“Maria is a legal aid star – magic circle service for her vulnerable and disenfranchised clients, a joy to work with, a ferocious litigator and a winner. In short, an inspiration.”
– Senior Counsel, Matrix Chambers.
I am a solicitor and supervisor within the Public Law and Immigration departments at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. In 2021 I was shortlisted for Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the Public Law category.
I have conduct of a broad range of claims for judicial review; challenging trafficking decisions, removals, detention and inadequate accommodation provided by the state. Recently I obtained an injunction requiring my client to be moved out of hotel accommodation where ongoing far-right and anti-immigration protests were causing serious deterioration of his mental health. In 2022 I secured a substantial settlement on behalf of three trafficking victims who had all been accommodated by the Secretary of State in unsuitable accommodation for a prolonged period of time. Many of the cases I have been involved in receive media coverage and I often provide comments to the press, most recently in The Guardian
I have extensive experience representing trafficking survivors, in particular victims of forced criminality and those caught up in county line trafficking. I am leading on a challenge to the new Public Order Disqualification policy, in which my clients are challenging the decisions to exclude them from protection and support, in breach of the UK’s obligations under Article 4 ECHR. I am regularly approached by NGOs for comments on trafficking matters, and have contributed to several research projects in relation to modern slavery and support of victims.
In 2021 I led a challenge to the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s secret policy of truncating screening interviews (DA & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3080 (Admin) (13 November 2020), which had led to large numbers of trafficking victims being removed under the old Dublin III regime, without their trafficking claims being investigated. Later, as a result of DA & Ors, the Secretary of State was compelled by the Court to return an individual who had been removed to France pursuant to the secret policy (AA (Sudan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1869 (Admin).
I am instructed by more than 15 families and a survivor of the 2021 Channel disaster, in which a dinghy sank between the UK and France, resulting in the biggest loss of life in the English Channel in more than three decades. As a result of correspondence and evidence presented to the Secretary of State for Transport, the government conceded that the incident requires an Article 2 compliant investigation.
I am regularly instructed in urgent removal cases, including charter flight removals.
I am driven by a desire to provide the best possible service to those most marginalised in our society, and am highly committed to securing justice on behalf of my clients.