Dr S Chelvan

His expertise in sexual identity related asylum claims is world renowned

Legal 500 - 2022

  • Year of Call 1999



'To be the mouthpiece for those who know the words, but have no voice’  - Dr S Chelvan joined Chambers as Head of Immigration and Public Law on 30 November 2020.

Chelvan is a globally recognised legal expert on refugee and human rights claims based on sexual or gender identity and expression.  He is instructed on cases in the UK up to and including the Supreme Court, and the Strasbourg Court, and is specifically renowned to adopt a symbiotic approach to spearhead strategic litigation, academic research, and policy development in refugee and migration law. 

Chelvan has practised in the field of LGBT+ asylum since 2001 and has earned a reputation for being the leading legal expert in the UK, spearheading some of the leading cases since 2005 as well as providing consultation to the United Nations, the IOM, national governmental departments, lawyers, and NGOs. Chelvan has been ranked  in Legal 500 since 2017 in Band 1 (Immigration, London Bar) -  “His expertise in sexual identity related asylum claims is world renowned” (2022).  He has been ranked as a Leading Junior in Immigration in both Legal 500 and Chambers UK Bar since 2006. Attitude magazine  awaded him a 2018 Pride award, and have ranked him in their Banking, Finanical and Legal category as a 2022 LGBTQ Trailblazer. In January 2022, Chelvan was elected the Inaugural  Chair of the Executive Committee of the Association of British Tamil Lawyers ('ABTL'), a new professional support organisation for Tamil lawyers, and those who seek to enter the legal profession.  Chelvan  additionally serves as a Senior Member of the Advisory Committee of the ABTL.

Chelvan holds a First in Politics and Law from the University of Southampton (1998), an LLM from Harvard Law School (2001, Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar), and was awarded a PhD in Law from King’s College London in June 2019 - his thesis was entitled: ‘At the End of the Rainbow: Where Next for the Queer Refugee?’. He tweets from @S_Chelvan

Chelvan has provided training to Judges, lawyers, NGOs,activists and those seeking asylum.  His public speaking has earned him an international reputation as a charismatic and engaging speaker - examples range from giving the 11th Stonewall Lecture in February 2013 highlighting to a national audience for the first time the extreme lengths gay asylum-seekers were taking to prove their sexual identity, through to giving intensive legal training on 18 and 25 November 2020 to students, lawyers, NGOs, UNHCR colleagues, and Adjudicators based in Hong Kong and the region on his Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm ('DSSH') model and LGBT+ asylum (invitation of UNHCR Hong Kong and Hong Kong University).  On 23 February 2022 having previously filed  written evidence  Chelvan gave oral evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee on how the UK aproaches Equality and Asylum Claims and what impact the Nationality and Borders Biill will have on asylum applicants, specifically from an LGBT+ Asylum and Human Rights Perspective.

Chelvan has published extensively and is regularly interviewed by national and international media outlets (see Publications and Media Section below).  




Having practiced in the field of LGBT+ asylum since 2001, Chelvan has been recognised as the leading legal expert by the UK’s Legal Directories since 2006, spearheading some of the leading cases since 2005 (Band 1 in Immigration Legal 500 since 2017). Since 2010, Chelvan has been consulted as an internationally recognised expert by the United Nations, the IOM, national governmental departments, lawyers and NGOs.

His Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm (‘DSSH’) model, was created by Chelvan in 2011 as a positive tool to determine an LGBT+ asylum claim. The model is used globally, and has been endorsed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees since 2012 [62], EASO, the IOM, the IARLJ and used by various governments, including the UK’s Home Office since 2015 (see CREDO2, 2015, Chapter XI). Newsweek Europe in 2014 described the model as ‘a simple starting point that cuts across borders’.

In supporting his 2018 Attitude Magazine Pride award, the Nigerian lesbian activist Aderonke Apata, who successfully gained asylum after a 13 year battle after Chelvan was instructed, commented, ‘the way that he fought .. and they [the Home Office] gave me asylum, that’s magical to me’. Danila Stepin, another of Chelvan’s clients who feared persecution in Russia said, ‘Chelvan is really an admirable man, he saves peoples lives’.

In October 2019, Chelvan was appointed by the Independent Advisory Group on Country Information ('IAGCI') as the Independent Reviewer on Home Office Country of Information Report on Sexual orientation and Gender identity or Expression.  His 400 page review of 31 COI reports was filed on 10 February 2020, and reviewed by the IAGCI on 31 March 2020.  The Independent Chief Inspector on Borders and Immigration filed his report addressing the review and its recommendations on 13 October 2020.  Both the ICI report (with Chelvan's report at Annex C), and the Home Office's response to the report, were pub;ished on 8 December 2020.  Out of Chelvan's 10 recommendations, the Home Office fully accepted six, and partially accepted two (see pages 6 to 7 of main report).


Section I - Recent, Current and Pending Significant Cases:



H.A. v the United Kingdom (Application no. 30919/20) - Leading Haydee Dijstal- Stateless Palestinian refugee from UNRWA camp in Lebanon – whether domestic Courts in refusing asylum under Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention erred in not addressing future risk on return under Article 3 ECHR.  Case communicated to the UK on 28 October 2020, published on 16 November 2020, UK Observations by 25 May 2021, and Applicant Reply to UK Observations lodged on 9 August 2021  (instructed by Vanessa Delgado, Duncan Lewis Soliccitors).  Led Aqsa Hussain for written application stage (July 2020).  See Chelvan's Insight Note (22 March 2021).  Currently awaiting judgment from the Court.



Interplay between Family Court (Hague convention child abduction cases) and Asylum law (Refugee claims):

G v G [2021] UKSC 9  (19 March 2021) and  G (A Child : Child Abduction) [2020] EWCA Civ 1185 (15 September 2020) – instructed as asylum expert for Southall Black Sisters (Fourth intervenor, written submissions only).  Protection claim made on entry to the UK by South African lesbian abducting mother with child as dependant.  Returning father applies for return of child to South Africa pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention.  Procedure and practice guidance provided by the Court of Appeal.  Supreme Court allowed ground of appeal affirming a dependent child is an applicant for asylum, where objectively the raise a claim for asylum and therefore the application and/or appeal acts as a bar to removal and implementation of the Hague return order (consistent position of SBS before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court).  See link to Chelvan's detailed Insight Note, and the news article on SBS website (29 March 2021).  Instructed by Janet Broadley of Goodman Ray Solicitors, with Charlotte Baker and  led by Sam King QC (CoA), and Alex Verdan QC (SCt) (written submissions only).


