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Public law, Human Rights and EU law

Yaaser’s practice covers the breadth of public law issues, including civil liberties, commercial/regulatory, healthcare, environmental law, education, housing, social security, local government and immigration, asylum and citizenship claims. He has been appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel of Counsel. 

Recent cases include:

Yaaser is a contributor to Adult Social Care Law (2018, LAG) and Children Social Care Law (2018, LAG). He regularly contributes to academic discussion on the development of public law and has been published on several occasions in the Judicial Review and Public Law journals. He regularly gives talks on public law issues.

Yaaser is a member of ALBA, JUSTICE and he is a representative on the committee of the Young Public Law Lawyers’ Group.

Prior to joining Chambers, Yaaser worked at the following organisations:

  • Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School;
  • South African Human Rights Commission;
  • Liberty; and,
  • International Bar Association (Human Rights Institute). 

Civil liberties

Much of Yaaser’s work touches on civil liberties and human rights. This ranges from the right to protest to the right to be free from discrimination. He has extensive academic and practical experience on these matters, having worked at the Human Rights Clinic whilst at Harvard Law School, the South African Human Rights Commission, Liberty and the International Bar Association (Human Rights Institute). 

His recent cases include:

  • Jones and Joyce v Birmingham City Council and CC of Merseyside (SSHD intervening)(2018): Court of Appeal human rights challenge to the compatibility of “Gang Injunctions” and the new ASBO regime with the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the ECHR). The claimants argued for a declaration of incompatibility (s4 of the Human Rights Act 1998). Relying on cases such as R (McCann) v Manchester Crown Court [2003] 1 AC 787 (HL), it was claimed that the civil standard of proof expressly required by the legislation breached Article 6 ECHR. This case was covered on the BBC.
  • Sheffield City Council v Teal and Payne [2017] EWHC 2692 (QB): Committal application in the High Court with respect to alleged breaches of an injunction by Sheffield tree protestors. The Council brought proceedings against individuals who had continued to carry out direct action to prevent tree-felling notwithstanding an injunction prohibiting this. The case was in the national press, including in the Guardian.

  • Sheffield City Council v Fairhall [2017] EWHC 2121 (QB): Three-day High Court trial for an injunction against Sheffield tree protestors. The case involved direct action by protestors attempting to prevent the felling of trees on the highways in Sheffield. The case involved issues of trespass and nuisance on the public highway and Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly) ECHR. This case was widely covered in the national press, including on the BBC and ITV and in the Guardian

Yaaser continues to contribute to discussion on the development of civil liberties law and has had the following articles published in leading public law journals:

  • “The right to protest and direct action” [2017] JR 338 and, 

  • “The right to a fair trial in Tariq v Home Office: taking blind shots at a hidden target” [2012] JR 70. 

Energy, Infrastructure and Commercial 

Yaaser has been instructed in some very high profile claims in a broad range of areas, including fracking. 

His recent cases include:

  • R (Preston New Road Action Group) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla [2018] EWCA Civ 9: A Court of Appeal challenge to the first horizontal fracking wells in the UK. The claim involved, amongst other things, air quality and climate change issues and whether the Environmental Impact Assessment was flawed. The claimants argued that the Secretary of State had not properly taken into account the climate change effects of the proposed fracking. It was also argued that the Secretary of State was not sufficiently cautious about other safety issues.

  • R (Eider Power Reserve Ltd) v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2018): A High Court challenge to the payment structure of the electricity Capacity Market. The claim is based on unlawful discrimination, breach of A1P1 ECHR, legitimate expectations and State aid issues.

  • Vtesse v VO (2018): A challenge to the rating valuation of Vtesse’s fibre network, including whether BT’s network had received State aid.

  • R (Burton) v SSCLG and Cuadrilla (2017): A High Court challenge to a decision made in relation to fracking sites in Lancashire. A decision by the Secretary of State that a further inquiry should take place to reinvestigate highway safety issues was challenged as unlawful. 

  • R (Moore) v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 2736 (Admin): Judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to grant consent to a local authority to appropriate allotment land for redevelopment. The decision was challenged on the bases of irrationality, misdirection, A1P1 ECHR and legitimate expectations. Yaaser appeared in the High Court for the National Allotment Society (interested party). 

