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Jamie Bell , Duncan Lewis , Public Law Solicitor , Harrow

Jamie Bell

Solicitor

Profile / Experience

Awards Recommendation for Jamie Bell
Legal 500

Jamie Bell is a Recommended Lawyer in The Legal 500, 2019 edition

Legal 500 2019 Edition.
Civil Liberties and Human Rights / London
I am a Solicitor in the Public Law and Immigration Department at Duncan Lewis. I have gained significant experience in a wide variety of complex and high profile cases since I started at the firm in August 2014. My commitment to clients is demonstrated by my willingness to take on cases at such short notice and at all hours so as to prevent the unlawful removal of asylum-seekers. I am experienced and willing to act under extreme time pressures to ensure that justice is achieved for my clients.

During my time at Duncan Lewis, I have demonstrated particular commitment to representing Afghan Claimants.

This began when I was an important part of the legal team that embarked upon a series of judicial review claims challenging returns to Afghanistan because of the deterioration in the country situation. As part of the generic challenge, I assisted with the preparation of over forty judicial review applications prior to charter flights on 10 March 2015 and 21 April 2015. As part of this litigation we obtained unprecedented orders granted ‘generic relief’, preventing the mass removals of Afghan nationals. These orders have prevented the detention and removal of hundreds of Afghans. Since this litigation, there have been no further chartered flights to Afghanistan and the number of forced removals to Afghanistan has significantly reduced.

Since then I have acted as a point of contact throughout the firm for questions about Afghanistan, providing training to the firm on the topic. I have previously spoken on behalf of Duncan Lewis Solicitors at an event at Parliament attended by 150 people, discussing the UK’s approach to Afghanistan as a country of asylum. I have written numerous articles for the Duncan Lewis website outlining my experiences working with Afghan clients and working in the litigation cases, and have further appeared on Russia Today discussing Afghanistan. I have spoken to various media organisations on the topic, including the BBC, The Independent, Canadian Broadcasting Committee, The Guardian and Huffington Post.

I continue to represent a significant number of Afghan nationals in their asylum, appeal and judicial review claims, with great success.

I have significant experience dealing with vulnerable clients, including those in detention, those suffering from complex psychological issues and victims of torture and trafficking. I have a particular specialism in challenging the detention of vulnerable clients and have achieved success securing their release and awards of damages for the client.

In October 2016, I visited the Calais ‘Jungle’ on two occasions, to give advice and support to unaccompanied refugee children in their applications to come to the UK under the ‘Dubs Amendment’, playing a leading role in the second visit in organising the taking of instructions and liaising with social workers.

I subsequently also took a leading role in the consequent litigation ZS (A Child) v SSHD, challenging the Government’s exclusive and irrational decision-making and policy with regards to the Dubs Amendment. I helped to coordinate the client care of 37 vulnerable minors, including travelling to France on two occasions to visit vulnerable child clients.

I am a Recommended Individual in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 for my work involving civil liberties and human rights.

I have spoken to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, BBC Radio Kent and BuzzFeed on the Dubs litigation, raising the profile of the challenge and emphasising the vital role played by legal aid in giving a voice to those most in need.

As well as Judicial Review matters, I have great experience representing asylum seekers in their initial asylum and subsequent appeal matters. I have demonstrated willingness to take whatever necessary steps to assist my clients to achieve refugee status in the United Kingdom. I have represented clients from a variety of different countries with diverse cases and issues, achieving great success.

Education

  • LLM at The University of Law: ‘An analysis of the current removals process for asylum seekers in the UK and an investigation into the future steps that may be taken in order to ease the process of removal’ (Distinction)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (LPC): (Distinction)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL): (Commendation)
  • English Literature BA Hons at the Royal Holloway University of London

Career

  • Solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, July 2017-present
  • Trainee Solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, July 2015-July 2017
  • Caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, August 2014 - July 2015

Testimonials


"Jamie has truly impressed during the short period of time that he has been a trainee solicitor in the Public Law Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. His commitment to his clients and the cause of publically funded work has been remarkable and he has worked all hours to ensure that justice is achieved for his clients".


"Jamie fights for his clients with a level of confidence, verve and skill that that would be impressive for an established solicitor. It is truly remarkable to find such qualities in someone who has not yet completed their training contract."


"Our team has been impressed by Jamie’s commitment to ensuring that these young Afghans do get access to justice and to advocate that their best interests are given primary consideration in the face of competing political agendas. We have appreciated the efforts he has undertaken to make sure that decisions about young Afghan’s cases are based on trustworthy evidence, a time-consuming and challenging task which has compelled him to both seek out relevant sources and to ensure that his information receives the relevant decision-makers and informs their practise".


"Jamie is the type of lawyer who will take 10 minutes out of his busy day to give an opinion, because of his passion to help those in need. Jamie’s tireless fight for the rights of asylum seekers, especially refugee children and unaccompanied minors, is inspiring, and his willingness to support organisations like ours shows he truly is in solidarity."


