Emma Harris

Call: 2011

Practice areas

Public Access : Yes


  • LLB (Hons), 2:1 (University of Warwick)
  • Bar Professional Training Course, Very Competent (Nottingham Law School)


Emma has a mixed common-law practice covering the areas of Immigration, Refugee & Asylum, Administrative/Judicial Review and Civil law. She welcomes instructions that are either privately funded or legally aided and is also happy to assist on a Public Access basis where appropriate.

Emma has created the Nationality Advice Service which provides assistance either directly on a Public Access basis or through a solicitor with all matters relating to British Nationality and Citizenship including Status Tracing, Advice on Eligibility to Apply for British Citizenship (or Indefinite Leave to Remain) and Application Checking. Emma has experience in assisting people with all kinds of British Citizenship including British Overseas Citizens and British National (Overseas) Citizens as well as people who are Stateless.


Emma’s work in Immigration Law has included assisting and advising on applications within the Points Based System, drafting Administrative Reviews, and she appears regularly in the Tribunal on Article 8 and EEA matters.

Her Refugee and Asylum work means that she frequently receives instructions to appear in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals, as well as providing advice, drafting witness statements and drafting grounds of appeal. Emma already has particular experience assisting clients from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Albania, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Turkey and Vietnam in cases where the issues include political opinion, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, age, trafficking and the risk of honour killing but she is always ready and willing to assist in new areas as they arise.

Emma also has experience in advising and representing on nationality and statelessness matters including for former Malaysian nationals who have taken British Overseas Citizen (“BOC”) status and for children born in the UK without a nationality.

Emma is routinely instructed in Judicial Review proceedings including drafting grounds and appearing at the Upper Tribunal both at the permission and full hearing stages. Particular areas of expertise include challenging the certification of decisions, refusal to treat decisions as fresh claims and failures by the Home Office to correctly interpret legislation or to apply their own policies/guidance.


Emma has developed her practise in many areas of Civil Law, and she advises and appears on behalf of clients in the County Court on applications and trials conducted on the Fast-Track and Multi-Track. In addition to those set out below, Emma has experience of contractual disputes, debt recovery, insolvency and harassment proceedings.

Landlord & Tenant: Emma acts for Landlords and Tenants in the fields of residential and commercial property including in claims for possession, forfeiture and in 1954 Act proceedings.

Property law: Emma advises and litigates all aspects of real property, including boundary disputes, nuisance, trespass, adverse possession, and legal and equitable interests in land.

Public Access

Emma is qualified and registered to accept instruction on a Public Access basis. She is happy to accept Public Access instruction in the areas of Immigration and Civil Law where appropriate.

Related Cases

Emma Harris, led by Sarabjit Singh QC of 1 Crown Office Row and instructed by Barnes, Harrild & Dyer Solicitors, appeared in the reported case of Teh v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 1586 (Admin) in which it was successfully argued that British Overseas Citizens (“BOCs”) holding no other nationality are stateless for the purposes of Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and paragraph 401 of the Immigration Rules.

British Overseas Citizenship is a relic of Colonialism held by many individuals whose parents were born in former British Colonies before those countries gained their independence. The status does entitle its holder to a British passport but it gives a person no right to live in the UK or in any other country. In 2002, those who held only BOC passports became entitled to register as full British Citizens (by the operation of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which introduced s.4B to the British Nationality Act 1981). However, any person who renounced or voluntarily lost another nationality after July 2002 was excluded from registering for full British Citizenship. Unfortunately, a large number of BOCs who also held Malaysian Citizenship upon arriving in the UK, received poor legal advice and were encouraged by their advisers to renounce their Malaysian Citizenship even after July 2002 in the mistaken belief that this was still a route open to them to obtain full British Citizenship. Those who did so, however, found themselves in legal limbo; unable to complete the transition to full British Citizenship, with no legal right to remain in the UK despite their British passports and, having renounced their Malaysian Citizenship, with no explicit right to return to Malaysia either.

In Teh it was held that such persons, because their BOC passports do not entitle them to live anywhere in the world, are stateless for the purposes of the 1954 Convention as they are not considered as nationals by any State under the operation of its law.

In order to obtain limited leave to remain in the UK as a stateless person, however, a person must also satisfy the other requirements set out in paragraph 403 of the Immigration Rules which includes a requirement to demonstrate that the Claimant is not “admissible” to any other country.

Although it was conceded by the Defendant that there is no written agreement in place between the UK government and the Malaysian Authorities, and that the agreed policy that has been in place since 2014 has yet to be made public, the Judge found that the Claimant had failed to demonstrate that this policy is not operational and that former-Malaysian BOCs are not “admissible” to Malaysia for the purposes of paragraph 403(c) of the Immigration Rules.


  • Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association


  • Middle Temple Benefactor’s Scholarship Award

Related news

Emma Harris
10 King's Bench Walk
London EC4Y 7EB
(t) +44 (0)20 7353 7742
(f) +44 (0)20 7583 0579
(DX) 24 LDE