Barrister Profile


Year of Call: 2015

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Coroners or Inquests
Criminal Law


Prior to practice at the Bar, Helena gained extensive experience in the NGO sector. She worked as Litigation Officer at the AIRE (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe) Centre, a specialist law centre in London, and was responsible for management and drafting of the Centre’s litigation before the European Court of Human Rights, Court of Justice of European Union and national courts on cases including migrants’ rights, refugee protection, prisoners’ rights, unlawful detention, community care and family law. Helena supervised the centre’s advice line, providing written legal advice and representation to vulnerable EU migrants on social assistance and EU free movement law and worked as part of the AIRE Centre’s Balkans Rule of Law project providing training on European Human Rights law to the judiciary, prosecutors and lawyers in Serbia and Montenegro.

Subsequently Helena worked as a Legal Consultant at the Social Action Centre, Kiev, Ukraine, advising and training local lawyers in cases involving refugee protection and hate crime before the national courts and the European Court of Human Rights. She trained local NGOs, lawyers and INGOs in Kiev on litigation procedure before the ECtHR.

More recently Helena worked for the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (Niamh Wellbeing) as Policy Officer on the development of policy and responses to Government consultations including the Welfare Reform Bill, the Mental Capacity Bill and on issues such as workplace mental health, detention, stigma, suicide and health reform.


2010; University of Oxford, Worcester College, MA (Oxon), 2008 BA (Oxon) Jurisprudence (Law) Class 2.1

2015; Institute of Professional Legal Studies, PG Dip Professional Legal Studies, Commendation

Human Rights Lawyers Association Bursary


Helena was a Litigation Officer at the AIRE Centre, a NGO with standing before the ECHR granted by the President of the Court. This involved taking instructions, drafting legal submissions and third party interventions to the court and responding to government observations. Some of the notable cases she was involved in are below:

Immigration and Asylum:

Sufi &, Elmi v United Kingdom (ECHR) Applications nos. 8319/07 and 11449/07. Lead case on returns of persons seeking international protection to Somalia which found that indiscriminate violence in Somalia and dire humanitarian conditions in IDP camps and refugee camps were in breach of Article 3 EHCR;

MSS v Belgium & Greece (Grand Chamber ECHR) Application no. 30696/09, Joint Intervener with Amnesty International) , Lead case before the ECHR on returns of persons seeking international protection to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation;

NS v SSHD, ME v ORAC; (EWCA, Irish High Court, CJEU, joint Intervener with Amnesty International). Lead case before the CJEU on returns of persons seeking international protection to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation;

O’Donoghue and oths v United Kingdom, (ECHR) Application no. 34848/07. Certificate of Approval scheme which required migrants to apply to the Secretary of State for permission to marry and to pay a fee was found to be in violation of the right to marry, and the right to marry taken in conjunction with the prohibition on discrimination.

Hirsi Jamaa and oths v Italy; (Grand Chamber ECHR) Application no. 27765/09, Italian navy push-back of migrants at sea to Libya, including interaction of the law of the sea with the EU asylum acquis, ECHR and international refugee law protection standards;

J.H. v United Kingdom; (ECHR) Application no. 48839/09. Risk on return to Afghanistan of ill-treatment due to affiliation with PDPA;

Kadzoev v Bulgaria; (ECHR) Application no. 56437/07. Unlawful detention of asylum seeker, Interaction of EU Returns Directive with Article 5 ECHR (unlawful immigration detention)

Prison Law

Frodl v Austria (ECHR) Application no. 20201/04. Prohibition on prisoner’s voting rights in violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1, including monitoring UK implementation of Hirst v United Kingdom in submissions before Council of Europe PACE Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights;

HS & others v United Kingdom; (EWCA & ECHR) Application no. 16477/09. Rights of prisoner’s family to visit and maintain contact with father & husband, intra EU cross border prison transfer, Transfer of Sentenced Persons Convention;

L.L. v United Kingdom (ECHR) App No. 39678/09. Mixing of a female child in an adult prison in Jersey with an adult, this case considered the prohibitions on mixing in the UNCRC, the applicability of the UNCRC to Jersey and the UK and European Prison Rules.

Torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, protection of indigenous minorities:

The Chagos Islanders v United Kingdom; (ECHR) Application no. 35622/04, Forced removal of Islanders by Ministerial Order and failure to allow return or adequate compensation in order to allow US to build naval base on Diego Garcia.

Community Care:

X, Y & Z v United Kingdom (ECHR). Failure of local authority to protect adults with learning disabilities from foreseeable abuse amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.


European Cross Border Justice, A Case Study of the European Arrest Warrant, AIRE Centre (Contributor)

Case summaries for the European Human Rights Reports (EHRR)

Human Rights in Europe Bulletin, AIRE Centre (Co-editor)