We are proud to announce that Public Law Director, Bahar Ata, has been shortlisted for the Legal Expert Award at the CILEx National Awards 2019. The awards ceremony will be presented on Thursday 5 September 2019 at Madame Tussauds, London. The CILEx National Awards ceremony will showcase and celebrate the excellent work, and achievements, of CILEx members and stakeholder partners.
Bahar Ata is a Fellow of the Chartered Institutes of Legal Executives and a Director within the Duncan Lewis Public Law and Immigration departments. Bahar has a niche practise in immigration and human rights judicial review claimant matters. She has experience in representing clients in unlawful detention cases, challenges against the Competent Authority in matters including trafficking, age assessments challenges and challenging removals to third countries under Dublin Regulations. Bahar possesses expert knowledge of the procedures involved within the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, having represented clients in matters where the Supreme Court’s decision changed the jurisprudence in relation to Immigration Rules in the UK.
Bahar has over ten years’ experience practising immigration and human rights law. She is a true advocate for human rights, demonstrated by her leadership in high-profile cases, and her commitment to assisting vulnerable members of society. She regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty for vulnerable individuals, giving them the voice they may otherwise lack through her practise. Her devotion to quality and excellence is highlighted by her involvement in numerous notable cases including the recent case of Hemmati & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 2122 where the Court of Appeal delivered a landmark judgment concerning the detention of asylum seekers under Dublin III Regulations.
Bahar is dedicated to representing vulnerable members of society, bringing countless successful challenges on behalf of victims of torture and human trafficking. Her practise predominately involves challenging the unlawful decisions of public authorities before the higher courts. A specialist in her field, Bahar represented clients in lead litigations challenging removals to Bulgaria and Hungary where the judgment of the High Court in Ibrahimi & Anor v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2049 is the only case of its kind with the Secretary of State accepting the High Court’s decision. A significant success thanks to Bahar’s exceptional level of technical knowledge in this area of law. Consequently, since 2016 there have been no removals to Hungary from the UK under these regulations. Bahar was also the lead lawyer representing Appellants before the Court of Appeal, challenging their detention under Article 28 of the Dublin III Regulations.
As head of Public Law and Immigration in Luton she supervises a team of dedicated lawyers and has expanded her initial team of 3 lawyers to a strong and dedicated team of 20. Since taking leadership of the Luton team it has become one of the fastest growing offices within the firm. She was promoted to lead the Immigration and Public Law department shortly after qualifying and currently is the only Legal Executive to hold the post of Director within Duncan Lewis.
Bahar’s astute business awareness is further shown by her instrumental involvement in setting up the firm’s dedicated bail team whose focus is to represent those detained under immigration powers as well as bring challenges against the Secretary of State for the Home Department for unlawful detention and false imprisonment claims. She and her team continue to challenge the Home Office’s conduct in respect to clients seeking bail and the failure to provide accommodation.
Bahar was recognised by the Legal 500 2019 edition as having ”…understanding of immigration issues, especially asylum support and EEA law, is second to none”. In addition to her impressive practise, Bahar sets an example to the next generation of lawyers by being the lead trainer for the Level 2 accreditation exam and providing regular training within her department, including judicial review training and sharing her expertise with her team.
“It is an absolute honour to be selected as a finalist for the second time for the CILEx legal expert award. I am grateful to my colleague and firm for their support and nominations.
“I am honoured to be working with alongside aspiring and dedicated lawyers and feel privileged to be working in a field where I can fulfil my aspirations of representing some of the most marginalised members of our society.”
The CILEx National Awards 2019 recognises individuals and teams that provide an exemplary service, advising and supporting those seeking access to justice. They celebrate the innovative recruitment and professional development practices that are widening access to a career in the legal profession to a more diverse audience.
The CILEx National Awards acknowledges those who are leading the way in an ever changing, forward thinking, professional legal services sector, whose work closely aligns to CILEx’s mission, vision and values.