Healthcare

Yaaser has a keen interest in healthcare issues and his practice covers a whole range of related areas. This includes consent issues, whether NHS bodies have acted within their powers, contractual issues and human rights claims.

His recent cases include:

  • Medical tests and consent (2017): Involving a challenge to testing of certain disorders by NHS trusts and the manner in which they reveal the result. The claim involves issues of consent, the common law right of self-determination to make medical decisions and data protection. 

  • Evicting patients from hospital beds (2017): A claim to evict from hospital a patient that refused to leave – involving Article 8 ECHR issues (right to privacy). 

  • Contractual issues (2017): Based on the proper construction of a hospital’s lease with the relevant NHS body, the issue was whether the NHS body was able to sublet the property to a third party. This involved construction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 West Essex Primary Care Trust Property Transfer Scheme 2013. 

Yaaser is a contributor to Adult Social Care Law (2018, LAG) and Children Social Care Law (2018, LAG).

He has given talks on healthcare issues to leading firms and is also a contributor to Landmark’s Healthcare blog. His paper on freeing up beds in hospitals can be found here.

Social Security

Yaaser regularly advises on, and acts in, social security and benefits cases. He is currently involved in a high-profile challenge to Universal Credit and its effect on severely disabled persons.

His recent cases include:

  • R (TP and AR) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2018] EWHC 1474 (Admin): Successfully acted for the claimants in the first successfull challenege to Universal Credit. The case invovled a judicial review of Universal Credit and its discrimination against severely disabled persons contrary to Article 14 ECHR together with Article 1 Protocol 1 and Article 8 ECHR. This case has been widely covered in the national press, including in the Guardian, the Independent and the Mirror. On the facts of this case, the claimants suffered a significant decrease in entitlements following their transfer from legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

  • Universal credit case (2017): Instructed in relation to a local authority’s decision to transfer an individual from legacy benefits to Universal Credit. The transfer was triggered by his forced relocation to another property resulting in a significant reduction in his monthly benefits. The Secretary of State subsequently reversed its decision.   

  • EU pension entitlement (2017): Involving spousal entitlement to an EU pension. This centred on the meaning of Annex VIII of Regulation No 31 (EEC) laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. 

Education 

Yaaser has a substantial interest in education issues. He has been involved in challenges to decisions made by the Education and Skills Funding Agency as well as advising one of the largest suppliers of summer school education on their Tier 4 sponsor status.

He has given talks on education issues, including on Fundamental British Values. 

He was formerly a Govenor at his local school. 

Housing

Yaaser does a lot of housing work in both the County Courts and High Court. He has dealt with all types of challenges to decisions made under Part 6 (allocation of housing) and Part 7 (homelessness) of the Housing Act 1996. Yaaser brings particular expertise to this area, having cross-cutting experience in related property work on landlord and tenant disputes.

His recent cases include:

  • Kirkham v Royal Borough of Greenwich (2018): Housing Act appeal in relation to Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. 

  • R (Edward) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2017] EWHC 1112 (Admin): High Court committal hearing. The claimant sought permission to commit two of Greenwich’s officers for making a false statement of truth in a previous judicial review. 

  • R (Edward) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 3410 (Admin): High Court judicial review of decisions made with respect to housing allocation (Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996) and homelessness (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996). The case included arguments on procedural unfairness, irrationality, breach of a legitimate expectation, unlawful deviation from policy, breaches of the Equality Act 2010 and various breaches of the ECHR.

  • Ogunfeitimi v Royal Borough of Greenwich (2016): Housing Act appeal on whether the claimant was eligible for housing assistance. The claimant raised arguments on the interests of her children and Article 8 ECHR.

  • R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich (2016): High Court judicial review on whether a duty was owed to the claimant’s children as “children in need” (s17 of the Children Act 1989) and whether taking the accommodation away violated the claimant’s Article 8 ECHR right. 

Immigration, asylum and citizenship

Yaaser has appeared at all levels up to the Court of Appeal in asylum, immigration and citizenship cases. He has most recently appeared on behalf of Kurdish, Sierra Leonean and Ahmadi asylum seekers. Yaaser has also advised businesses on immigration sponsorship and Tier 4 issues.

His recent cases include:

  • R (Williams) v SSHD [2017] 1 WLR 3283: Two-day hearing in the Court of Appeal on whether requiring destitute children to pay a fee before obtaining British citizenship was ultra vires the primary legislation and/or a breach of Article 8 and/or 14 ECHR. The substantive hearing was preceded two weeks earlier by a preliminary hearing in the Court of Appeal. At this preliminary hearing, it was decided that the substantive hearing should go ahead notwithstanding that the claimant himself had now obtained citizenship.

  • R (Elmalhouf) v SSHD (2017): High Court claim involving an ex-diplomat from Libya (member of the International Maritime Organisation based in London), his immigration status, and whether the Secretary of State had wrongfully retained his and his family’s passports for several months. This case followed Estrada v Al-Juffali [2016] 3 WLR 243 and R v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p Bagga [1991] 1 QB 485.

  • CS (Morocco) v SSHD (2017): Appearing in the Upper Tribunal in a case involving Zambrano issues where a third country national parent of an EU citizen child engages in criminal conduct. 

Local Government 

Yaaser has worked for a number of local governments on a broad range of public law issues. This has involved ongoing advice and representation on long-standing issues as well as one-off assistance. 

His recent cases include: 

  • Acting for Sheffield City Council against tree protestors: Since March 2017, Yaaser has been advising and representing Sheffield City Council following direct action by protestors attempting to prevent the felling of trees on the highways. His assistance can be split into two phases:

    • There was, initially, an interim injunction application in the High Court. This was followed by a 3-day trial in the High Court on issues of trespass and nuisance on the public highway and Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly) ECHR. Following the hearing, an injunction was granted. This case was widely covered in the national press, including on the BBC and ITV and in the Guardian;

    • Yaaser continues to advise and act for Sheffield City Council following alleged breaches of the injunction by protestors. This has culminated in several committal applications in the High Court; proceedings have been brought against individuals who continue to carry out direct action to prevent tree-felling notwithstanding the injunction prohibiting this. This has been in the national press, including in the Guardian

  • R (Edward) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2017] EWHC 1112 (Admin): Yaaser acted for Greenwich in a High Court committal hearing. The claimant sought permission to commit two of Greenwich’s officers for making a false statement of truth in a previous judicial review. 

  • Assisting Wiltshire Council (2017): Yaaser was instructed by Wiltshire Council to assist defending a proposed judicial review of its complaints process and governance issues. 

  • R (Edward) v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2016] EWHC 3410 (Admin): Yaaser acted for Greenwich in a High Court judicial review of decisions made with respect to housing allocation (Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996) and homelessness (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996). The case included arguments on procedural unfairness, irrationality, breach of a legitimate expectation, unlawful deviation from policy, breaches of the Equality Act 2010 and various breaches of the ECHR.

  • Ogunfeitimi v Royal Borough of Greenwich (2016): Yaaser acted for Greenwich in a Housing Act appeal on whether the claimant was eligible for housing assistance. The claimant raised arguments on the interests of her children and Article 8 ECHR. 

  • R (Jalal) v Royal Borough of Greenwich (2016): Yaaser acted for Greenwich in a High Court judicial review on whether a duty was owed to the claimant’s children as “children in need” (s17 of the Children Act 1989) and whether taking the accommodation away violated the claimant’s Article 8 ECHR right. 

  • Civil restraint order: Yaaser has advised a local authority in relation to the merits and prospects of obtaining a civil restraint order against a particular individual. 

Animal welfare 

Yaaser is engaged in animal rights’ issues and has previously worked closely with Cruelty Free International. 

His recent cases include:

  • Greyhounds: Advising on the regime dealing with the welfare of greyhounds. 
  • Chimpanzees shipped to the UK: Instructed by an animal rights NGO in relation to an urgent judicial review against the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Secretary of State of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This was in relation to a decision to grant seven import permits for the import of seven chimpanzees from Georgia, USA to a zoo in Kent. The claim involved the UN Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species, the EU Regulation putting this into effect (Council Regulation 338/97) and the domestic legislation dealing with enforcement (Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997).