Interplay between Family Court (Hague convention child abduction cases) and Asylum law (Refugee claims):

K (A Child) (Stay of Return Order: Asylum Application) (Contact to a Parent in Self-Isolation) [2020] EWHC 2394 (Fam) (4 September 2020) asylum claim made after exhaustion of Hague proceedings and just prior to enforcement of return order prevents removal.  Instructed on behalf of returning mother to the Russian Federation with respect to issues relating to asylum.





PG  (Appeal hearing on 23 November and 6 December 2021, awaiting determination)  - addresses legal status of 2015 Country Guidance case of LH and IP, where Upper Tribunal determined asylum/article 3 ECHR grounds where no asylum claim had been made to the SSHD.  The appeal, heard over two full days, also addressed the new 30 November 2021 Home Office Country Policy and Information Note on SOGIE claims from Sri Lanka, addressing issue of prosecution and state persecution  with respect to judicial measures, legal measures, and torture by the police and the authorities.


JI (Uganda) (hearing date 17 November 2021, awaiting determination) – Leading Jake Rylatt – where appeal already successful (with grant of LTR) on ‘very significant obstacles’ (Article 8 ECHR, paragraph 276 ADE (vi)) whether in a protection claim based on disability, discrimination amounts to persecution and/or persecution based on a gender/disability crosses risk threshold?



AN (2021) (UJ Sheridan) – Leading Dr Tariq Mahmood – protection claim from lesbian from Bangladesh - remitted back by the Court of Appeal – to  address second limb of HJ (Iran) and whether open lesbians have a well-founded fear of persecution in Bangladesh.  Substantive hearing before 2-Judge Panel of the UT  addressing procedure for when the Home Office rely on the  April 2020 Bangladesh SOGIE CPIN as the starting point for risk assessment (inserted in the Court of Appeal Consent Order), but refuse to tender the report author to be cross-examined. Home Office conceded the substantive appeal in September 2021, accepting grant of refugee status to Appellant's girlfriend resulted in Home Office litigation and policy position impermissible (link).


(Unreported, June 2021) - Significant national and international media attentaion ( The Guardian, Sky Sports, The Evening Standard, Nairobi News, AllAfrica.com), with respect to allowed appeal by the First-tier Tribunal of a gay rugby player from Kenya.  Tribunal accepted the Home Office country policy guidance did not accurately refelect the real risk of persecution of gay men in Kenya ( link) .Chelvan had been instructed from 2019, in the intiial successful challenge to the Home Office decision not to treat Kenneth's further submissions as amounting to a fresh asylum and human rights claim as being unlawful in light of the May 2019 Kenyan High Court judgment upholding the constitutionality of the Criminal Code criminalising same-sex conduct.


COB (16 February 2021) (UJ Pitts) appeal dismissed (Leading Shanthi Sivakumaran for pre-hearing written submissions).  Chelvan instructed in earlier proceedings in 2008.  Deportation proceedings – section 72 certificate upheld by FTT – no error of law.  Upper Tribunal holds at paragraph 37, no Article 3 ECHR risk of gay man from Jamaica, where he 'chose to live a discrete gay life in Jamaica prviously and that he did so in a manner he found tolerable'.


AK - (19 November 2020) (UJ Keith) appeal allowed and remitted - accepted FTT materially erred in finding it could dismiss protection appeal of  Iranian Kurdish national, on basis he could evade persectuion by deleting Facebook posts of attendance at UK demonstrations prior to return to Iran, in order to evade persecution.  The real risk approach has recently been addressed as a positive risk by the Upper Tribunal  ( see XX (PJAK - sur place activities - Facebook) Iran CG [2022] UKUT 23 (IAC)).


Section II – Significant Cases:



M.E. v SWEDEN, (application no. 71398/12) (written comments dated 9 April 2013 and December 2013).  Instructed by FIDH (Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme), ICJ (International Commission of Jurists) and ILGA-Europe (European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association).

Case of gay man from Libya challenging expulsion from Sweden. First case to substantively address risk to gay applicants since earlier 2004 Strasbourg decisions - “Article 3 of the Convention does not permit a Council of Europe member state to expel (even temporarily) a gay man who is genuinely married to a man, or a lesbian who is genuinely married to a woman, if the expelled individual would face a real risk of treatment violating Article 3 in their country of origin if they were to speak publicly (or otherwise be open) about their sexual orientation and their same-sex marriage. The genuineness of the marriage can be determined in the Council of Europe member state, without expelling the individual to their country of origin” [Section 26 of written comments]. Proceedings before the Grand Chamber struck out following positive grant of refugee status by Sweden on 8 April 2015. The only Strasbourg judgment to actually find an article 3 ECHR real risk on return in an asylum claim based on sexual identity is the 17 November 2020 judgment in B and C v Switzerland (gay man from the Gambia).

A.E v Finland (Application no: 30953/11) (Instructed as sole Counsel by ECRE, FHRL, FIDH, ILGA-Europe) co-ordinated joint submissions with AIRE Centre/INTERIGHTS/UKLGIG - gay man from Iran (written comments submitted on 19 March 2014, proceedings struck out on the 22nd of September 2015 following positive grant of refugee status by Finland).



LC (Albania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ. 351; [2017] 1 W.L.R 4173

(permission granted by Lindblom LJ on 20th October 2016 following 2 earlier adjourned hearings before Lindblom LJ (25 November 2015) and King LJ in February 2016)).

Leading Jessica Smeaton.  2 grounds of appeal (1) FTT and UT’s reliance on Country Guidance case of MK (lesbians) Albania [2009] UKAIT 00036 unlawful as set aside by Consent by the Court of Appeal Order in September 2011; and (2) Conduct on return no longer to be followed following MSM (Somalia) [2015] UKUT 00413 and/or contrary to EU law (2004 Minimum Standards Qualification Directive – discretion is not a standard contained in the Directive and is clearly not a more favourable standard) – HJ (Iran) was accordingly wrongly decided. Following DD (see below) – SSHD concedes the first ground of appeal. CA dismissed second ground of appeal finding HJ (Iran) is compatible with the Directive.  Case attracted international media attention – see the Guardian, and Pink News.

R (Apata) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ. 180

Challenge to assessment of actual and/or imputed sexual identity of lesbian internationally recognised activist from Nigeria. Appeal dismissed as material should have been submitted as a fresh claim. Court of Appeal in this unusual case granted a stay on removal pending submission of fresh claim to the Respondent by early August 2016 (including a DSSH model statement). Respondent subsequently treats material as a fresh claim and grants the Appellant an in-country right of appeal. On 1 August 2017, following notification 11 witnesses will be attending hearing to support appellant’s evidence she is a lesbian (including Baroness Barker and Peter Tatchell), the SSHD grants the appellant refugee status 13 year battle for status – see article in The Guardian.  Chelvan has contributed a chapter on this case in the forthcoming book "The Queer Outside in Law"  (eds. Senthoran Raj and Peter Dunne, "Chapter Four: Aderonke Apata: the Voice of the Silenced", 11 February 2021).