"I worked with Jamie on a vulnerable child asylum case involving significant and prolonged sexual abuse of our client. It would be fair to say that Jamie was both passionate and incredibly compassionate. He worked tirelessly, putting in hours and hours of work which he would not be compensated for and even came to the hearing to make sure that the client felt supported. The client (understandably) adored him. Jamie gave 110% which is difficult to do in these types of cases when funding is so limited. I think Jamie's work was exceptional and have no doubt that he will go very far."


"I have worked with Jamie on a number of cases involving victims of trafficking: one was an urgent removal, which concluded with client being granted limited leave to remain as a victim of trafficking – this was a really excellent result. It was by no means a straightforward case and Jamie handled all aspects – including the vulnerable client, the urgency and complex background to an incredibly high standard and from my point view way above the standard of a trainee solicitor. He is very dedicated and committed to his clients and this area of law."


"I have worked with Jamie in cases concerning national security (M2 v SSHD (SC/124/2014) and liberty of the subject (Cabral v SSHD); these were challenges to what the Supreme Court has described as "the radical step" of depriving persons of their British citizenship and challenges to unlawful detention by the executive. It is difficult to imagine issues and rights more fundamental than these. Jamie demonstrated an unrelenting drive to secure justice for his clients, assiduous preparation, and a keen alertness to the very substantial pitfalls that lie ahead for those seeking a remedy in a setting as opaque as SIAC. Many of the clients we have acted for have very substantial mental ill-health; Jamie’s sensitive approach to their position is hugely commendable. Jamie’s pursuit of justice is not narrowed to the law; his understanding of the international and wider structural context in which injustice occurs provides a rare and invaluable contribution to the conduct of his practice. Jamie is a precocious and astute young lawyer, with a drive that is seemingly indefatigable and focused at all times."


"I worked with Jamie on an asylum claim in the First Tier and Upper Tier Tribunal. The appeal was, to say the least, pretty unpromising. Jamie I thought was very tenacious in obtaining very good psychiatric and expert evidence, that gave us a claim- without it, we would not have had a case. I think he really therefore went the extra mile for his client. Frankly, many others would not have bothered. We won the appeal, which I thought was a truly fantastic result."


"I can honestly say that I’ve never before come across a solicitor who’s been as communicative, personable, well informed, reassuring and efficient as Jamie. Not only has he swiftly responded to our texts, phone messages and emails but has, on several occasions been disarmingly proactive in checking how MN was coping and updating us on his case. - Nothing appears to be an inconvenience and he seems to live and breathe those he represents. Having once driven down the 220 miles for a consultation at your Harrow office, [we] weren’t at all disappointed by his welcome, ability, efficiency, willingness to field our questions & concerns and give us all the time we needed. Jamie is still a trainee but he’s thirsting to learn and will appropriately refer, defer or research when necessary. It has meant a great deal to [the client] that Jamie remembers him personally and has the ability to recall the details of his case when we call. Jamie’s approach stands out a mile giving Duncan Lewis an excellent press!"


Notable Cases

Court of Appeal

HN and others Afghanistan (2016] EWCA Civ 123 - Jamie, as part of a team of caseworkers, took on 32 clients on a last-minute basis to submit applications for judicial review of their removal. Each client’s removal was prevented. This litigation created a legal precedent since on two occasions the Court of Appeal granted ‘generic relief’, preventing the removal of Afghan nationals not covered by the litigation. Since this litigation, there have been no further chartered flights to Afghanistan and the number of forced removals to Afghanistan has significantly reduced.


High Court

R (JM and ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department - A generic challenge into the failure of the SSHD to follow its policy with regards to vulnerable asylum applicants who had been placed in the detained fast-track system. Following this successful litigation, the DFT was suspended.


SL v Director of Legal Aid Casework [2015] EWHC 1466 Admin - Representing a vulnerable Claimant in a judicial review claim against the refusal of the Legal Aid Agency to grant her exceptional funding for her appeal against removal. Following a hearing in the Administrative Court, the decision to refuse exceptional funding was quashed and a decision was made to grant her legal aid funding.


R (OAO) Sino v SSHD [2015] EWHC 1831 (Admin)

- An unlawful detention claim with a complex factual matrix. The court found the Claimant to have been unlawfully detained for a period of 5 months, awarding the Claimant’s representatives 60% costs and giving important guidance for judges when assessing partial costs, noting that the struggles of legal aid firms and incentives for successful claims should be paramount when making this assessment.


Civil Court

IM (Nigeria) v SSHD [2013] - A high profile judicial review challenge against the removal of a vulnerable Claimant to Nigeria where he feared Boko Harem. A challenge was made on the basis that the Claimant, who had been on hunger strike would not be able to access sufficient medical care to assist with his medical and physical issues and that he would be at risk of destitution if returned. Following an expedited judicial review hearing, the Claimant was removed to Nigeria.



Membership & Accreditations

  • Amnesty International
  • Haldane Society

Interests

  • Football - I am a passionate supporter of Crystal Palace
  • Sports
  • Travelling
  • Listening to music

Articles

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