriate cases, he is able to accept instructions directly from members of the public and businesses for the provision of advisory and advocacy services. From a client’s perspective, this can be a cost-effective way of working, as it removes a layer of professional fees. However, it is not appropriate in every case as, unlike solicitors, self-employed barristers cannot generally handle the day to day conduct of a case. Graham benefits from a wide network of solicitor and barrister contacts in his areas of expertise. Where Direct Access instruction is not appropriate, or where it is appropriate but more than one barrister may be needed, he can help coordinate a team of expert solicitors and/or barristers to ensure the highest quality advice and representation at all stages of a case. 


Administrative Law Bar Association
United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (UKELA)
Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association