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Hafsah Masood

Call: 2006
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Practice Summary

Hafsah specialises in public law with expertise across a range of areas, including immigration and asylum, EU law, human rights, and equality and discrimination law.

Hafsah also has a thriving civil practice covering private law claims against public authorities, professional negligence claims, and commercial and employment disputes.

Hafsah’s practice has a strong international element. She has experience of appeals in the Privy Council, and also undertakes work in a number of overseas jurisdictions, including the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Gibraltar. She has been admitted to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the British Virgin Islands.

Hafsah is on the Attorney General’s “B” Panel of Counsel.

More information on specific practice areas can be found under the ‘Expertise’ tab.

General

Hafsah has considerable experience of judicial review proceedings, acting for both claimants and defendants, across a range of areas.

Hafsah’s civil law expertise means that she has significant experience of cross-examination (including cross-examination of experts) and is well-placed to advise on issues of civil procedure and costs, and in damages claims against public authorities.

Immigration, asylum and nationality

Hafsah has significant experience in this area regularly appearing in the High Court, Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal in judicial review claims and appeals.

Her recent work includes:

Asylum support

  • R (AXG) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 56 (Admin) – challenge to SSHD’s policy on provision of financial support to asylum seekers in full board initial accommodation.
  • R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) [2021] EWHC 1690 (Admin) – judicial review on whether the SSHD was obliged to provide accommodation to destitute failed asylum seekers during the COVID pandemic (with Alan Payne QC).
  • R (DK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (ongoing) – judicial review challenge to the SSHD’s system and policies for allocation and provision of initial accommodation to pregnant and new mother asylum seekers under s.4/s.95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Family and private life

  • Acting for the SSHD in a judicial review claim challenging a 10-year delay in deciding an application for leave which, it is alleged, breached the applicants Article 8 rights (with David Blundell QC).
  • Acted for the SSHD in a challenge to the 10-year route to settlement and policy guidance on the grant of ILR outside the Rules for applicants qualifying under para 276ADE(1)(v) (with David Blundell QC).
  • NA (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ [2021] EWCA Civ 953 – appeal concerning the correct approach to the question of reasonableness para 276ADE(1)(iv)/s117B(6) following the Supreme Court’s decision in KO (Nigeria).
  • BAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 1428 – appeal concerning the threshold for establishing a breach of Article 8 ECHR in the Dublin III context.

EU law (including Dublin III, EUSS, free movement of persons)

  • Advising and acting in challenges to the SSHD’s policies and decision making under the EUSS.
  • Advising and appearing in claim challenging decisions by the SSHD under the Dublin III Regulation, including: R (AK) v SSHD (2021) (procedural fairness/duty to investigate); R (BAA & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dublin III: judicial review; SoS’s duties) [2020] UKUT 227 (IAC) (a significant decision on Article 17(2) of Dublin III); R (HN & MN) v SSHD (2019) (on the default acceptance provisions); R (HA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dublin III; Articles 9 and 17.2) [2018] UKUT 297 (concerning Articles 9 and 17(2) of Dublin III).
  • BAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 1428 – a significant decision on Article 17(2) of Dublin III, and the threshold for establishing a breach of Article 8 ECHR in the Dublin III context (with Rory Dunlop QC).
  • Mendes v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2021) – acting for the SSHD in a multi-day appeal against a deportation decision taken under the EEA Regulations, involving allegations of procedural unfairness and breaches of policy.
  • R (MS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department(2019) – judicial review claim about the extent of the state’s duty under the EU trafficking directive to support a victim of human trafficking during criminal proceedings.

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy

  • Acting in several claims arising from decision making during the evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021, and decisions taken under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

Detention

  • Advising and acting for claimants in several unlawful detention/false imprisonment claims.
  • R (Soltany & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 2291 (Admin) – judicial review challenge to the regime and conditions at Brook House IRC (with Thomas Roe QC)
  • R (DM (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 2576 (QB) – judicial review claim challenging the lawfulness of detention pending deportation, and a delay in provision of s.4 accommodation.
  • R (Hussein & Rehman) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 213 (Admin): judicial review challenge to the regime, conditions and smoking policy at Brook House IRC (with Thomas Roe QC).

Other (including asylum, nationality, and the points-based system)

  • R (Diamond) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 3313 (Admin) – judicial review challenge to the SSHD’s refusal to issue a British passport, where there was a dispute about the applicant’s date of birth.
  • Rauf v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 1276 – appeal concerning the scope of the Patel principle of fairness, and whether the Upper Tribunal was right to permit the SSHD to withdraw a concession made at first instance.
  • SB (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 160 – appeal concerning the First-tier Tribunal’s approach to evidence and assessment of credibility in an asylum appeal.
  • R (Rahman) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 2952 (Admin) – judicial review concerning the interpretation of Art.8ZA of the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000, and whether a notice of curtailment had been given where the letter had been sent to an old postal address and returned to the Home Office.
  • R (JS and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (litigation friend – child) [2019] UKUT 64 – guidance case on the Upper Tribunal’s power to appoint a litigation friend for children in judicial review proceedings.
  • MS (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1258 – appeal concerning the First-tier Tribunal’s assessment of risk in an asylum claim by a Christian convert.

Human rights and civil liberties

Much of Hafsah’s work touches on civil liberties and human rights.

