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Lewis Kett , Duncan Lewis , Public Law Solicitor , Harrow

Lewis Kett

Solicitor

Profile / Experience

Awards Recommendation for Lewis Kett

Lewis Kett is a Recommended Individual in The Legal 500, 2019 edition

Legal 500 2019 Edition.
Civil Liberties and Human Rights / London
I am a Solicitor in the Public Law Immigration Department at Duncan Lewis. I have extensive experience in a wide range of Judicial Review challenges, with a particular interest in refugee law and immigration detention.

My most recent work has been heavily based around challenges to both the lawfulness and conditions of immigration detention, including:
  • The lead challenge to the SSHD’s Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention policy, which was found to be unlawful in irrationally restricting the definition of torture so that only those who were tortured by state actors could be recognised as vulnerable and thus by considered for release.
  • The first successful challenge to the use of segregation in immigration detention.
I was also heavily involved in litigation in 2015/16 challenging removals to Afghanistan on the basis of the continued deteriorating country situation. The challenge led to a number of unprecedented orders preventing mass removals to the country by way of charter flights. The Home Office subsequently suspended using charter flights to Afghanistan following the litigation.

I have also successfully represented clients in a variety of asylum applications and appeals, who have been persecuted in their home countries. Examples include: former military interpreters, political protesters, victims of trafficking, and those fearing persecution due to their sexuality.

I recently won the Legal Aid Newcomer Award at the 2018 LALY Awards.

I was a finalist for the 2017 Junior Lawyer of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards where I was ‘Highly Commended’. Additionally, I am a Recommended Individual in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 for my Civil Liberties and Human Rights work.

In April 2016, I became the first trainee solicitor to be awarded the Times Lawyer of the Week for my work in obtaining refugee status for a former Afghan military interpreter who worked for the US army in Afghanistan for over seven years. As a result of the case, the Home Office subsequently updated their Afghan country guidance to specifically recognise interpreters as a particular risk category.

I am accredited as a Level 2 Supervisor under the Law Society’s Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme, leading my own mini-team within the firm’s Public Law department in Harrow.

Education

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (LPC), 2012: (Distinction)
  • LLB Honours at Durham University, 2011

Career

  • Admitted as a solicitor, July 2016
  • Duncan Lewis Solicitors, 2012 - present

Testimonials

Testimonies from barristers from leading Chambers "I am a public law and human rights barrister with considerable experience...I have recently been instructed by Lewis for the first time in a very important case challenging the removal of immigration detainees from association...Lewis' commitment to the client in question has been extraordinary...he battled with the Legal Aid Agency to get funding...and more impressively, he has been assiduous in seeking to gather evidence. He has shown a high level of skill for a junior lawyer."

 

"I have worked with Lewis Kett on a number of immigration detention cases...In Medical Justice and others v SSHD, and other immigration cases, Lewis has worked with drive, commitment, and attention to detail. His public law work in the field of immigration and asylum will have a wide-ranging and meaningful impact on an extremely vulnerable and hidden group within our society.”

 

“I have been working with Lewis on a complex case involving the use of segregation in immigration detention. I have consistently found him to be well organised, prompt in his responses, proactive in following up on action points, helpful in response to questions, and receptive to feedback and suggestions. He gives the impression of being on top of the outstanding issues in the case at any given time – even where these are many and varied – and is unfailingly polite and cheerful under pressure. He has been a pleasure to work with.”

 

“Lewis has an authority and maturity that is beyond his years. Lewis has an astute legal mind and develops adroit litigation strategies...His immaculate preparation of cases inspires confidence in both his clients and the Court, an immeasurable asset when pursuing important but difficult points pushing at the boundaries of the law. Lewis is an extremely impressive young lawyer, with a practice that reflects his exceptional ability but belies his years.”

Notable Cases

Court of Appeal
  • R (on the application of HN and SA) (Afghanistan) v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ 123 EWCA - Large group litigation challenging removals to Afghanistan on the basis of the continued deteriorating country situation which led to a number of unprecedented orders preventing mass removals to the country by way of charter flights.


  • ML (Morocco) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (C4/2016/4023) – permission to appeal granted in the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s decision to dismiss the unlawful detention claim of a stateless person from the region of Western Saharan. The Court are to consider the juridically relevant fact of statelessness to the question of the reasonableness of detention. Due to be heard in July 2018.
High Court
  • Hussein v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2018] EWHC 213 (Admin) – The lock-in regime at Brook House IRC, in which the SSHD permitted G4S to restrict detainees to their cells for up to 13 hours a day, was found to constitute indirect discrimination to Muslim detainees, contrary to Art 14 ECHR (read with Art 9 ECHR), who was forced to undertake some of their mandatory prayers during the lock-in regime next to unscreened and unsanitary toilets, and in potentially cramped conditions. The Court also found the SSHD had failed to have due regard to her section 149 duty under the Equality Act 2010 with regards to the lock-in regime at Brook House IRC. Additionally the Court found that the SSHD’s policy of over 10 years of allowing smoking inside Brook House and other privately-contracted IRCs was unlawful and contrary to the Health Act 2006.

  • Medical Justice + Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 2461 (Admin) - Lead solicitor for the 5 Duncan Lewis Claimants in successful challenge to the SSHD’s decision to restrict the definition of torture in the Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention policy so that only those tortured by State actors could be considered eligible for release due to vulnerability. The High Court found the distinction to be irrational and contrary to the Claimants’ overwhelming medical evidence that the identity of perpetrators of torture was irrelevant to the clinical needs of victims and their inherent risk of harm in immigration detention. On behalf of the Duncan Lewis Claimants, we obtained interim relief in November 2016 to revert back to the original definition of torture (to include those tortured by non-state actors) pending final outcome of proceedings thereby severely restricting the impact of the unlawful policy to potentially thousands of detainees.

  • Muasa, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 2267 (Admin) (27 July 2017) – First successful challenge to the use of segregation in immigration detention. An unauthorised period of segregation beyond 24 hours was found to be unlawful and in breach of Article 8 ECHR.

  • MA v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/2710/2017) – on-going challenge to the SSHD’s failure to instigate an Article 3 ECHR-compliant inquiry into practices and conditions at Brook House IRC following a BBC Panorama documentary in September 2017 in which our client was filmed being strangled by a detention officer.

Civil Court
  • R (on the application of HN and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (JR – scope - evidence)(IJR) [2015] UKUT 437 - Upper Tribunal determination - subject to Court of Appeal determination above.

  • Small, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 4510 (Admin) - Unlawful detention case in relation to the SSHSD’s power to re-detain following a grant of tribunal bail.

Membership & Accreditations

  • Level 2 Immigration & Asylum Scheme
  • ILPA

Interests

  • Running
  • Playing football
  • Middlesbrough FC supporter

Articles

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