SB (India) and CB (India) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ. 451; [2016] 4 W.L.R. 103; [2016] 2 F.C.R. 221; Times 25 May 2016

Moore-Bick, Gloster and Richards LJJ (permission granted by Elias LJ [2014] EWCA Civ. 501 - on 26 March 2014) – Flagrant breach of Article 8 (family life rights) ECHR to remove a married lesbian couple to India where there is no legal recognition and protection of same-sex unions. In first case in a decade to address same-sex relationships in the immigration context, the Court of Appeal recognised the development of Strasbourg jurisprudence recognising right to legal recognition and protection of same-sex couples within Article 8 ECHR (family life) (see Schalk and Kopf (2010) and Oliari (2015)). Appeal dismissed due to lack of flagrant breach. (Junior Victoria Hutton following grant of permission - Public Access and CFA agreement). Case attracted national and international media attention, e.g. articles in The Guardian, Pink News; and The Times of India. Negative findings of fact by the Court of Appeal in 2016 displaced by approach of the Indian Supreme Court on 6 September 2018 in Johar and ors v India.  The Delihi High Court are to hear a case on right to same-sex marriage in India in January 2021.


RY (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWCA Civ. 81

Two points of law (1) Excluding from refugee status without proceeding via the Immigration rules and cessation; and (2) Negative finding on rehabilitation when having passed rehabilitation criteria pursuant to statutory guidance (Road Traffics Act). Dismissed on both grounds. Instructed a week prior to the substantive hearing.


MS (Afghanistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ. 7

Court of Appeal introduces ‘new test’ for internal relocation alternative, by focussing on lack of risk in place of relocation to be dispositive of asylum claim in circumstances where the Court finds no finding of fact with respect to risk in home area, contrary to what had been the position of both parties to the litigation and the accepted approach prior to this judgment.


GN (South Africa) v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 1930 (17th December 2012) – following permission hearing, asylum appeal allowed by Consent in 2013.

White gay man from South Africa, granted permission to appeal by Laws LJ against Upper Tribunal determination which dismissed his asylum claim, on the basis of effective state protection in South Africa. Upper Tribunal was not provided by the SSHD, prior to the promulgation of the determination, a copy of her own Operational Guidance Note of February 2012, which conceded that there is a lack of effective state protection in South Africa. Permission granted on the basis that it was arguable that the SSHD had a duty to disclose this document to the Upper Tribunal which undermined the basis of her appeal. Appellant successful on asylum and human rights grounds before First-tier Tribunal (IAC) as per HJ/HT Supreme Court guidelines. Chelvan instructed following Upper Tribunal determination.


NP (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ. 906

The lack of reference to internal relocation in a refusal letter refusing asylum, and/or the lack of reliance on internal relocation either at the First-tier Tribunal (IAC) or in a Rule 24 response to grounds of appeal to the Upper Tribunal, or in written submissions pursuant to specific directions, do not prevent the Upper Tribunal (IAC) from addressing this ground of appeal at a hearing. Article 8 (2) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (internal relocation, if relied upon, to be addressed in the decision on the asylum application), and the SSHD’s published Asylum Policy Instruction on Internal Relocation (internal relocation to be raised as a ground in the refusal letter), do not aid the Appellant. Only where there is an unfairness to the opposing party, should there be an adjournment granted, preventing a procedural unfairness. There is no lack of jurisdiction.


OO (Sudan) and JM (Uganda) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ. 1432; [2010] All ER (D) 17 Jun.

Definition of persecution does not arise from unenforced criminal legislation relating to same-sex conduct. However, SSHD concedes that article 8 ECHR violations may amount to persecution [21]. Concession relied on as a gateway into Human Rights prism for Refugee Convention status determination.


NR (Jamaica) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ 856, [2009] INLR 169

Appeal allowed on basis that sexual identity is current sexual identity, and is not predicated on teenage sexual experimentation. Concessions relating to risk in Jamaica, and then acceptance of lesbian sexual identity, which were made, and then subsequently withdrawn by the SSHD were lawfully withdrawn. Appeal allowed on remittal to Upper Tribunal (IAC) finding that NR is ‘exclusively’ a lesbian and there is a real risk of persecution to her in Jamaica even on the basis of a perceived sexual identity- August 2010. Point of law incorporated into SSHD’s Asylum Policy Instruction on Sexual Orientation Issues in the Asylum Claim (2010, updated 2011). Case attracted Press attention in both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph

HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 172; [2009] Imm A.R. 600

Led by Raza Hussain for HT (challenge to Tribunal’s finding that discretion will be reasonably tolerable where there had been a positive finding of past-persecution by state and non-state agents on the grounds of sexual identity as a gay man). This ‘reasonable tolerability’ test was over-turned by the Supreme Court - HJ (Iran) [2010] UKSC 31; [2011] 1 AC 596 - instructed by HT (Cameroon) to deal with national and international media enquiries following judgment – HT granted refugee status in November 2010.

RG (Colombia) v SSHD [2006] EWCA Civ 57; [2006] Imm AR 297

Finding that as the Appellant had been able to be discrete without coming to the attention of vigilante death squads whilst in Colombia, the Tribunal’s finding that he can be returned to Colombia was not unlawful – successful fresh claim litigation followed judgment, abandoned before Upper Tribunal only due to grant by SSHD of ILR under legacy in 2011, following indication by UT that would succeed in his article 8 ECHR appeal. Court of Appeal judgment referred to as a ‘troubling case’ by Counsel for HJ (Iran) in 2010 proceedings before the Supreme Court.


R (otao SB (Uganda)) v SSHD [2010] EWHC 338 (Admin) (Hickinbottom J)

Successful judicial review of refusal of fresh claim of a lesbian from Uganda and unlawful detention claim - highlighted that JM (Uganda) CG [2008] UKAIT 00065 -(Chelvan instructed) was distinguished on the facts, and on the basis of post-CG evidence. The First Tier Tribunal allowed SB’s substantive asylum claim - determination promulgated July 2010.


AB (Pakistan) (Admin) (unreported) (July 2009, Mark Ockelton sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge)

SSHD concedes fresh claim of trans man from Pakistan during the judicial review substantive hearing  (Express news article) – initial claim as a lesbian a year prior to the hearing. SSHD grants refugee status in February 2011, whilst Country Guidance proceedings on first gender identity case to be reported by the Upper Tribunal are being case managed. SSHD also grants refugee status for gay man from Pakistan thereby conceding country evidence of risk to LGBTIs from Pakistan.



