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- L.L.B (Hons) English Law with French Law, The University of Manchester
- Diplôme d’études Universitaires Françaises (DEUF – Droit), L’Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III
- B.P.T.C, The University of Law
Maria is a skilled and robust advocate whose practice encompasses all aspects of immigration law with a significant focus on international protection, human rights and public law. Maria has substantial expertise in representing vulnerable clients, whether due to age, lack of capacity or serious trauma in complex litigation.
Maria has a busy court practice, appearing almost daily in the First Tier and Upper Tribunals of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber; Maria has also appeared in the Administrative Court and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Maria has been described by a First Tier Tribunal Judge as having “…an unusually high level of skill and presence”.
Prior to commencing pupillage Maria gained substantial legal experience both in this jurisdiction and abroad, with a particular focus on human rights law. Maria spent three months interning at the state defender office in New Orleans, Louisiana, which represents all individuals at post-conviction appeal stage on death row.
Maria maintains a strong commitment to pro bono work; as Panel Counsel at Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit), she has assisted a family for over two years in their complex immigration litigation. Maria also spent time volunteering at a law clinic for Refugee Legal Support in Greece during the height of the refugee crisis in 2017. Maria sits on the Executive Board of Vocalise, a programme run by Gray’s Inn which teaches British Parliamentary Debating to prisoners, having previously been a director.
Maria is regularly instructed in publicly and privately funded appeals in both the First Tier and Upper Tribunals of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber; she has represented individuals from over 20 countries ranging from fear of non-state agents in Chechnya, pro-Kurdish political activity in Turkey, to a real risk of a breach of ECHR Article 3 due to lack of documentation in Iraq. Maria is regarded as having a high level of emotional intelligence combined with fearless advocacy.
Maria is passionate about keeping families together and regularly receives instructions in complex ECHR Article 8 cases including those involving step-parents, on-going litigation in the family jurisdiction and periods of overstaying.
As well her busy court diary, Maria is also regularly instructed to advise and draft grounds of appeal as well as grounds seeking permission to bring judicial review proceedings.
Administrative & Public Law
Maria regularly drafts grounds seeking permission to bring judicial review proceedings including challenges to fresh claims under §353 of the Immigration Rules, economic migration, unlawful detention and certification. Maria has obtained permission to bring judicial review proceedings on the papers three times on the same matter, relating to the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa route which is now proceeding to a substantive hearing. Maria regularly appears in oral permission hearings at the Upper Tribunal.
Maria has also appeared in the Special Immigration Appeals Commissions challenging the Secretary of State’s refusal to naturalise pursuant to section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 (CY v SSHD, SN/73/2018).
International Protection & Human Rights
Maria has substantial experience of appellate level advocacy, both oral and written, and enjoys the analytical nature of appeal work.
Maria has successfully argued that Albanian former state agents who refused to engage in corrupt practises formed a distinct particular social group pursuant to Article 10(1)(d) of the Qualification Directive, thus creating a new subset of protection under the Refugee Convention (LK (Albania) v SSHD  UKAITUR PA088792016).
- KPDGKF v SSHD  UKAITUR PA039522018; successfully argued that the FtT Judge erred in failing to consider the appropriate starting point of the credibility assessment pursuant to Devaseelan and failed to apply the Sri Lankan in force country guidance in the assessment of plausibility
- MA v SSHD  UKAITUR PA057462018; successfully argued that the FtT Judge has materially erred in the consideration of the evidence of a relationship where the Appellant faced persecution on return to Pakistan due to his sexuality
- NSS v SSHD  UKAITUR HU161382016; successfully argued that the FtT Judge erred in law, inter alia, on the basis of inadequate consideration of the best interests of a British child pursuant to ZH (Tanzania)  UKSC 4 and jurisprudential authority on the removal of an EU child to a non-EU state
- (1) JM, (2) GJM, (3) JGJ v SSHD  UKAITUR HU055382015; successfully argued that the FtT Judge improperly conducted the ECHR Article 8 assessment in failing to come to a reasoned conclusion as to the best interests of the child prior to considering proportionality
- ED v SSHD  UKAITUR PA000322018; successfully argued, inter alia, that the FtT Judge failed to properly consider expert evidence as to the risk of re-trafficking and increased vulnerability on return to Albania as a result of an illegitimate child
- AD v SSHD  UKAITUR PA121282017; successfully argued, inter alia, that the FtT Judge failed to properly engage with objective evidence as to the treatment of HDP members in Turkey
- MA v SSHD  UKAITUR PA138442017; successfully argued the FtT materially erred in law in failing to grant an adjournment pursuant to Nwaigwe  UKUT 418
- SXU v SSHD  UKAITUR PA102352017; successfully argued that the FtT Judge erred in failing to apply UNHCR Guidelines in relation to the evidence of a minor who claimed real risk on return to Ethiopia due to political support of G7
Maria has been instructed as Junior Junior Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for over two years. Maria assisted in the disclosure exercise, drafted technical briefing notes disseminated to the Counsel team, responded to requests for information from experts and drafted sections of cross examination.
- The Ede & Ravenscroft Prize, The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (2015)
- The Churchill Scholarship, The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (2014)
- The Treasurer’s Award, The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (2014)
- French (fluent)
- Romanian (proficient)
- Portuguese (proficient)
Maria has lived in four countries and backpacked across two continents. In her spare time she enjoys Olympic weightlifting and drinking red wine, seldom simultaneously. Maria takes part in the Miscellany Christmas show at Gray’s Inn, ensuring she is never cast in a singing role.
- Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
- Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit)
- Bail for Immigration Detainees