Robin Tam QC

Year of Call: 1986 / Year of Silk: 2006

Practice Areas

Robin Tam QC

Year of Call: 1986 / Year of Silk: 2006

Practice Areas


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. More recently, he has been prominently involved in litigation relating to control orders, “deportation with assurances” and the detention and deportation of foreign national offenders. These areas of work lead to him being routinely briefed to appear in the higher courts, including regular appearances in the Supreme Court. He has extensive experience of closed material procedures. His familiarity with the handling of sensitive information within litigation, and with the demands of both government departments and courts in that context, has also been deployed in other contexts, including high-profile inquests and inquiries.


“very thorough, knowledgeable and an effective player”
“a very solid advocate”
“his manner with witnesses is very good and he’s a very deep thinker who understands strategy”
“He is extremely fair and sure-footed in court”
Chambers and Partners

“an excellent reputation in immigration and civil liberties judicial reviews”
“a brilliant advocate”
“strong experience in human rights related cases”
Legal 500

Professional Memberships

Administrative Law Bar Association
Personal Injuries Bar Association

The Litvinenko Inquiry

Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who died from Polonium poisoning in 2006.

Pham v Home Secretary [2015] UKSC 19, [2015] 1 WLR 1591

The Home Secretary deprived the appellant of his British citizenship, but the Vietnamese government – not acting in accordance with Vietnamese law – declined to accept that he was a Vietnamese national. Did this mean that he had been made stateless by the deprivation?

R (Francis) v Home Secretary [2014] EWCA Civ 718, [2015] 1 WLR 567

The Appellant was detained for deportation after a criminal court recommended that he be deported. Subsequent administrative detention reviews were legally flawed.

R (George) v Home Secretary [2014] UKSC 28, [2014] 1 WLR 1831

The Home Secretary signed a deportation order against the appellant, invalidating his previous leave to remain in the United Kingdom. He won his statutory appeal, and the Home Secretary later revoked the deportation order. Did that mean that his previous leave to remain automatically revived?

R (Elosta) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2013] EWHC 3397 (Admin), [2014] 1 WLR 239

The claimant was stopped at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 and was allowed to telephone his solicitor. But the police officers would not wait for his solicitor to arrive at the airport before beginning to question him. It would be a criminal offence for him to refuse to answer those questions. Did the officers have the power to question him after the presence of the solicitor had been requested and before his arrival?

R (AA (Afghanistan)) v Home Secretary [2013] UKSC 49, [2013] 1 WLR 2224

The appellant claimed to be a child, but a local authority assessed him to be an adult. The Home Secretary acted on the basis of that assessment and detained him for removal. Later, a different local authority assessed him to be a child. Had the Home Secretary’s duty under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 regarding the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children been breached when he was detained, so as to make his detention unlawful?

Bank Mellat v HM Treasury (No 2) [2013] UKSC 38, [2013] UKSC 39, [2014] AC 700

A financial sanctions measure against the appellant bank was examined by the High Court using procedures including a closed material procedure. When the appeal from that decision reached the Supreme Court, did the Supreme Court have the power to sit in closed session to examine the closed judgment and closed evidence?

B (Algeria) v Home Secretary [2013] UKSC 4, [2013] 1 WLR 435

The appellant was being deported on national security grounds, but (in defiance of an order of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission) had persistently refused to disclose his true identity, thwarting the Commission’s ability to properly determine his appeal. He was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, which was upheld on appeal by the Court of Appeal. Was the Court of Appeal’s approach to that appeal erroneous?

R (BB (Algeria)) v SIAC (No 2) [2012] EWCA Civ 1499, [2013] 1 WLR 1568

The appellant was being deported on national security grounds but was granted bail subject to a curfew. The national security case against him had not been disclosed to him, even by way of a gist. Was he entitled to such disclosure under Article 6 of the ECHR?

XX (Ethiopia) v Home Secretary [2012] EWCA Civ 742, [2013] QB 656

The appellant was being deported on national security grounds, but his appeal was dismissed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. Should SIAC have excluded any evidence which may have resulted from the alleged attendance by Security Service officers at secret detention facilities abroad?

Home Secretary v CB [2012] EWCA Civ 418, [2012] 1 WLR 3259

The Home Secretary made control orders against two Pakistani nationals. One voluntarily returned to Pakistan and the other was extradited to the United States. The control orders ceased to have practical effect and the High Court accordingly stayed the control order proceedings. Was the court entitled to do that when neither individual had exercised their right under the statute to request the discontinuance of the proceedings?

IR (Sri Lanka) v Home Secretary [2011] EWCA Civ 704, [2012] 1 WLR 232

The appellants had either been excluded or were being deported from the United Kingdom. They appealed to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which adopted a closed material procedure in hearing their cases. Did the procedure breach their rights under Article 8 of the ECHR?

Asylum and Human Rights Appeals Handbook

1st March 2008