DD (Albania) (unreported) (November 2019) (leading Jake Rylatt in 2019 stage of proceedings)– asylum claim of Albanian woman subjected to domestic violence allowed accepting on internal relocation to Tirana, the discrimination she will face as a single woman with a child amounts to [13] ‘suffering treatment which would, cumulatively, be so serious as to amount to persecution for a Refugee Convention reason.’


MB (Internal relocation - burden of proof) Albania [2019] UKUT 392 (IAC) - [24] ‘burden of proof rests with the appellant, where the respondent has identified the location’.


MA (Cart JR: effect on UT processes) Pakistan [2019] UKUT 353 (IAC) – procedure for amending grounds before the Upper Tribunal following Cart JR remittal. Importantly addresses the ‘discretion test’ noting the inability of gay man with paranoid schizophrenia to be discreet due to his mental condition [60].


BF (Gay men – Tirana) Albania CG [2019] UKUT 93 (IAC) – Leading Jessica Smeaton.  In general a gay man can live openly and freely in Tirana.  Permission to appeal refused by the Court of Appeal ( [2019] EWCA Civ. 1781).


MSM (journalists – political opinion – risk) Somalia [2015] UKUT 00251 (IAC)

Guideline case prohibiting forced modification of employment when profession linked to actual political opinion (Leading Counsel to Victoria Hutton (stage 1) and Jessica Smeaton (stage 2)).


SW (Lesbians – HJ and HT applied) Jamaica CG [2011] UKUT 00251 - (accepted risk of persecution to lesbians and straight women who cannot ‘prove’ straight from Jamaica - both cases are still in force as applicable Country Guidance determinations.

TK (LP updated) Sri Lanka CG [2009] UKAIT 00049

Tribunal accepted that risk categories in December 2009 have not diminished since the May 2009 cessation of hostilities. Appeal dismissed on facts with respect to internal relocation alternative – SSHD grants TK Indefinite Leave to Remain prior to oral permission application to appeal to the Court of Appeal. Case superseded by later CG cases.

DW (Homosexuals – Persecution – Sufficiency of Protection) Jamaica CG [2005] UKAIT 000168 (accepted risk of persecution to gay men (and perceived gay men) from Jamaica


MM (Section 8: commencement) Iran [2005] UKAIT 0015; [2005] Imm A.R. 666

Section 8 of the 2004 Act (statutory adverse credibility findings) are retrospective to the coming into force of the Act.

Immigration & Nationality

Immigration & Nationality

 Dr Chelvan's immigration practice is primarily focussed on deportation cases, procedure and human rights challenges (family life and private life).  He has known as forensic in his approach to litigation, and has also developed a reputation in developing the law with respect to costs applications against the SSHD.

I - Recent, Current or Future Significant Cases:



TDS (March 2020 and August 2020) – Leading David Gardiner – SSHD concedes deportation appeal under article 8 ECHR Immigration Rules, prior to final disposal hearing.  Prior to Error of Law hearing the Home Office had become aware the appellant, born in the UK to a Jamaican mother was not a Jamaican national (had not applied for Jamaican citizenship where birth did not confer automatic nationality).  SSHD now accepts TDS has no nationality.  Upper Tribunal dismiss costs application but accept costs on an indemnity basis against SSHD is available in a statutory appeal before the UT.

II - Significant Cases:



AA (Somalia) v Entry Clearance Officer (Addis Ababa) [2013] UKSC 81; [2014] 1 W.L.R. 43 - Led by Manjit Gill QC. Paragraph 352D of the Immigration Rules relating to family reunion of children with parents who have been granted refugee status in the UK covers biological children and de-facto adoptive children who comply with paragraph 309A. The Somali child who has been accepted to have been recognised to have undergone a kafaala under Islamic law, as a result of her father’s death and mother’s disappearance as a result of persecution arising out of civil war do not come under 352D. Appellant’s success under article 8 of the ECHR at first instance provides alternative route for entry to the UK. Supreme Court recommends amendment of Immigration Rules to allow for recognition of parental transfer under kafaala.



Kousar and ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ. 2462 (Lindblom, Irwin and Baker)

Leading Alex Cisneros for the Appellant – Court of Appeal held no material error of law in rejecting application of Basnet principle where the error has been in the completion of the application form by the Appellant.


AM (Pakistan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ. 180

Leading Junior for Respondent in SSHD's challenge on reliance of parent on 7-year presence of minor children in the United Kingdom as preventing removal (non-deportation proceedings). SSHD's application for extension-of-time and substantive hearing heard as a rolled-up hearing on 15 March 2017, relying on MM (Uganda) and MA (Pakistan). (Junior: Varsha Jagadesham). Secretary of State’s application for extension-of-time and appeal allowed. Following KO (Nigeria) and ors v SSHD [2018] UKSC 53 (24 October 2018), SSHD’s reliance on MM (Uganda) and MA (Pakistan) was held to be unlawful.

R (on the application of AA (Afghanistan)) v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 1643; [2011] EWHC 3820 (Admin)

SSHD’s policy addressing ‘loss of chance’ where there has been an incorrect age assessment leading to denial of grant of LTR under the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children policy ruled unlawful. Unpublished policy was held to be contrary to section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (for those over 17 years and 6 months but under 18), and to the direction and guidance of the Court of Appeal in AA (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2007] EWCA Civ 12. Claimant’s relief on the additional point that he should have been granted refugee status during the period he was accepted to be 18 dismissed (the LQ (age) and DS Afghanistan) point). Claimant’s grant of 3 years DL overturned by Court of Appeal and remitted to SSHD to decide grant of leave. Court of Appeal additionally directed the SSHD to review the asylum claim on the basis that he is still a child (displacing Ravichandran principle).


MW (DRC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ. 1240

Led by Geoffrey Robertson QC – Upper Tribunal (IAC) materially erred in law in not applying the “very serious reasons” requirement of Maslov in determining the deportation of a settled migrant who had been in the UK since he was a young child. SSHD’s stated case that he was a member of a criminal gang and was involved in drugs and fire arms was rejected by First-tier Tribunal (see case of V above). However, the First-tier Tribunal held that he knowingly associated” with those involved in gangs. Prior to substantive appeal hearing before the Upper Tribunal SSHD withdrew immigration decision and reinstated Indefinite Leave to Remain.



