Tel: 0161 832 4036
Fax: 0161 832 0370
DX: 718200 Manchester 3
Arlington House
Bloom Street
M3 6AJ

John Nicholson

  • Year of call: 2004



Top Ranked in Chambers & Partners 2012-2019 in Immigration and Civil Liberties & Human Rights:
A leading immigration barrister who has impressive experience of handling deportation and destitution cases for vulnerable clients. He also regularly advises on general immigration and asylum matters. A respected senior junior whose practice has a particular emphasis on immigration issues, such as detention and deportation. He regularly undertakes work on behalf of individuals seeking asylum or fleeing persecution, and is particularly noted for his deft handling of significant judicial review proceedings.
Recommendations: "A very able, reliable and experienced advocate. An immigration specialist who is admired for his depth of experience and excellent case preparation." "An excellent advocate." "He has good substantive knowledge of immigration law."
Recent work: Successfully represented a gay Ugandan man who won his appeal on the spot.

He is committed to training on these issues, especially on assisting practitioners with methods of winning their cases in practice.

John represented South Manchester Law Centre in successfully gaining permission for judicial review of the LSC's irrational contracting procedures in November 2010. Largely, if ironically, as a result of this, he was nominated for "Legal Aid Barrister" in the Legal Aid Lawyers of the Year Awards 2011, and succeeded in being shortlisted as a "Finalist" in these awards.

John is now Chair of the Greater Manchester Law Centre Management Committee.

He has also represented Claimants through the new Pro Bono scheme in the Administrative Court in Manchester. John is a member of the Bar Council's Civil (Public) Legal Aid Committee and Pro Bono Board.

John has worked widely in the voluntary sector in Greater Manchester, primarily managing Manchester's Council for Voluntary Services (1988-1990) and then developing George House Trust, initially known as Manchester Aidsline (1990-2000) which became a strong campaigning organisation for people with HIV in the North West of England.

John spent two years as a volunteer for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), advising health service managers and local community care groups in rural North West Namibia, before returning to undertake the Bar Course in Manchester.

He became Practice Manager of Bury Law Centre where he gained LSC accreditation in immigration and developed the Law Centre's work supporting families affected by the inhumane Section 9 of the 2004 Immigration and Asylum legislation. Bury Law Centre won a Financial Innovation Award in the Guardian's Public Services Awards in November 2005.

Client Recommendations:

"We at Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit instruct John regularly to appear for our clients in the Tribunal and the Higher Courts.  He has strong legal and analytical skills and a thorough understanding of this difficult and fast-changing area of law.  We value not only his legal expertise but also his understanding of the issues that our clients are dealing with, which comes in part from his background in the voluntary sector.  He shows real compassion and respect for our clients.  He does not see a case as just another case, but understands that there is a human being involved.  He never gives up and is willing to pursue cases that other lawyers may perceive as being too difficult.  He is willing to fight for our clients."  Ruth Heatley, Supervising Solicitor, GMIAU

John's qualities as a barrister are many.  He is very easy to work with.  He gives feedback to whichever caseworker has instructed him about the case and what has happened in Court.  He is completely engaging - listening carefully and following every point with great attention to detail.  He is so thorough,he doesn't miss or forget a point.  He has great client skills and he is a fighter".  Shakhura Dawood, Senior Caseworker, GMIAU

Reported Cases

  • Tologiwa v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2386 (Admin) : Best interests of a Nigerian child going through school here were to remain in this country.
  • R (on the Application of Suppiah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 2469 (Admin) CO/2572/2011 : Best interests of children who had experienced unlawful detention were to remain in this country.
  • South Manchester Law Centre v Legal Services Commission [2010] EWHC 3131 (Admin) : Defeated the Legal Services Commission in judicial review of their national immigration contracts.
  • B [2010] EWHC 2471 (Admin) and AA/1622/2010 : Banda, children's rights / 6 years in the UK.
  • Steve [2009] EWHC (Admin) 3465 and CO/6066/2009 (two Pakistan Christian cases)
  • Janus Khan [2009] and Shoaib Khan [2009] SC/77/81/82/83/2009 ("North West 10" Pakistan Students)
  • CN - W1048536 IA 11184/2008 and N1144683 IA 15240/2009 (A Jamaican member of a drugs gang, who gave evidence against her collaborators).
  • MS CO/2009/0241 (Deportation case 2007-2010)
  • CN CO/10796/2006 (Admin) (Fresh claim re: Sickle Cell Disease)
  • AF CO/10796/2006 (Admin) (Delay in Iraq asylum case)

Court of Appeal:

  • LN (Zimbabwe) [2010] EWCA Civ 576 (Pre-Screening Interview Note)
  • XY (Iran) [2008] EWCA Civ 911 (Gay man challenging failure to implement test in J (Iran))

Professional Memberships & Publications

  • Member of ILPA
  • Member of the Bar Council's Civil Legal Aid Panel Committee
  • Member of the Bar Council's Pro Bono Board
  • Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
  • Bar International Human Rights Organisation
  • Chair of Greater Manchester Law Centre (Management Committee)