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Our Trainers

Our training team includes professional barristers and solicitors, business consultants and other specialists with experience across human rights, corporate responsibility, employment, immigration, family and public law.

Every member of the HJT team are professionals who offer practical experience in their respective fields. Our trainers help run our courses, contribute to keep material up-to-date and are leading contributors and experts in their own right. You can find out more about each of them here.

If you are interested in becoming part of our training team click here

DAVID JONES

CO-FOUNDER

David is a practicing Barrister for over 16 years call. He specializes in the fields of Human Rights, EU Free Movement, and Personal Injury litigation. He is also very experienced in Public and Administrative Law generally and was described in the Chambers Legal Directory in 2015 in the following terms: ‘This effective immigration and public/administrative law advocate has built a formidable reputation for himself over his 16 years at the Bar’.

David has also developed an expertise in civil litigation in relation to false imprisonment and unlawful detention cases, and has been at the vanguard of proceedings seeking to attain equality of treatment for Foreign National prisoners, particularly with regard to access to early release programs. He is a founder and Director of HJT Training established to deliver courses on the law to both the legal and private sector.

David has significant legal training experience. He has delivered legal training to numerous agencies at all levels from international, governmental, NGO’s and local levels to private entities. Recipients of training have included the UNHCR, the Irish Judiciary, the Legal Services Commission, the OISC, Treasury Solicitors and the UKBA.

David is a contributor to a variety of academic texts including Macdonalds Immigration Law and Practice; Your Rights (Liberty); Atkins Court Forms (Butterworths); Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents (Butterworths), and; the HJT Immigration Manual. He is also the co-founder of HJT Research which provides on-line country information on human rights conditions in over 80 counties.
He has in the past worked and volunteered for the Immigration Advisory Service, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, and is currently a member of the Haldane Society and ILPA.

MARK SYMES

CO-FOUNDER

Mark Symes is a co-founder and director of HJT and has trained for organisations including JCWI, CLT, ILPA, the College of Law and the Inns of Court School of Law.  He is a tenant at Garden Court Chambers specialising in all aspects of immigration law. Mark sits as a judge of the First-tier Tribunal. He has particular expertise in higher appeals having spent many years specialising in test-case litigation both with the Refugee Legal Centre and since arriving in private practice; he is very well known to the Senior Immigration Judiciary at Field House – see for example the Foreword to his new book with Peter Jorro Immigration Appeals and Remedies Handbook (“invaluable … to the armoury of all … a compulsory addition to the library of every immigration judge and practitioner”: President of the Upper Tribunal Mr Justice McCloskey).

Mark is principal author of the HJT Immigration Manual and is very active in public speaking and training (he is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies with “encyclopaedic… pre-eminent” knowledge according to one Supreme Court judge.) Mark has long been one of the experts who specialist immigration lawyers go to in order to make sure that they are up to speed with the latest legal arguments.

Mark set up and ran the immigration and asylum course at the Inns of Court School of Law and taught the City University elective from 2002-2005. He was a lead trainer for the College of Law in their winter 2002 project for the Legal Services Commission to provide training on immigration appeals to new barrister practitioners in the field.  He worked on HJT’s previous joint contract with Xafinity Skillbase for the UKBA. This involved the writing and setting of examination papers and mark schemes as well as the subsequent marking and moderation of completed papers, as was required by the specification. He is also involved in the OISC assessments contract in which HJT currently holds.

SANDRA AKINBOLU

Sandra has a busy practice in immigration and asylum, human rights, criminal defence, extradition and family law. Sandra appears at all stages, from first instance through to appeals before the Court of Appeal, dealing with all aspects of public and private immigration work. She regularly appears in asylum and deportation appeals and advises on all aspects connected with those proceedings. Sandra’s judicial review work includes fresh claim refusals, claims for unlawful detention, and injunctive relief for removals.

She  successfully represented a female Sierra Leonean asylum applicant contesting removal proceedings on the basis of a fear of FGM, and has ongoing proceedings involving Iraqi soldiers. Sandra appears on behalf of defendants at all levels, from Magistrates Court trials through to challenges before the Court of Appeal. Hearings have involved defending individuals involved in lawful peaceful protests, confiscation proceedings, and importation of Class A drugs. Sandra has experience of representing and advising individuals facing extradition to all parts of the world, with a particular speciality in human rights.

Prior to being called to the bar, Sandra worked predominantly in human rights research. She was part of the United Nations secretariat for the World Conference Against Racism, a position that took her to Durban for the Conference in 2001. She worked for various NGOs, including Interights and Alliance for Africa. She has also worked as a caseworker in a solicitors’ firm specialising in immigration and asylum law. Sandra regularly gives lectures and seminars both internally within chambers and on behalf of HJT Training. Sandra is involved in the constant development of the Immigration course delivered to MP Researchers.

Sandra has been our top performing trainer for the last 5 years consistently achieving over 90% in her delegate feedback for training delivery. Her personable style and ability to dissect each area of law, for even the least confident of practitioners, has made her a favourite for our accreditation training, particularly at OISC Levels 2 and 3. Sandra is also a trainer for the MP Researchers training to the Authority. Sandra has been a trainer with HJT since 2006.