R (WLTB) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] EWHC 629 (Admin) (Anonymity) and [2017] EWHC 630 (substantive application) (3 February 2016)

Acted for 4 migrants (as the Second Claimants in the litigation), who are EU, EEA, dual-National or non-EEA who sought a declaration from the Divisional Court regarding an Act of Parliament authorizing exit from the Single Market (Article 127 of the European Economic Area Agreement 1994 and the EEA Act 1993). He was instructed as Sole Counsel for initial hearing on anonymity on 17 January (made final on 3 February 2017 – led by Ramby de Mello). This judgment creates a legal precedent following death threats to Gina Miller in the Brext1 litigation and the Article 127/single market litigation led to Orders for Anonymity being granted despite opposition from the media. The case involved submission of evidence of a death threat made on social media to Chelvan, coupled with the threats to Gina Miller, established real risk to safety to the 4 Claimants based on evidence of risk to third parties – this creates a legal precedent with respect to the law on ‘open justice’. Case got reported from the lodging of the application by the Guardian on 29 December 2016 citing Chelvan’s specific involvement. (17 January 2017 anonymity hearing before Sir Ross Cranston): Application for Anonymity Order for four migrant claimants in Brexit 2 application (addressing lack of Parliamentary approval for exiting the Single Market) – attracted national press coverage – press became aware of the proceedings and interjected on basis of public interest – successfully obtained interim relief pending final disposal at the substantive permission application hearing on 3 February 2017 (see above)).

D:        HIGH COURT


R (RH and DY) v SSHD [2013] EWHC3295 (Admin) (Lewis J).

Judicial review challenge to decision to transfer Eritrean Claimants to Belgium under Dublin II transfer regime, as the First Claimant was outside the territory for more than 3 months, prior to her re-entry (Article 16 (3) of the Regulations). The Second Claimant has never been to Belgium, and was born following departure. Belgium initially refused transfer request. The substantive hearing considered whether the decision was compliant with duties under Dublin II regulations and sustainable to public law challenges pursuant to irrationality and unfairness. Prior to 9 July 2014 oral permission hearing before the Court of Appeal, the SSHD grants refugee status to both Appellants in June 2014.


R (V) v SSHD [2013] EWHC 765 (Admin) (14th March 2013) Clive Lewis QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge (preceded by earlier litigation: R (V) v AIT [2010] EWCA Civ 491 and [2009] EWHC 1902 (Admin)).

Successful substantive judicial review challenge of SSHD’s failure to grant settlement under 14-year long residence rule, due to character and conduct findings based on allegations of membership of a criminal gang and assertions linking to criminal conduct which did not lead to charges and/or convictions in a criminal court. SSHD conceded that reliance on allegations which had not been proved by a fact finding Tribunal, and relying on spent convictions, were unlawful. The issue to be finally determined was how far back should settlement be back-dated to? SSHD insisted back-dating could only go back to decision under challenge (March 2011). Claimant submitted that ILR be backdated to at the time of the withdrawal of the earlier deportation immigration decision in late July 2010 (based on a negative advice on the merits by her Counsel). Administrative Court held that SSHD’s stance was irrational, and that the guidance of the Court in R (K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWHC 1528 (Admin), when applied in these proceedings, would see a backdating to somewhere within a month of the withdrawal of the earlier decision. Following 2013 judgment, SSHD back-dated grant of ILR to 1 August 2010, i.e. 8 days following withdrawal of earlier immigration decision, which was preceded by 2010 and 2009 litigation. 2009-2010 litigation: Led by Geoffrey Robertson QC - judicial review challenge to Tribunal’s preliminary decision allowing SSHD to rely on redacted evidence, and other hearsay evidence, from anonymous witnesses in a deportation hearing where this evidence did not lead to conviction in criminal proceedings. SSHD 10 days prior to substantive appeal before the Tribunal scheduled for August 2010 withdrew her deportation decision. Strasbourg application was about to be lodged to stay proceedings before the domestic Tribunal. V eventually granted 3 years DL pursuant to article 8 in March 2011, following second set of judicial review proceedings commenced to challenge delay in determining outstanding 2005 application. This leads to further challenge and ultimately the successful March 2013 proceedings.


R (otao Razai and ors) v SSHD [2010] EWHC 3151 (Admin)

Instructed on a pro-bono basis by Allen and Overy LLP on behalf of Bail for Immigration Detainees as intervener – challenging SSHD’s new policy in providing section 4 accommodation through pre-bail hearing assessment.



Mahmud (S. 85 NIAA 2002 - ‘new matters’) [2017] UKUT 488 (IAC); [2018] Imm A.R. 274

Guidance case on raising a new matter on appeal – pursuant to section 85 (6) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended by the 2014 Act). Appeal dismissed on point of law with respect to new relationship pursuant to article 8 ECHR grounds raised post-decision. Appeal allowed on protection grounds only (remittal back to the FTT).Leading Counsel to Jennifer Blair. Currently awaiting PTA decision from the Court of Appeal.

AS (Appeals raising Articles 3 and 8) Iran [2006] UKAIT 00037

An appeal on article 3 ECHR grounds is not precluded on the basis that the appeal has already been allowed at first instance on article 8 ECHR grounds.

Business Immigration

Business Immigration

Dr Chelvan represents clients at all levels of Tribunal and appellate Courts adopting a forensic and client focussed approach to litigation. He is specifically parachuted into appellate litigation in the Higher Courts where matters previously have been unsuccessfully litigated.

Dr Chelvan is particularly sought after for Direct Access work for clients who wishes to ensure any application is thoroughly prepared with an eye for detail. He is a sought after public speaker and trainer both here in the UK, and internationally.





H v the United Kingdom (Application no. 32185/20).   Article 8 ECHR right of a child to have her biological father (in a same-sex relationship) named on her birth certificate, rather than the husband of her surrogate mother pursuant to sections 35 and 38 of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008.  Application lodged with the Court in July 2020.  Currently awaiting judgment from the Court..  Leading Deborah Seitler and Haydee Dijkstal.  Instructed by Colin Rogerson of BLM.  See Chelvan's Insight "Who Is My Father?" (22 March 2021) (link)



G v G [2021] UKSC 9  (19 March 2021), and G (A Child : Child Abduction) [2020] EWCA Civ 1185 (15 September 2020).  Instructed as asylum expert for Southall Black Sisters (Fourth intervenor, written submissions only).  Protection claim made on entry to the UK by South African lesbian abducting mother with child as dependant.  Returning father applies for return of child to South Africa pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention.  Procedure and practice guidance provided by the Court of Appeal.  Supreme Court allowed ground of appeal affirming a dependent child is an applicant for asylum , where objectively they raise a claim for asylum.  On this basis there is a bar to implementation of the Hague return order during the application and/or appeal proceess in order to prevent refoulment.  Instructed by Janet Broadley of Goodman Ray Solicitors.

HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE (Family Division):

K (A Child) (Stay of Return Order: Asylum Application) (Contact to a Parent in Self-Isolation) [2020] EWHC 2394 (Fam) (4 September 2020) - asylum claim made after exhaustion of Hague proceedings and just prior to enforcement of return order prevents removal.  Instructed on behalf of returning mother to the Russian Federation with respect to issues relating to asylum.


Chelvan has additonally been instructed by those involved in Family proceedings (i.e. parties to the litigation including Local Authorities) to provide expert reports with respect to immigration issues arising in the proceedings.

Direct Access

Direct Access

Dr Chelvan is registered to accept instructions under the Bar Council Direct Acccess Scheme (also known as the Public Access Scheme), where suitable.

In the first instance, please contact his clerk Mark Byrne via email (m.byrne@33bedfordrow.co.uk) or call his clerks on 0207 242 6475

Chelvan specialises in assisting those who are in the United Kingdom, and wish to claim asylum or human rights protection.  Chelvan advises in all stages from  registering their claim with the Home Office, to the decision stage on the protection or human rights claim, including atttending the substantive asylum interview.   

Chelvan also accepts instructions, where suitable, on other intial immigration applications, fresh claims, statutory appeals (including the Court of Appeal (e.g. SB and CB (India) (2016)) and judicial review proceedings.

(March 2021) Hammad Akbar - EU Settlement Application:

"[The] level of granular detail Dr Chelvan went to get everything right was absolutely great. He covered every single loophole that could possibly cause the Home Office to reject my application or give me an unfavourable result. 


As I have already stated, I had already consulted with other legal experts prior to getting Dr Chelvan onboard. No-one comes close compared to his level of detail, experience and in-depth knowledge of immigration rules."



(1 June 2019) PhD (Law), King's College London.

PhD Thesis 'At the End of the Rainbow: Where Next for the Queer Refugee? Understanding Queer Refugees' Lives: Moving From Sexual Conduct to Identity in Sexual Orientation/Identity Asylum Cases in England and Wales'.

(2001) LLM, Harvard Law School.  Specialising in International Human Rights law and the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movement.

(1999) Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies (BVC), City University.  Grade: Very Competent.

(1998) BSc (SocSci) Politics and Law (First class), University of Southampton.  Ranked 1 in departmental year-group of 70.

(September 2020) Certificate, Oxford Executive Leadership Programme, Said Business School (University of Oxford). Grade: 97%.

Awards & Prizes

Awards & Prizes

(2022) LGBTQ+ 2022 Trailblazer - Attitude Magazine - Banking, Finance and Legal Sector (only practising lawyer listed in this catgeory) (December 2021)

(2018) Attitude Magazine Pride Award.

(2014) Barrister of the Year, Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards (LAPG) (see Society Guardian article).  On the Judging panel for the awards 2015-2020.

(2000-2001) Kennedy Memorial Trust Scholar (UK-equivalent of the Rhodes scholarship).  Member of the Interview panel since 2018.

(2000) Summer 2000 award, Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for International Human Rights Law, Northwestern University, Chicago.

(1998), Major scholarship and Duke of Edinburgh exhibition award, Inner Temple.

Shortlisted Finalist and Visibility:

(2021): Top 10 Outstanding Contributors to LGBT Life - British LGBT Awards. (2022, appointed to the Judging Panel for this category, ceremony 24 June 2022)

(2020 and 2021) Chambers UK Bar awards, Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion.

(2017) Barrister of the Year, the Lawyer magazine awards (only non-QC shortlisted).

(2015) Civil lawyer of the Year, Society of Asian Lawyers awards.

(2015) Powerlist – Black Law Directory – ranked in top 34 BAME lawyers in the Directory’s Powerlist;

(2015) Legal Hero - #LegalPride 2015 – the Law Society/Bar Council/CILEX; and

(2015) Independent of Sunday Rainbow List – the 101 most influential LGBTI people in the UK – highest ranked lawyer at number 43 (new entry):

'Chelvan, a barrister and LGBTI activist, has an international reputation in LGBTI asylum law. He developed a model based on recognising difference, stigma, shame and harm, which is now used routinely in LGBTI asylum cases. It is globally recognised by the UNHCR, governments, NGOs and lawyers'.



(January 2022): Elected Inaugural Chair of the Executive Committee and Senior Member of the  Advisory Committee, Association of British Tamil Lawyers;

(September 2021): Elected Legal Advisor to the Memorandum of Understanding (2) Coalition Against Conversion Therapy;

(April 2021): Member - Refugee and Asylum Stakeholder Forum for the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration;

(April 2021): Stonewall - Panel Member, Strategic Litigation Project;

(April 2021): Member, Ayos/ARC Steering Committee on Disability;

(January- December 2021): Innner Temple Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Sub-Committee (co-opted);

(27 November 2020-):  Advisory Group, Scottish Just Law Centre;

(2020): Member of the Judging panel, National Mediation Awards 2020 (re-appointed for 2022);

(October 2019-March 2020): Independent reviewer (SOGIE), Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (report published 8 December 2020 - 6 out of 10 recommendations fully accepted by the Home Office, 2 partially accepted);

(March 2019-March 2021): Member of the Government Equalities Office LGBT Advisory Panel;

(since March 2018): International Rights Officer – UK Black Pride;

(since February 2017): Trustee, FREEBAR;

(since 2017): ADVOCATE  (formerly Bar Pro Bono Unit) reviewer (Immigration).  Panel member since 2004;

(2015-2020): Member of Judging panel of the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards (Legal Aid Practitioners' Group);

(since 2015):  Home Office, National Asylum Stakeholders' Forum, Equality Sub-group;

(2014-15):  Home Office, LGBT Training Committee, Founding member;

(2010-2011): UK Country Expert and Expert Advisory  Panel, Fleeing Homophobia project (Vu Unversity, Amsterdam); and

(2008- January 2022): Committee member of the Equality Diversity and Social Mobility Committee of the Bar Council.



British LGBT Awards 2021 - Top 10 Contributor to LGBT Life:

(nominated, August 2021)

'Immigration Lawyer Fighting for Queer Refugees

Legal expert on refugee and human rights, Dr Chelvan has been present int he field of LGBT+ asylum specifically for 20 years, consulting for the UN, national government departments and NGOs. His PhD in Law culminated with a thesis titled ‘At the End of the Rainbow: Where Next for the Queer Refuee?’ Chelvan’s work has illuminated issues on the experience of LGBT+ asylum seekers, and the difficulties they go through in order to receive asylum.'

Attitude Magazine Pride Award 2018:

"The winner of this next Attitude award is a radiant example of the best of humanity. His work has helped change the way LGBT+ people’s asylum cases are assessed in the Home Office – got to the core of this matter. His work has even been noted by the United Nations."

Naga Munchetty, BBC Breakfast, introducing Dr Chelvan’s Attitude Magazine Pride Award 2018, 6 July 2018.


Legal 500:

“His expertise in sexual-identity-related asylum claims is world renowned.”

Legal 500, London Bar, Immigration, Band 1 (2022)


“His expertise in sexual identity-related asylum claims is world-renowned.” (2020, and 2021) “An established reputation as a leading practitioner in immigration human rights cases” (2018) (Band 1) “Highly regarded for his asylum expertise.”(2017) (Band 1) “An unsurpassed reputation for work with LGBT clients” (2015).  “Committed to forwarding the rights of migrants.” (2014). S. Chelvan is a “tenacious battler who fights with vigour and commitment” (2010). Chelvan “is renowned for his expertise in gender identity and sexual orientation cases” (2009/10). S. Chelvan’s (with others) record cases with a strong human rights element (2007/08), his “immigration experience” in successful “sexual and gender identity” claims (2008/09)

Chambers UK Bar:


Dr Chelvan is an esteemed and highly respected immigration barrister who is particularly recognised for his LGBT rights work. His work is international in its scope, while his diverse client base includes many individuals who are fleeing persecution. He has advised and represented academics, governments and activists, as well as individual applicants.  "An effective and formidable advocate." "He is extremely dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for clients. He is passionate in his use of the law and is hands-on in identifying strategic points."

Chambers UK Bar, 2022, London Bar (Immigration, Band 3).



"Dr Chelvan is a guru of the immigration Bar - he changes the direction of the law for migrants and refugees. He is second to none in his preparation for appeals." "He has a special interest in LGBT rights in the immigration context and always looks for a creative way through case law." (2021) “A very knowledgeable and passionate lawyer who will give you a straight answer, and who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s quite a force in this area.” “He is a master of his subject. He makes powerful and creative submissions and his advocacy skills are very impressive and persuasive.” (2020).  An absolutely outstanding immigration lawyer who also deserves recognition as an LGBT campaigner.” (2019) “An esteemed and highly respected immigration barrister who is particularly recognised for his LGBTQ rights work. His work is international in its scope, while his diverse client base includes many individuals who are fleeing persecution.” (2018) (Band 2) An esteemed and highly respected immigration barrister who id particularly recognised for his LGBTQ rights work.  "He is extremely well regarded for his work in LGBTQ asylum seeker cases." "He is very committed and knows everything there is to know about same-se asylum seeker cases.  Always pushes to get the best results for his clients." (2017) (Band 2)  One of the UK’s foremost LGBTI rights activists, acting on behalf of those fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. “He has majorly contributed to the big change in the attitude of the tribunals to LGBTI cases” “He excels in High Court work, he is very passionate …” (2016) (Band 2) “Very intelligent, hard-working, and imaginative in his approach to cases” (2015) “He has great client skills, as well as court skills. He is a very eloquent speaker and is very watchable in court.” “He has probably become the leading practitioner in the UK for political asylum claims on sexuality” (2014) “The ’very impressive’ S Chelvan of the same set is praised for his academic appreciation of the underpinnings of human rights law and his ground-breaking work on asylum claims based on gender or sexual identity” (2013, Immigration, Band 2). Chelvan’s “strong advocacy and dedication to clients.” He is known as a doyen of immigration cases involving issues of sexual identity. (2012). [A]t the forefront of ground-breaking cases in the area. Sources say that he is “extremely committed” and “a particularly effective advocate.” (2011). Chelvan has “immense expertise” and, “the very welcome knack of putting vulnerable clients at ease.” (2010). “You can rely on him to work exceptionally hard and more importantly, highly effectively.” (2009). “Lawyers agree that he is ’leading the way’ in relation to [sexual orientation and gender identity] claims in this area (2008). Chelvan is referred to as having an “expansive knowledge of the law” and being “an extremely principled man”, who “always demands and strives for the highest standards of fairness and goes that extra mile for the client” (2007).





I - Recent Publications:

'The Transgender Issue' (Shon Faye) Contributed interview on UK approach trans asylum claims in the UK (September 2021).

'Transgender In Law' (Robin White and Nichola Newbegin).  Chelvan acted as contributing legal consultant to 'Chapter 20: Asylum' (May 2021).

'The Queer Outside in Law' (eds. Senthoran Raj and Peter Dunne) - 'Chapter Four: The DSSH Model: The Voice of the Silenced - Aderonke Apata' Dr Chelvan, Palgrave (published 2 December 2020).

'Removing the Mask: Locating 'The Martyr'': Reviewing UK Home Office Country of Origin Information relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression ('SOGIE') Protection Claims. (approx. 400 page review of 31 COI reports) (10 February 2020, IAGCI reviewed 31 March 2020, Indepdent Chief Inspector report passed to Home Secretary on 13 October 2020.  Both the ICI's report (Chelvan's report at Annex C), and the Home Office response to the report were published by the Home Secretary on 8 December 2020.  Out of Chelvan's 10 recommendations, six were fully accepted by the Home Office and two were partially accepted (see pages 6 to 7 of main report). The ICI, when publishing the report, stated:

"The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI) and I are grateful to Dr Chelvan for his painstaking thematic review of the Home Office’s Country of Origin (COI) products dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity or expression covering 30 countries.


The Home Secretary has referred to fixing the “broken” asylum system. While the production and use of COI is not broken, any review of the system must ensure that it is as good as it can be in supporting efficient and effective decision making."

II - Books:

 “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” - co-author - Chapter XI in Volume 2 of “Credibility Assessment in Asylum Procedures” (CREDO project, Hungarian Helsinki Project and the UNHCR, May 2015).

(co-author with Mark Harper and ors): ‘Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership:The New Law’ (Chapter 9: Immigration and Asylum), (Jordans, May 2014).

Chapter 9 addresses the law relating to immigration and asylum in impressive detail and engages extensively with the key authorities and procedural issues’ (Helen James, 2015 The Law Teacher Vol 49, No 1, 130-140) - “Often viewed as an incompressible area of the law, in this chapter … the key points are delivered in digestible chunks” (Andrew Powell, 2015, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 37.2, 285-287).

