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Graham Denholm

Call: 2001
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Practice Summary

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.


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).

General Public Law

Graham’s broader 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. His direct access work is limited primarily to providing immigration advice to businesses, professionals and high net worth individuals.

Additional Information


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


Graham holds an MA (Hons) (first class) in English from Glasgow University and an M.Phil in American literature from Cambridge University. He undertook the PGDL and BVC at Nottingham Law School. In 2015, Graham undertook CLT Training’s Certificate in Planning Law course.


“His drafting is excellent and he has superior knowledge in relation to immigration and detention claims.” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Immigration)

“His advocacy is brilliant…” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Immigration)

“…collaborative, very calm and measured… able to focus on the good points and ditch the bad points.” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Immigration)

“His work is always exceptionally thorough and considered and his advice is very balanced.” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Civil Liberties & Human Rights)

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

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

“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)


Detention under the Immigration Acts: Law and Practice, Oxford University Press, 2015, with Rory Dunlop, Consultant editor Lisa Giovannetti QC, Foreword by Lord Dyson MR. In his Foreword Lord Dyson described the work as “an essential addition to the library of anyone who practises in the field of the law of immigration”. It was reviewed on the influential Free Movement blog here.

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