Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching




Sheona York is a qualified solicitor, appointed to the Kent Law Clinic in 2012 to a new post funded by a consortium of philanthropic funders, to undertake Clinic casework, teaching, research and policy work in immigration and asylum. The funding has been continued for another 3 years, Sheona’s post has now been made permanent, and she has been promoted to Reader. She supervises Clinical Option module and Immigration and Asylum Law module students in casework assessed for academic credit, and works with the student-organised Asylum and Immigration Team on wider immigration and asylum issues. She is a regular speaker at local public meetings on changes in immigration law and EU rights, hot topics in Kent, and at academic conferences on a widening range of immigration issues. Sheona will publish shortly on access to article 8 ECHR, removability of unlawful migrants and the fate of long-resident foreign prisoners. The challenge in immigration and asylum law is to continue to develop effective legal remedies for migrants, in the context of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ and the visibly increasing desperation for migrants in the UK and further afield.

Before joining the Clinic Sheona worked at Hammersmith & Fulham Community Law Centre for almost 30 years.  At the Law Centre Sheona carried out strategic litigation in housing (estate-based disrepair, homelessness), other public law challenges (Hammersmith Broadway, Fulham Power Station), asylum support (in 1996 under the National Assistance Act 1948 and in 2003 under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002) as well as important immigration cases, and the first legal case ever, anywhere, in any context, involving DNA fingerprinting, recently featured in the ITV docudrama Code of a Killer. From 2009 Sheona then worked as Principal Legal Officer at the Immigration Advisory Service, which until bankruptcy in 2011 was the second biggest not-for-profit legal aid provider of immigration and asylum advice in England and Wales, acting for around 10,000 clients every year. Besides her own legal cases, including a number of urgent judicial review injunctions against immigration removals, Sheona supervised 2 cases in the European Court of Justice, one of them, NS, being the largest case that that Court had dealt with, with 17 Member States intervening in the litigation.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

York, S. (2017). Deportation of Foreign Offenders – a critical look at the consequences of Maaouia and whether recourse to common-law principles might offer a solution. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law [Online] 31. Available at:
York, S. (2015). Immigration Control and the Place of Article 8 in the UK Courts - an update. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 29:289-307.
York, S. (2015). Revisiting removability in the 'hostile environment'. Birkbeck Law Review [Online] 3:227-257. Available at:
York, S. (2013). The end of legal aid in immigration: A barrier to access to justice for migrants and a decline in the rule of law. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 27:97-194.
York, S. (2010). Challenging 'Dublin' removals to Italy in the UK Courts. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 24.
York, S. and Fancott, N. (2008). Enforced destitution: impediments to return and access to section 4 'hard cases' support. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law 22:5-26.
Warren, R. and York, S. (2014). How children become failed asylum-seekers: Research report on the experiences of young unaccompanied asylum-seekers in Kent from 2006 to 2013, and how 'corrective remedies' have failed them. Kent Law School.
Conference or workshop item
York, S. (2016). Undesirable, Unreturnable and no effective remedy. in: Undesirable and Unreturnable: POlicy challenges around excluded asylum-seekers and other migrants suspected of serious criminality but who cannot be rmoved.
York, S. (2016). The unravelling of 'administrative justice' in immigration and asylum. in: Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference.
York, S. (2015). Rehabilitation or transportation - what now for 'home-grown' foreign national prisoners? in: Annual Conference of The Society of Legal Scholars.
York, S. (2015). Fresh claims for asylum since Rahimi - legal consequences and procedural barriers. in: Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference.
York, S. (2012). Seeking Refuge: a handbook for asylum-seeking women. [Online]. Rights of Women. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 12 [See all in KAR]


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Reported Cases

EW v SSHD [2010] EWCA Civ 508, on whether removal of an asylum-seeker to Italy under the Dublin Regulation would breach art 3 ECHR (we lost, but a recent case won on the evidence and arguments we put in 2010)

MS, AR & FW [2009] EWCA Civ 1310 on appeal from Rabah & others [2009] EWHC 1044 (Admin) on whether it was unlawful not to grant leave to remain to a person who is not foreseeably removable from the UK

McCarthy (European citizenship) [2011] EUECJ C-434/09 on whether a dual British/Irish citizen could avail herself of EU law without having exercised free movement
NS (European Union law) [2011] EUECJ C-411/1 (the CJEU hearing on whether removal of an asylum-seeker to Greece would breach his art 3 rights

WR (DRC) and AR (Afghanistan) [2006] EWCA Civ 1495, on appeal from Rahimi v SSHD [2005] EWHC 2838 (referred to Sheona by Kent Law Clinic!). This still set out the test of whether further submissions amount in law to a ‘fresh claim for asylum’ which will attract a right of appeal.

Abdulrahman Mohamed v The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham [2001] UKHL 57 on whether temporary accommodation for asylum-seekers could give rise to a local connection under homelessness law

S  & Ors, R (on the application of) v SSHD [2003] EWHC 1941 (Admin) (on whether a failure to grant asylum support for someone who ‘did not claim as soon as reasonably practicable’ would breach art 3 ECHR) ? one of the cases which led to Limbuela [2005] UKHL 66. During 2003 Hammersmith law Centre took fully 10% of the injunctions issued in the High Court on that issue.
[Following the Law Centre’s victory in  S & Ors [2006] EWCA civ 1157, on appeal from S & Ors [2006] EWHC 1111, I was interviewed by Eddie Mair on PM, and also on the 10 O’clock News, and Home Secretary David Blunkett reputedly asked: ‘Who are Hammersmith Law Centre?’]

1996: about 30 successful injunctions against LB Hammersmith & Fulham Council for destitute asylum-seekers under the National Assistance Act 1948: these injunctions contributed to national pressure eventually leading to the setting up of the National Asylum Support Service to provide accommodation and subsistence to all asylum-seekers.

1983-5 Sarbah v SSHD, unreported in any legal case reports, but the first legal case anywhere, in any context, using DNA fingerprinting, see and also Code of a Killer, ITV April 2015

1980’s: Council estate-wide litigation pursued by Hammersmith Law Centre forced the renovation of an entire estate (Fulham Court, London SW6)

1982 Injunction obtained against the Health and Safety Executive for allowing dangerous asbestos extraction from Fulham Power Station


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Last Updated: 13/10/2016