William is regularly instructed in judicial review matters. He has particular experience of cases relating to human trafficking, detention powers and challenges to management of prisoners.
Featured Public Law cases
R (MN & IXU) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 1746;  H.R.L.R. 2
Two linked appeals against decisions of the Administrative Court regarding human trafficking. William Irwin represented the Secretary of State, led by Sir James Eadie QC. William represented the Secretary of State at first instance in both cases, in MN’s case led by Gwion Lewis of Landmark Chambers and in IXU without a leader.
The case principally concerned the standard of proof to be applied by the Secretary of State in cases concerning human trafficking. The process for identifying trafficking victims involves two decisions – the reasonable grounds (RGs) decision and the conclusive grounds (CGs) decision. The RGs decision is made on a low standard of proof; a person is entitled to a positive RGs decision if the Secretary of State suspects but cannot prove that that person is a victim of trafficking. The CGs decision is made on the balance of probabilities.
The Appellants (with whom the Interveners agreed) contended that it was unlawful to apply the civil standard of proof at the CGs stage. The Appellants and Interveners said that relevant international instruments – in particular the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ECAT), the EU Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU) and Article 4 ECHR.
The Court dismissed the Appellants’ challenge to the lawfulness of the standard of proof.
R (PMG) v Secretary of State for Justice (2021)
The Claimant, a senior member of a serious organized criminal gang, was released on licence from a lengthy sentence for GBH. She challenged the management of her licence conditions by her offender manager (probation officer).
The Claimant was subject to a standard licence condition which provided that the Claimant could only live at an address which had been approved by her offender manager. The Claimant wished to live with her daughter, K. Her offender manager declined to approve that address because the Claimant posed an indirect threat to her daughter; the Claimant’s involvement in organized crime gave rise to that threat.
The Claimant sought permission to challenge the offender manager’s decision. The Claimant claimed that the offender manager’s decision unlawfully placed too much weight on the Claimant’s denial of guilt. She also claimed that the decision was erroneous because there was no recent evidence of the Claimant being involved in organized crime.
Permission to seek judicial review was refused.
R (JK) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3303 (Admin)
The Claimant obtained an interim injunction requiring the Secretary of State to release him from immigration detention within seven days of the order.
The Claimant was a foreign national offender (a Ugandan national) and the subject of a deportation order. He had been granted accommodation in principle under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, but the pressure on accommodation supplies as a result of COVID-19 meant that there was a substantial delay in providing accommodation to the Claimant. In a reserved judgment the court granted interim relief.
R (CN) v Secretary of State for the Home Department,  11 WLUK 431
The Claimant sought declaratory relief from the Court that she was entitled to a British passport. William Irwin represented the Secretary of State.
The Claimant was a child who sought to renew her British passport. HM Passport Office declined to issue a new passport on the grounds that there were reasons to believe that she was not, in fact, entitled to a passport because of questions about her father’s immigration status.
By the date of the hearing before Eady J, the Secretary of State had agreed to reconsider the challenged decision. The Claimant maintained her claim for declaratory relief that she was entitled to a British passport and that she was a British citizen.
The court dismissed the claim, holding that in the circumstances it was not appropriate to grant declaratory relief.
R(LH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department,  EWHC 3457 (Admin)
The Claimant challenged the Secretary of State’s decision not to recognize him as a victim of human trafficking. William Irwin represented the Secretary of State. The Court allowed the challenge on the basis that the Secretary of State had not placed appropriate weight on new expert evidence.
R(DS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3046 (Admin);  Imm. A.R. 409
The Claimant challenged the Secretary of State’s policy regarding reconsideration of decisions about whether a person was or was not a victim of human trafficking. William Irwin represented the Secretary of State.
The Claimant was the subject of a negative trafficking decision by the Secretary of State. She wanted to the Secretary of State to reconsider that decision on the basis of fresh material. The Secretary of State relied upon her policy which provided that any fresh consideration of a person’s trafficking status would only be made if a first responder referred the case for reconsideration. The Court held that the Secretary of State’s policy fettered her discretion.