Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

David Burgess


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I have struggled to write anything that would do justice to the late David Burgess, who died a few weeks ago. I cannot let his death pass without acknowledgement on this website, though.

He died under an underground train and murder charges have been brought.

It is a tragically early end for a great, great lawyer. He almost single handedly invented good asylum case preparation based on detailed witness statements and good quality, specific country information. He was behind some of the biggest, defining early asylum cases. Until his death I had no idea that he had also been responsible for key transexual cases as well. I cannot highly enough commend the obituary by Chris Randall in the ILPA mailing, for those who are members, and that of Fiona Bawdon in The Guardian.

He attended a training course I was delivering a few years ago. In my haste to cover ground quickly I mangled the facts of the Strasbourg Chahal case, THE leading case on the primacy of core human rights over national security interests. A feminine looking man with a shock of white hair on the front row corrected me. We chatted during the break and I discovered he was David Burgess, whose client Mr Chahal had been. As an aside, it is one of the indignities of the late Legal Services Commission’s ridiculous immigration accreditation scheme that David had to sit in on a basic course on his own cases in order to undertake voluntary work at the Medical Foundation.

David Burgess left the world a better place than he found it. One cannot hope to do more.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.