|Solange Valdez-Symonds|| |
Solange is PRCBC’s supervising solicitor and CEO. She is 15 years PQE and has over 20 years experience in nationality and immigration law. Solange is a Law Society Level 3 Advanced Accredited Immigration Supervisor. She delivers training for PRCBC and other umbrella and community organisations. Solange specialises in and is heavily committed to nationality law. She does external policy and strategic work to improve the condition and rights of migrants and their family members. