Legal 500 (2011)

Robin Tam QC

Robin Tam QC


Robin Tam has a general common law practice which has become particularly specialised in the fields of judicial review and administrative law, especially in immigration and asylum and in the interface between public law and private law. Before taking silk in 2006, he had been on the panels of Junior Counsel to the Crown since 1994, including the A Panel. Human rights have long been an important feature of his cases, particularly since the inception of the Human Rights Act. Recently, he has been prominently involved in litigation relating to control orders, "deportation with assurances" and the detention and deportation of foreign national prisoners.

What the Directories say

Leading silk for administrative and public law, Chambers and Partners 2012: "A safe pair of hands on all things national security-related"; "extremely detailed in his approach and thoroughly knowledgeable"; "also widely respected for his asylum and immigration expertise".

Leading silk for immigration, Chambers and Partners 2012: "Knows his stuff inside out and back to front"; "a fair and effective advocate"; "works in a collaborative way, whilst putting across his clients' views robustly".

Leading silk for administrative and public law, Legal 500 2011: "Really impressive".

Leading silk for immigration, Legal 500 2011: "Also recommended".



Notable Cases

  • R (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] UKSC 18, [2011] 2 WLR 1180: Whether a fact known to legal representatives at time of trial or an in-time appeal is capable of being a "new or newly discovered fact"; whether a "miscarriage of justice" for the purposes of statutory compensation is limited to circumstances in which conclusive proof of innocence is shown; whether a "miscarriage of justice" includes an unsafe conviction where, had the new evidence been available at the time of trial, a reasonable jury might or might not have convicted.

  • R (Lumba) v Home Secretary [2011] UKSC 12, [2011] 2 WLR 671: Whether a public law error in a decision to detain gives rise to a cause of action in tort for false imprisonment where the individual would have been detained in any event if the detention power had been lawfully exercised; whether such an individual is entitled to any more than nominal damages only.

  • Home Secretary v AP [2010] UKSC 24, [2011] 2 AC 1: Whether the effect of the control order curfew and social isolation amount to deprivation of liberty; whether the controlled person's family's difficulties in visiting a specified location are to be taken into account.

  • RB (Algeria) v Home Secretary [2009] UKHL 10, [2010] 2 AC 110: Whether limitation of right of appeal to points of law includes human rights points; whether closed evidence permissible in deportation proceedings; whether permissible to take into account assurances from foreign government when deciding whether deportee will be safe; whether likely unfairness of trial following deportation would amount to "flagrant breach" of fair trial rights; whether Article 1F(c) of Refugee Convention can only be invoked in relation to events taking place before refugee status recognised.

  • R (O'Brien and others) v Independent Assessor [2007] UKHL 10, [2007] 2 AC 312: Whether administrative compensation for loss of earnings can be reduced by notional necessary living expenses not incurred whilst in prison; whether assessment required to be consistent with erroneous previous assessment of linked applicant's compensation.

  • A and others v Home Secretary (No 2) [2005] UKHL 71, [2006] 2 AC 221: Whether general rule of evidence excluding evidence obtained by torture.

  • R (Khadir) v Home Secretary [2005] UKHL 39, [2006] 1 AC 207: Whether power to detain administratively was dependent on removal from UK being imminent; whether retrospective legislation can be applied to reverse decision in a case already determined by a court.

  • Wainwright v Home Office [2003] UKHL 53, [2004] 2 AC 406: Whether there exists a common law tort of privacy; scope of torts of intentionally-caused harm.

  • Rehman v Home Secretary [2001] UKHL 47, [2003] 1 AC 153: When can deportation be "conducive to the public good" and how should it be demonstrated.

  • Horvath v Home Secretary (2000, HL) [2001] 1 AC 489: Whether and when can a claim for asylum be based on acts of private citizens.


Asylum and Human Rights Appeals Handbook, March 2008, Oxford University Press (with Anna Kotzeva, Lucy Murray and Ian Burnett QC)