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Thursday, 30 September 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Immigration Act 1971: Celebrated or Flawed?

Professor Leslie Thomas QC, David Neale

Commonwealth citizens once enjoyed the right to live, work and settle in the UK without any restrictions. But a racist backlash against Black and Asian immigration led to legislators introducing immigration controls in the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962, which were broadened by the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968 to deprive East African Asians of the right to settle in the UK. 

Its shameful successor, the Immigration Act 1971 continues to form the basis of our xenophobic immigration laws today.

Image © David Woolfall CC-BY-3.0


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Professor Leslie Thomas QC was appointed Gresham Professor of Law in 2020. 

He is one of the top rated silks in the country, ranked leading individual by both Chambers and the Legal 500 (2020). He has been a QC since 2014. He was educated at a South London comprehensive and studied law at Kingston University. 

Professor Thomas is a leading expert in claims against the police and other public authorities, and claims against corporate bodies, with expertise across the full spectrum of civil wrongs, civil litigation, human rights, data and privacy claims. He is an expert in all aspects of inquests and public inquiries, having represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been abuse of state or corporate power. 

As well as winning cases, Thomas has won a string of awards for his work and has been called to the Bar in several other international legal jurisdictions. 

Until 31 January 2020, Professor Thomas served as a joint Heads of Chambers at Garden Court Chambers. He is a Bencher to the Inner Temple, where he is also Deputy Master for inclusivity and diversity. He is on the Bar Standards Board, the bar’s regulatory body. He has also served on the management committee of Liberty and the Central London Law Centre. He is also Visiting Professor of Law at Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Thomas's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Race, Colonialism and Power in the Legal System

2020/21 Death, The State and Human Rights


All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Law can be accessed here

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David Neale has been the legal researcher at Garden Court Chambers since January 2018. He was called to the Bar in 2013 and practised as a barrister from 2014-2017, specialising in immigration and asylum law. 

In his current role he provides expert legal research and analysis to barristers. He also works closely with the Migrant and Refugee Children's Legal Unit (MiCLU) at Islington Law Centre to improve outcomes for Albanian asylum-seeking children and young people. He is a co-General Editor of the 10th edition of Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice, the leading textbook on immigration law. 

He is an Assistant Consultant Editor of Volume 4 (British nationality) of the 5th edition of Halsbury's Laws of England, a contributor to Butterworths Immigration Law Service, and has been published in Judicial Review and Legal Action. He is a co-author of the Helen Bamber Foundation publication "Bridging a Protection Gap: Disability and the Refugee Convention".

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