JULIAN BILD

Julian is a trainer and consultant in immigration and asylum law and practice. Before becoming a trainer, Julian had a 15 year career as a solicitor specialising in this area of work. Julian trained as a solicitor at Wilson LLP, and has worked as an asylum appeal caseworker for the Refugee Legal Centre, as a solicitor in private practice, and as a senior lawyer and training manager for the Immigration Advisory Service. He has had conduct of many important reported and Country Guidance cases before the Tribunal and higher courts. He is an extremely experienced trainer and also as a consultant with solicitor and OISC firms.

Julian joined HJT as a senior trainer and is now solely responsible for the timely updating of all of our OISC accreditation training material, writing the OISC assessments, as well as updating of our revered HJT Immigration Manual which is the core resource of our immigration, asylum and human rights training. Julian also is the senior trainer for the MP Researchers training to the House of Commons.

STACEY WIDDISON

Stacey is a barrister, with over 13 years experience specialising in a wide range of immigration and family law matters.  In 2003 she was approved by the Legal Services Commission to undertake publicly funded immigration and asylum work.

In 2007, Stacey was accredited by the BSB as an advocacy trainer of BPTC students, and in 2010, she set up her own practice, where she currently provides advice and representation on a public access basis.  She also trains regularly for HJT and is a visiting lecturer at the University of Law (formerly known as the College of Law).

NAVTEJ AHLUWALIA

Navi is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers providing advice and representation for applicants, employers and education providers before the First and Upper Tier Tribunal, Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal. He has a particular interest in point based system work. He is the author of the Chapter on Student immigration in McDonald’s ‘Immigration Law and Practice’, Butterworths (8th Ed and Supplement), a consultant for the Chapters on Tiers 1, 2 and 5 and a consultant for JCWI’s ‘Guide to the Points Based System’. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for LexisNexis Immigration PSL.

He regularly appears in the First and Upper Tier Tribunal in PBS appeals. He has represented and advised a number of Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsors challenging UKBA’s decisions to revoke or downgrade sponsor licences. He has advised numerous employers on their obligations towards their employees under the Tier 2 scheme.

BRENDAN BEDER

Brendan has specialised in UK Immigration Law since setting up Beder-Harrison & Co in 1992.   This followed him studying Comparative Immigration Law for his Master of Laws Degree at University College London where he also undertook a specialist course in Law Lecturing.  He lectured in Commercial Law whilst completing a B.A. and LL.B. Degree in South Africa also completing his Legal Training with a leading law firm and working for a Judge of the Supreme Court.

Brendan’s Practice has developed a niche in respect of Tier 1, Tier 2 and Sponsor License work as well as all other areas of Immigration Law leading to Settlement and Naturalisation.   He provides Immigration services to Corporate and Private Clients of a number of firms of Solicitors.

Brendan is frequently called on by these firms to provide presentations updating their partners and key clients on all aspects of and changes to UK Immigration Law.    Brendan qualified in Executive Coaching at Regents College in 2005 and provides Executive and Change Management Coaching to mainly Law and other Professionals.

SHEILA MCDERMENT

BSC MA CIPD

Sheila is a freelance Learning and Development Consultant with extensive experience of training, organisational development, HR, management and sales, gained from working in a variety of business sectors.

Sheila has broad experience of delivering leadership programmes, international management training, team building events & business coaching.

She has also worked with many major companies including Unilever, Monsanto UK Ltd, and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Sheila has been involved with changes such as mergers, takeovers, restructuring, relocation, and training for the above mentioned organizations. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (MCIPD).

KEELIN MCCARTHY

Keelin McCarthy is a barrister practicing since 2008 in all areas of immigration, asylum and related public law. Currently a tenant in the Immigration Team at Lamb Building has particular interest in cases presenting overlapping immigration/family law issues.

Before becoming a barrister Keelin worked in the international development sector, gaining particular experience of human rights issues in Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, as well as in the North-East Asia region.

Keelin has been a regular HJT trainer on immigration and human rights law since 2011. She has recently lectured on unlawful detention, EU free movement, human trafficking, the rights and best interests of the child, and the Points Based System

KHADIJA RAHMAN

Khadija is a Barrister at Strand Chambers; having been called to the Bar in 2000. Her initial training at the Bar was in chancery law (with an emphasis on charity law). Since qualifying, she has worked on cases involving various aspects of asylum, immigration and related human rights law, criminal law, and family law.

Prior to joining the Bar, Khadija was an Immigration Counsellor at the Immigration Advisory Service. For a period after she joined the Bar, Khadija was also an employed Barrister and acted as a Legal Manager for an OISC firm. Khadija has also worked on a dual capacity basis when she was a consultant in immigration law at Wainwright & Cummins Solicitors.

Khadija is an Associate Lecturer in the International Asylum and Refugee Law and U.K Immigration Law undergraduate courses at Birkbeck College, University of London.

About HJT

Established in 2003 by practicing Barristers, our courses are both practical and dynamic. With both face-to-face and online training, giving legal practitioners the skills and knowledge to keep up to date with the complexities of the UK legal system and recent case law.

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