Syed Naqvi is a Partner and Head of the firm’s Immigration Department. Syed is ranked as a leading lawyer in the Chambers and Partners legal directory. Syed was also featured in The Lawyer Magazine’s list of Top 100 UK lawyers for 2022. The list recognises lawyers in the UK from private practice, in-house and the Bar who have completed ground-breaking work in the previous 12 months.
Syed has a wealth of experience in advising individuals on asylum, trafficking, human rights and EEA/EUSS cases. Syed regularly appears as an advocate in both the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and has conduct of numerous appeals and Judicial Review claims in the Upper Tribunal, the Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Syed has particular expertise in using Judicial Review as a mechanism to address discriminatory policies and practices in the UK’s asylum and immigration system.
As an experienced litigator Syed has historically been involved in a number of important Judicial Review cases such as SF, R (on the application of) v SSHD  EWHC 2705 (Admin) (which was a successful Judicial Review test case against the Competent Authority’s finding that our client was not a victim of trafficking) and SSHD v Gedi AA/02649/2015 (which was a successful Judicial Review concerning whether the Secretary of State for the Home Department could issue a second deportation order once a first one had been successfully appealed).
Last year Syed issued Judicial Review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s policy of providing a restricted right of work to asylum applicants whose asylum claims had been delayed for 12 months or more. The High Court in this paradigm case of Cardona, R (On the application of SSHD  EWHC 2656 (Admin) found that the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s work policy for asylum seekers broke the law as it failed to properly consider the impact on children.
Syed acted for the charity, Migrant Rights Network, in their application to intervene in the landmark Court of Appeal case of Balajigari v SSHD  EWCA Civ 673. This case involved the refusal of Indefinite Leave to Remain in earnings discrepancy cases. The proposed intervention application had a real impact in shaping the final judgment of the Court of Appeal. Syed also successfully represented the appellant in another earnings discrepancy test case in the Court of Appeal: Tahir Yaseen (Pakistan) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 157.
In a further test case in the Court of Appeal: The Queen on the application of Mujahid  EWCA Civ 44, Syed had sought to widen in-country appeal rights to include applicants who had been granted time limited leave when they had applied and paid for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Syed has worked on the very important test case of Gedi, R (On the Application of) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 409. The Court of Appeal in this case declared that the Secretary of State for the Home Department had imposed curfew restrictions on an individual in circumstances where they did not have a legal power to do so.
Syed works in conjunction with our in-house crime department as well as organisations such as Medical Justice and Detention Action in halting unlawful removal and deportation actions. Syed’s case of London-born twins facing deportation to different countries was exclusively reported by the Guardian newspaper under the title ‘‘London-born twins face deportation to different countries.’’ This case was covered by most national newspapers and television news channels in the UK as well as international media outlets such as France24news. Syed’s work in obtaining an injunction to stop an escorted removal of a vulnerable client to the DRC and tireless work in halting the deportation of a client on the infamous ‘Jamaica 50’ Chartered flight also received widespread media coverage.
Syed has an inimitable insight and specialisation in national security/SIAC cases and was involved in the successful G3 SIAC case (15/12/2017 SC/140/2017) which was referred to in the Shameema Begum nationality deprivation SIAC appeal. Syed was also involved in the recent successful SIAC appeal in the C4 case (SC/168/2020). Syed continues to advise clients in nationality depravation and exclusion cases.
Syed has been at the forefront in assisting Afghan nationals fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban invasion. Syed has been actively involved in the Ukraine Advice Project and has provided pro-bono advice and assistance to a number of Ukrainian nationals and their family members under the Ukraine Family Scheme. Syed has advised the English Language Test Victims group and has successfully assisted a considerable number of clients impacted by the TOEIC visa scandal obtain redress through the courts.
Syed has represented a number of high profile clients including senior members of the deposed Egyptian government, prominent members of South Asian political parties, senior journalists and religious clerics fleeing persecution in their native countries.
Syed is often asked for comment by the media and has also provided his take on various other topical immigration law related news stories appearing in the Independent and the Guardian newspapers.
Syed often uses his strong links with NGOs and journalists to conduct campaigns and lobby the Parliament in order raise profile of his client’s issues. Syed has briefed the Government's Home Affairs Select Committee on immigration issues which resulted in the Home Affairs Select Committee questioning the Minister for Immigration. Syed is regularly called upon to give talks and seminars on the implications of Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme and recently presented a useful talk relating to Brexit and the EU Settlement Scheme at an event sponsored by the Mayor of London