III - Articles/Blogs:

“Put Your Hands up (If You Feel Love)” (JIANL 2011), “How does a lesbian come out at 13?” (Women’s Asylum News October 2011); and “Queer Cases, Great Law”, (Opino Juris, March 2012); “From Silence to Safety” (Counsel Magazine: May 2013); “Case Comment, X, Y and Z” European Human Rights Law Review (2014) (1), pp. 49-58 (also see ein, 8 November 2013). Westlaw Insight: (January 2014) “Asylum: Basic grounds for claiming asylum” (March 2014) Lexis “How uncertain is the future for free standing article 8 claims?”; "From ABC to DSSH: How to prove that you are a Gay Refugee?" (Free Movement blog, 23 July 2014); “The Last Legal Aid Barrister of the Year?” (Counsel Magazine: February 2015) “Are refugees from Syria really refugees?” (Free Movement blog, 9 September 2015);  “New Home Office API on Gay Asylum Claims: Not Fit For Purpose” (Free Movement blog, 8th August 2016); "Comment: Sexual orientation statistics are good news" (Free Movement blog, 4 January 2018); "Avoiding the Naughty Step in Cart judicial review cases" (Free Movement blog, 9 December 2019);  "Case Note: Gay Hairdressers Can Safely Relocate in Algeria Court of Appeal Holds" (Free Movement Blog, 17 December 2020); and "SOGICA: Review" (Journal of Immigration Law, forthcoming).



Podcast Interviews with Dr Chelvan:

(a) Gatehouse Chambers, LGBTQIA History Month 23 February 2022;

(b) Celebrating Diversity at the Bar - Race and the Legal Profession 7 December 2021 Inner Temple (recorded in August 2021, interviewed by Amelia Smithers);

(c) Family Law Weekly Podcast 8 August 2021 Series 6 Episode 3, Surrogacy Week - interviewed by Rachel Mary Cooper;

(d) Chambers Studet Guide Podcast -Episode 19 - Interview with Sal Morton - 7 April 2021;

(e)  Busy Being Black (with Josh Rivers) - Saturday 26 November 2020; and

(f)  Breaking Legal Glass Ceilings (with David Locke, QC) - Tuesday 1 December 2020.

TV/radio/media – selection of:

Profiled by:

Mary O' Hara (Society Guardian, July 2014); Fiona Baldwin (Legal Action Group, September 2014); Catherine Baksi (Legal Hackette, January 2016); Sue James (Legal Action Group, September 2018); and Kevin Poulter, Season 2, Episode 16, The Hearing Podcast (November 2018).




27 January 2022 Family Law Seminar, 33 Bedford Row, "From Hague Convention to the Home Office - Top Tips for Family Practitioners"


16 September 2021, Law Friends Society, Immigration Conference, "Crossing the Legal Frontiers; Asylum Law Update" ;

15 June 2021, Dods Diversity Conference, "Intersectionality at work: appreciating individuality and recognising each staff member as unique";

9 June 2021: Frank Field, "Pathways to Sanctuary, the LGBT+ Refugee Story - an Activist Lawyer's Story?

26 Febriuary 2021, ELSA UK Conference, "At the End of the Rainbow: Where Next for the Queer Refugee?";

2020 (selection of):

18 and 25 November 2020  (UNHCR Hong Kong and University of Hong Kong) 'Refugee Protection and the Emotional Journey: Why Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm provide the potential building blocks for the refugee to tell their story';

30 October 2020 'LGBTQ at the Bar' (Inner Temple, Panel event (Chair) with Robine White and Andrew Powell);

22 September 2020, 'LGBT+ Asylum: Applying the DSSH model' (Migrant Law Clinic, No5 Chambers webinar, 132 delegates from 12 countries);

19 July 2020, 'How Do I prove Gay?: Refugees' Emotional Journies' (Research Futures series, University of Portsmouth);

8 July 2020, SOGICA Conference Panel event on Credibility 2: LGBT asylum;


5 February 2020, (LGBT Leaders' Summit, Government Equalities Unit) Keynote speech.


GDPR Notice

GDPR Notice

Dr S Chelvan is a self employed barrister in independent practice. During the course of providing legal services as a barrister, Chelvan collects and uses personal information.  He is the data controller in respect of this information for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation ('GDPR').

33 Bedford Row is separate and has its own Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR 'Privacy Policy and Data Protection Statement', in respect to personal information collected, used and stored by or related to it. This covers personal information arising from, or related to, 33 Bedford Row providing services as a barristers chambers, as well as use of its website. This 'Privacy Policy and Data Protection Statement' sets out what information they obtain about you, why and how they use it.  This policy also sets out your rights.

Dr Chelvan has a retention of data policy which sets out how long he retains personal information and the reasons why he adopts certain retention periods.

You can view 33 Bedford Row's 'Privacy Policy and Data Protection Statement' on 33 Bedford Row's website. Hard copies are available on request by contacting chambers directly.

Transparency Notice

Transparency Notice

Dr S Chelvan's entry on the Barristers' Register can be viewed by clicking the link here.

The Legal Ombudsman's decision data website can be found here, and the Bar Standards Board who regulate Dr Chelvan have their website here.

Dr Chelvan can be instructed via his clerks at 33 Bedford Row by professional, licensed access and/or lay clients, in order to obtain a quotation for legal services.  His clerks' contact details are at the bottom right of this webpage (please click on the image) and/or via clerks@33bedfordrow.co.uk or 0207 242 6476.

Dr Chelvan accepts, where appropriate, publicly funded work, Conditional Fee Agreements (including Partial CFAs).

Dr Chelvan's most commonly used pricing models for privately funded work, are:

(a) for specific drafting work - a fixed fee;

(b)  for specific hearings;

(c) for other work - hourly rates.

Dr Chelvan's fees are based on an hourly rate of £400 plus VAT per hour.  This is indicative only and may vary depending on various factors - please ask for a quotation.

Dr Chelvan is VAT registered and VAT is charged on his fees, where applicable.  Dr Chelvan's VAT Registration Number is: 820778323.

Dr Chelvan accepts Direct Access and Public Access work. However, he is not authorised to 'conduct litigation' as a solicitor can. While Dr Chelvan can draft documents, and advise and guide a Direct Access/Public Access client, the Direct Access/Public Access client will need to issue proceedings, file documents at court, and serve documents on other parties themselves. The scope of Dr Chelvan's services should be discussed with his clerk.

Email policy: If an email is received by Dr Chelvan after 7pm, it will not be deemed as read until 9am the following business day.

A website called Legal Choices is run by the frontline legal regulators. It can be a good source of information for those looking to instruct a lawyer.

Dr Chelvan has professional indemnity insurance cover for all types of legal services he supplies to the public and businesses

Dr Chelvan is registered Data Contoller with the ICO, with the following registration number:  Z8145941. You can access his registration entry here. Dr Chelvan also has a data retention policy and he acts in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation, in force from 25 May 2018.  A copy of Dr Chelvan's data retention policy is found here.