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Judicial appointments latest: presenting officer becomes immigration judge


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Another five salaried judges have been appointed to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in the past fortnight, all to be based in London.

  • Joe Neville, 37, solicitor turned barrister. A former legal blogger – which activity is actually permitted by the judicial conduct guidelines – focusing on employment law, but more recently practising in commercial and immigration.
  • Margaret O’Keeffe, 56, solicitor. A fee-paid immigration judge for over a decade.
  • Mark Blundell, 39, barrister. A former Home Office presenting officer – the first, we think, to become a salaried judge. Appointed a fee-paid immigration judge in 2011, shortly after beginning pupillage at Lamb Building.
  • Jo Swaney, 43, solicitor. Immigration expert. Senior solicitor at Coram Children’s Legal Centre, sits on the Law Society’s immigration law committee, co-author of the forthcoming edition of Phelan & Gillespie.
  • Sean O’Brien, 54, barrister. An employment specialist with several years’ experience as a fee-paid employment judge. Before call to the bar, spent two decades in the Royal Air Force and “concluded his career in the British Embassy in Moscow”, according to a chambers profile.

The judicial appointments just keep coming: this post reports the 11 judges selected in early January.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.