Rehana Popal

  • Year of Call 2013



Rehana has a busy Public and Civil practice and undertakes work in a broad range of areas including, Immigration, Refugee & Asylum, Administrative/Judicial Review, Civil and Education law.

During her GDL, Rehana set up an NGO to raise awareness of the challenges faced by internationally-displaced people and during her BPTC year, she worked as an analyst on the UN Drone Inquiry, evaluating allegations that the use of drones in extra-territorial and counter-terrorism operations has resulted in disproportionate levels of civilian casualties.

Prior to pupillage, Rehana worked as a paralegal in the International Group Claims department at Leigh Day assisting in civil claims involving alleged human rights abuses at the hands of British forces by claimants in Afghanistan.  She also served a 4-year term as a Director for the School Exclusion Project, run jointly by City Law School & Matrix Chambers, as part of a small team that developed and pioneered the project. During this time she represented clients with Special Educational Needs at Governor Hearings, Independent Review Panels and First-Tier Tribunals.

Rehana is the first Afghan national to be called to the Bar by Inner Temple and is the only female Afghan Barrister currently practising in England and Wales.

Rehana welcomes instructions that are either privately funded or legally aided and is also happy to assist on a Public Access basis where appropriate.

Immigration & Nationality

Immigration & Nationality

Rehana is regularly instructed in the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals, High Court and Court of Appeal on asylum and public law cases, with a particular focus on complex claims and those involving victims of torture, sexual violence and LGBTQ.

Rehana is highly regarded for her ability to engage with particularly vulnerable clients and to approach her cases with a strong client-focus.

Her refugee and asylum work means that she frequently receives instructions to provide advice, drafting witness statements and drafting grounds of appeal in areas including:

Asylum (particular experience LGBTQ, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan)

Article 8

EEA applications and appeals

Entry Clearance Officer applications and appeals

Criminal deportations


Unlawful detention

Judicial Reviews (both to the Admin Court and Upper Tribunal)

Tier 4 (General Student) and TOEIC applications and appeals

Entrepreneur and business applications and appeals

Upper Tribunal, permission and full hearings

Challenging the certification of decisions

Emergency Injunctions



Rehana regularly appears in County Court, acting for both Claimants and Defendants in small claim track, fast-track and multi-track matters.

Rehana has considerable experience in conducting trials, applications and appeals. She regularly appears in the County Court.

She regularly advises on liability and quantum, and drafts statements of case in areas including:

Road Traffic Accidents

Fraudulent claims for Personal Injury

Credit Hire

Highways Act claims

Animal Act claims

Fatal Accidents

MOJ Portal Claims

Infant Settlement Approval

Personal Injury claims involving Education Providers




Rehana is particularly passionate about Education Law. Prior to commencing pupillage, Rehana was a Director of The School Exclusion Project for four years. This is an award-winning pro-bono unit dedicated to representing parents of permanently excluded school children.

Rehana is instructed to act and advise in relation to a broad range of Education Law matters, including:

Breach of contract and negligence claims involving education providers

School Exclusions

School Admissions

Appeals to the SEND Tribunal on the content of EHC Plans

Discrimination (particularly disability discrimination) claims in the FTT and County Court

Internal academic appeals / Fitness to Practice appeals

Appeals to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Judicial Reviews

Notable Cases

Notable Cases

SSHD v VC (Sri Lanka), Court of Appeal – Civil Division, November 30, 2017, [2017] EWCA Civ 1967 – Rehana was led by Shivani Jegarajah for the respondent, VC, in an appeal on whether a parent can have genuine and subsisting parental relationship with children in care.

SJ (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2017] IJR UT (IAC) – Successful Judicial reviewed a criminal deportation of a man convicted of violent offences on Article 8 grounds.

VK (Sri Lanka) Ex Parte [2017] (Court of Appeal) – Successfully obtained an emergency injunction preventing removal of a potential victim of torture on the grounds of pending challenge of the Fast Track Procedure Rules 2005.

JP (America) v SSHD (Carers – Reg. 15A, Zambrano) [2016] FTT (IAC) – Successfully appeal under Regulation 26 of the EEA Regulations 2006, against the respondent’s decision. Arguing breast feeding amounts to primary care for the purposes of a derivative right of residence in the UK under Regulation 15A(4A) of the EEA Regulations.

FS (Pakistan) v SSHD [2016] FTT (IAC) – Successfully appeal against the respondent’s decision, refusing the applicants application for entry clearance under paragraph Appendix FM.

YV (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2017] FTT (IAC) – Successfully appeal against the respondents decision to refuse a Human Rights claim of a 70 year, who had lived in the UK for 13 years illegally.

Awards & Prizes

Awards & Prizes

2019 Barrister of the Year Award at the 2019 Inspirational Women in Law Awards 

2015 Sir Geoffrey Nice Scholarship

2013 Bar Pro-Bono Award – Awarded to the School Exclusion Project

2012 Inner Temple Major Exhibition Scholarship (£17,000)

2012 Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship

2006 RIBA Young Architect Award



Rehana Popal on BBC Pashto discussing the role of women at the Bar and Judiciary;

City Magazine, Rehana Popal is listed as “5 to Watch”;

Rehana Popal appearing at a panel discussion, discussing the law and asylum seekers;

Rehana Popal on RT News discussing the case Afghan asylum seeker Samim Bigzad;

Rehana Popal on RT News discussing the case of failed Afghan asylum seeker, who served alongside the British Army as interpreters being deported back to Afghanistan;

Rehana Popal defends a man prosecuted for breaching restraining order and threatening former partner, article published here;

Rehana Popal successfully prosecuting a postman who stole post to feed cocaine habit, article published here;

Rehana Popal, led in Sheep Resulting trial, article published here.