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Lewis Kett , Duncan Lewis , Public Law Solicitor , Harrow

Lewis Kett

Solicitor

Profile / Experience

Awards Recommendation for Lewis Kett
Legal 500

Lewis is a Recommended Lawyer in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500.

Legal 500 2020 Edition.
Human Resources: Immigration, human rights, appeals & overstay / London

Lewis is a Recommended Lawyer in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500.

Legal 500 2020 Edition.
Civil Liberties & Human Rights / London

Lewis Kett 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 departments at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. 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:
  • A successful challenge to the Home Office's failure to instigate an Article 3 ECHR-compliant investigation into abuse at Brook House immigration removal centre (IRC), following a BBC undercover documentary. This case has since led to the institution of the first public inquiry into immigration detention.
  • Challenges to the regimes and cell conditions at Brook House and Colnbrook IRCs.
  • The 2017 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 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 recently won the Legal Aid Newcomer Award at the 2018 LALY Awards. I have twice been a finalist at the Law Society Excellence Awards (2017 - Junior Lawyer of the Year, Highly Commended, and 2019 - Human Rights Law, Shortlisted). Additionally, I am a Recommended Lawyer in the 2020 and 2019 editions of The Legal 500 for my work in the Civil Liberties and Human Rights category.

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.”

Awards

  • Recommended Individual - The Legal 500, 2020 and 2019 edition - Civil Liberties and Human Rights/London
  • Shortlisted – Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Category – Law Society Excellence Awards 2019
  • Shortlisted – Rising Star – British Legal Awards 2019
  • Winner - Legal Aid Newcomer Award - 2018 LALY Awards
  • Highly Commended - Junior Lawyer of the Year Category – Law Society Excellence Awards 2017
  • Times Lawyer of the Week - 21st April 2016 (the first trainee solicitor to receive the title)

Notable Cases

Court of Appeal
  • TM (Kenya), R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 784 - Court of Appeal gave further guidance on the required standards for the use of segregation in immigration detention, on appeal from the High Court’s 2017 judgment in Muasa.

  • 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
  • MA & BB v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 1523 (Admin) – A successful challenge against Home Secretary’s failure to institute an effective Article 3 ECHR-compliant investigation into abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC. The Court found that the Home Secretary’s proposed investigation by the PPO was not Article 3-compliant due to a lack of power to compel witnesses, lack of public hearings and for not guaranteeing sufficient legal representation for the victims. The case has led to the Home Secretary establishing a formal Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the abuse, for which Lewis will represent one of the key victims, MA.

  • IS (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 2700 (Admin) – The Court found that the detention under immigration powers of a young Bengali man, with clear mental health needs and evidence of suicidal intentions, was unlawful for 5 months. It was also found that managing the man’s suicide risk by placing him on constant watch for a continuous period of 75 days was an unlawful interference with his rights to physical and moral integrity under Article 8 ECHR.

  • 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.

  • Soltany + Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/2710/2017) – On-going challenge, following on from the case of Hussein, brought by a further three individuals to lock-in regime and cells conditions at Brook House IRC during 2017-2018, which arguments that they are in breach of the Detention Centre Rules, ECHR and Equality Act 2010. Permission granted in April 2019, final hearing in December 2019.

  • Kolandrek + Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/2194/2019) – On-going challenge to the lock-in regime and cell conditions at Colnbrook IRC, on a similar basis to Hussein and Soltany cases. Permission granted in August 2019, final hearing likely in early 2020.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Membership & Accreditations

  • Level 2 Immigration & Asylum Scheme
  • ILPA

Interests

  • Running
  • Playing football
  • Middlesbrough FC supporter

Articles

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