Gwawr's practice extends across a number of inter-related areas, allowing her to take a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to any particular case. Throughout all areas of her work, she retains a passionate dedication to promoting human rights and defending civil liberties, and is especially committed to publicly funded practice.
Gwawr is passionate about safeguarding the rights of refugees and migrants, and is well respected amongst those who instruct her for her clear and pragmatic advice, her lucid presentation of complex or novel legal arguments, and her sensitivity in dealing with vulnerable or anxious clients, including children and those with mental health difficulties.
Although enjoying a busy practice across all areas of immigration law, she has a particular interest in cases which raise issues of international protection and/or human rights, and is committed to representing victims of torture, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, those who have been trafficked into the United Kingdom and those who have been unlawfully detained. She has particular experience of challenging adverse credibility findings on behalf of clients persecuted on account of their sexual orientation.
Gwawr has enjoyed particular success in challenging deportation decisions, drawing on her experience of criminal defence and prison law to bring valuable insight into issues surrounding criminal procedure, sentencing and risk assessment.
In addition, she has been called upon to advise and act in claims for judicial review, including:
Where necessary in order to obtain urgent injunctions, she is able to draft grounds at short notice.
Gwawr recently acted in a removal case which required her to undertake in-depth research into the acquisition of British Overseas Territories Citizenship by descendants of those forcibly removed from the Chagos Islands. This has whetted her appetite for nationality law, and she is keen to expand her practice into this area.
As a volunteer Tribunal representative with the Asylum Support Appeals Project, Gwawr is also able to advise on the repercussions of immigration decisions for asylum support eligibility.
Gwawr regularly accepts instructions on a pro bono basis, from law centres and from Bail for Immigration Detainees, and was until recently Trustee and Director of Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL), taking a particular interest in the organisation's advice service until its closure in early 2013.
Having worked as a paralegal at a leading prison law firm alongside her studies, Gwawr has a longstanding interest in the welfare of prisoners and detainees.
To that end, she regularly represents prisoners at adjudication and Parole Board hearings, and in civil actions against detaining authorities. She also has a busy judicial review practice in this area, recently accepting instructions in claims concerning issues such as
Gwawr is committed to promoting human rights and to holding public authorities to account, through judicial review and civil actions.
As a pupil, Gwawr assisted in the preparation of a number of high profile cases such as the challenge to the sex offender registration scheme as being incompatible with Article 8; the judicial review of the refusal of Legal Aid to enable the wife of one of the perpetrators of the 7/7 bombings to participate in the inquest; and the civil claim against the UK government by the Ay family, Kurdish asylum seekers who were to become the face of a controversy surrounding the government's policy of locking up children in high security detention centres.
More recently, she has:
Gwawr accepts instructions in a full range of housing matters, from possession proceedings, disrepair and unlawful eviction claims, to challenges to homelessness and allocations decisions. A skilful negotiator, Gwawr is astute to costs considerations (including public funding) and is especially sensitive to the fact that tenants and landlords often need to maintain a tolerable working relationship, notwithstanding ongoing litigation.
She particularly enjoys acting in cases which raise concurrent issues surrounding social security assessments and local authorities' community care duties. She has particular experience of challenging decisions to refuse or discontinue welfare support to asylum seekers/failed asylum seekers, having been a regular duty Tribunal representative with the Asylum Support Appeals Project since pupillage.
In addition, Gwawr offers expertise in litigating claims against local authorities in respect of decisions to refuse section 17 support to migrant children with no recourse to public funds: she recently co-founded Project 17, a charity set up to provide advice and advocacy assistance to families seeking to access statutory support, and to provide specialist training to not-for-profit organisations to enable them to better support migrant families without recourse to public funds.
Gwawr's meticulous preparation, tactical foresight and creative advocacy have earned her a busy Crown Court practice. She particularly enjoys the challenge of those cases which provide an opportunity for argument on contentious points of law and has been instructed to present legal argument before both the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal.
She has a particular interest in cases which overlap the criminal and immigration jurisdictions, having been instructed in matters including possessing false identity documents with intent, assisting unlawful immigration, and seeking leave to remain by deception.
She also has a strong background in representing defendants charged with offences arising from protests and demonstrations, ranging from summary only public order offences, matters of criminal damage and alleged assaults against police officers, to violent disorder. Her experience in undertaking actions against the police makes her especially well placed to advise as to the scope of police powers, whether as a defence to a criminal charge or in advising as to potential civil remedies following unlawful arrest or excessive use of force.
Examples of recent cases include:
In 2012, Gwawr travelled to Colombia as part of the Third International Caravana of Lawyers, joining lawyers and judges from various jurisdictions in a mission to monitor threats to human rights defenders, and to lobby the Colombian authorities to properly investigate these incidents so that those responsible can be brought to justice.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Gwawr interned at the Legal Aid Department in Lilongwe, Malawi (in conjunction with the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies, based at the University of Westminster), where she worked primarily on securing bail for homicide remandees, many of whom had been awaiting trial for in excess of six years. She subsequently remained in Malawi to take up the post of Legal Officer at the Centre for Legal Assistance. In that capacity, she facilitated workshops in prisons to promote access to justice by empowering prisoners to represent themselves as litigants in person. In addition, she worked on a number of important public interest cases, including
Gwawr has maintained a strong link with Malawi, having recently worked with the Bar Human Rights Committee and the Malawi Human Rights Commission on a judicial challenge to legislation allowing the President to ban radio broadcasts on the grounds of purported public interest.
She also maintains an active interest in international criminal law, building on experience gained within the Prosecution Division of the International Criminal Court. As a Legal Clerk at the ICC, Gwawr was assigned to the case of The Prosecutor v Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. Her tasks included drafting submissions on the scope of victims' participation in the proceedings; conducting comparative research on the admissibility of hearsay evidence in various common law, civil law and international jurisdictions; and disclosure review.
Gwawr is a native Welsh speaker; she also speaks French and German.