Her recent notable work includes:

  • Acting for HMCTS in a judicial review challenge to its guidance on when court users can bring kirpans in court buildings, including allegations of a breach Articles 9, 8 and 14 of the ECHR.
  • R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) [2021] EWHC 1690 (Admin) – on whether Articles 2, 3 and/or 8 ECHR imposed a positive obligation on the state to accommodate failed asylum seekers during the COVID pandemic, in order to protect the health/life of individual asylum seekers and/or the public at large (with Alan Payne QC).
  • BAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 1428 – on the threshold for establishing a breach of Article 8 ECHR in the Dublin III context, and the circumstances in which evidence not before the decision maker is admissible in judicial review proceedings alleging a breach of Convention rights (with Rory Dunlop QC).
  • R (Soltany & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 2291 (Admin) – challenge to the regime and conditions at Brook House IRC including on the grounds that they breached detainees’ rights under Articles 8, 9 and 14 ECHR (with Thomas Roe QC).

Hafsah also has significant experience of damages claims under the Human Rights Act 1998, for beach of Convention rights.

Equality and discrimination law

Hafsah has considerable experience of claims under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998 across a range of subject areas and in a number of different forums.

Recent and ongoing cases include:

  • Acting (for employers and employees) in several disability, race and religious discrimination claims in the employment tribunal.
  • Acting for HMCTS in a judicial review challenge to its guidance on kirpans in court buildings, including on the grounds that it is discriminatory.
  • Acted for DfT in a judicial review claim challenging the DVLA’s policy regarding the need for original ID documents in support of a licence application, on the basis that it is discriminatory.
  • R (DK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (ongoing) – judicial review challenge to the SSHD’s system and policies for allocation and provision of initial accommodation to pregnant and new mother asylum seekers including on the basis that the policies are discriminatory, and there has been a failure to discharge the public sector equality duty.
  • Acted for the claimants in a judicial review challenge to provisions of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, including a challenge to the tier 2 rule requiring pubs and bars to close unless alcohol was served as part of a “table meal” on the grounds that the rule was discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010 and contrary to Article 14 ECHR (with David Lock QC).
  • R (Soltany & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 2291 (Admin) – judicial review challenge to the regime and conditions at Brook House IRC. It was alleged the ‘lock-in regime’, together with the feature of an in-room toilet, discriminated against Muslim detainees who were required to perform obligatory prayers near a toilet (with Thomas Roe QC).
  • R (Hussein & Rehman) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 213 (Admin) – judicial review challenge to the regime and conditions at Brook House IRC, including a claim that there had been a breach of the public sector equality duty.

Hafsah is the co-author of the practitioner text The Protections for Religious Rights: Law and Practice (OUP) which includes a comprehensive review of the protections for religious rights, including an examination of relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and other applicable domestic and international instruments.

International Law

Hafsah advises and has appeared (as junior and sole counsel) in appeals in the Privy Council in constitutional, public law, and criminal cases.

She also undertakes work in a number of overseas jurisdictions, including Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar. In 2021, she was admitted to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the British Virgin Islands.

Her cases include:

  • Mauritius Shipping Corporation Ltd v The Employment Relations Tribunal [2019] UKPC 42 (Privy Council) – sole counsel for the respondent Tribunal in an appeal from Mauritius, arising from a judicial review challenge to the Tribunal’s decision in respect of the appellant’s large scale reduction of its workforce.
  • Smart & Others v the Judicial and Legal Service Commission [2019] UKPC 35 (Privy Council) – junior counsel for the state in an appeal from Trinidad and Tobago concerning the legality of the process adopted by the respondent Commission in making appointments to the Judicial and Legal Service (led by Howard Stephens QC).
  • McLeod v The Queen [2017] UKPC 1 – sole counsel in a criminal appeal from Jamaica alleging a denial of due process by reason of the incompetence of defence counsel.
  • Maharaj v Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago [2016] UKPC 37 – junior counsel for the state in an appeal from Trinidad and Tobago by a former judge seeking constitutional damages, having won his judicial review claim challenging Cabinet’s refusal to re-appoint him for a further term because of allegations in relation to his competence (led by Thomas Roe QC).

Employment Law

Hafsah’s practice encompasses all aspects of employment law. She acts for both employers and employees in the private and public sector.

In addition to her domestic work, Hafsah acts and advises in employment claims abroad, and has expertise in advising on conflicts of laws and jurisdiction issues arising in the employment context. Recent examples of her international work include:

  • Acting for and advising an employer in a claim for unfair dismissal and bullying under the Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014 (Gibraltar).
  • Representing a large gaming company in a harassment and bullying claim at a multi-day hearing in the Employment Tribunal in Gibraltar.
  • Appeal from Mauritius arising from a large-scale reduction of workforce by a state-owned shipping company (Privy Council, Mauritius).
  • Appeal arising from a challenge to the legality of the process for certain public sector appointments (Privy Council, Trinidad and Tobago).
  • Advising on the legality of central government’s involvement in the procurement process for garbage collection services for municipalities (Trinidad and Tobago).

Professional Negligence

Hafsah advises and acts in negligence claims against a range of professionals, including legal practitioners, planning consultants, construction professionals and conveyancers.

Her recent work includes:

  • A claim against a planning consultant in respect of the proposed development of onshore wind turbines.
  • A claim against a solicitor’s firm arising out of its conduct of a property dispute.
  • A claim against a solicitor’s firm arising out of immigration advice and services in relation to an application for extension of leave.

Publications

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: Contribution to Judicial Review and Public Law (2018) Judicial Review 65-82

Co-author of The Protections for Religious Rights: Law and Practice (OUP, 2013)

Qualifications

BA (Law), Worcester College, University of Oxford (2001-2004)

LLM in Public International Law, London School of Economics (2004-2005). Awarded the prestigious Georg Schwarzenger in International Law and the Lauterpacht/Higgins prize for best performance in Public International Law.

Recommendations

“I know her work, and she’s very easy to work with. She is very competent, very good. I have not seen her advocacy, but she is very helpful and feeding me exactly what I need to advocate a case.” (Research for Chambers UK Bar 2022)

Languages

Hafsah also speaks Urdu and Punjabi.

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