David Chirico


David works for claimants in all areas of immigration and asylum law. He is committed to representing clients who are vulnerable, in the face of increasingly restrictive rules and legislation, of attacks on the right to publicly funded representation, and of political hostility towards the independence of the judicial system and the protection of fundamental rights.

He works particularly with clients whose asylum claims raise issues relating to sexual/gender identity, with clients suffering from mental and physical illness, in cases involving complex family histories and needs, with clients whose cases are based on religious identity, with unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers, with clients faced with conducive deportation decisions under the old or the new (‘automatic’) provisions, and with clients facing removal to other EU states either under the Dublin Regulation or for public policy reasons. Many of his clients have been detained by the Secretary of State, and David has a growing practice in false imprisonment and related civil claims.

The majority of David’s clients have always been publicly funded, and, with the rest of the Immigration Team at 1 Pump Court, he is committed to the provision of high-quality representation to people who do not have the means to pay for it themselves. Recognising the imminent and devastating restrictions in scope for public funding, he is committed to continuing to represent meritorious and vulnerable clients who no longer fall within that scope, and to seeking workable models for that representation (through pro bono work, CFAs, agreed fees, and challenges to refusals of public funding on a case-by-case and/or class-action basis).

Alongside his work in (and on appeal from) the Tribunals, he has a large and varied judicial review practice, covering all areas of immigration law, including challenges to fresh claim and certification decisions, third-country cases, policy and implementation challenges, refusals to waive fees or permit access to public funds, and challenges to unlawful detention.


Called to the Bar in 2002, he previously worked in the Czech Republic for the European Roma Rights Center, doing both casework and strategic litigation on discrimination in the criminal justice system, access to education, and access to housing. On return to the UK, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Central European Studies at University College, London, and was regularly called upon to act as an expert on the situation of Czech and Slovak Roma at all levels of the immigration appellate system in the UK (see e.g R (ZL and VL) v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 25).

David has been at 1 Pump Court since 2002. In addition to giving open and in-house seminars on behalf of 1 Pump Court, David regularly trains for ILPA and for UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG). He volunteers regularly for Camden Community Law Centre and for UKLGIG.


Chambers and Partners 2013: “unanimously praised to researchers by an impressive number of leading claimant solicitors. His commitment to his clients and to the field of immigration law is total. His intellect, determination and work rate mean that "once you instruct him you want him on as many cases as possible."

Legal 500, 2012: “thoroughly competent

Main reported cases:

EM (Eritrea) and ors v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 1336 (lead case on approach to ECHR and Charter rights in the context of removals to Italy)

MS (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2012] EWCA Civ 1548 (correct approach to Sri Lankan Tamil cases involving release from detention on payment of a bribe)

R (EH (Rwanda)) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin) (unlawful detention of mentally ill torture survivor in breach of SSHD’s policies and Article 8: duties of Secretary of State in respect of detainees suffering from illness).

R (Medhanye) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 1799 (Admin) and [2011] EWHC 3012 (Admin) (lead case on evidence about conditions for asylum seekers in Italy).

RU (Bangladesh) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 651 (principles relating to Article 8 in context of ‘automatic’ deportation).

AP (Bangladesh) v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 551 (automatic deportation and Article 8: the Courts’ powers to intervene where appeals allowed at first instance).

R (Mjemer) v SSHD [2011] EWHC 1514 (Admin) (Third Hardial Singh principle: detention unlawful where insufficient prospect of removal of disputed national to Morocco within a reasonable period).

R (Choy) v SSHD [2011] EWHC 365 (Admin) (Hardial Singh principles: detention lawful where sufficient prospect of removal within a reasonable period).

R (Mohamed) v SSHD [2010] EWHC 640 (Admin) (principles relating to interim relief for Somali detainees who could not be removed within a reasonable period).

Navadunskis v SOCA and ors [2009] EWHC 1292 (Admin): (no ouster to challenges on human rights grounds to decisions of SOCA implementing extradition decisions; limited bases on which such challenges may succeed).

MM (Lebanon) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 382 (relevance of internal relocation in small countries (Lebanon))

R (PK (DRC)) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 302 (approach to fresh claim based on change in Country Guidance);

R (A) v SSHD [2008] EWHC 2844 (Admin) (discriminatory effect of DP5/96 in respect of unaccompanied children);

GM (Eritrea) and others v SSHD [2008] EWCA Civ 833 (standard of proof in cases where claimant’s subjective account is held to be incredible);

R (B (Algeria)) v SSHD [2007] EWHC 2528 (Admin): fresh claim based on openly gay identity in the UK and on the irreversibility of ‘coming out’;

FS (Pakistan) v SSHD [2006] UKAIT 00023 (risk to victims of domestic violence in Pakistan);

AH (Sudan) v SSHD [2006] UKAIT 00038 (nature and scope of reconsideration proceedings);

SP (Kosovo) v SSHD [2005] EWCA Civ 518 (approach to expert evidence in asylum cases).


Cambridge University (BA in Modern and Medieval Languages (Czech and French) – First Class (1990)
PhD in Czech Literature: Cambridge University (1995).


Immigration; civil liberties



David Chirico

David Chirico
Call: 2002

Civil & Public Law Group

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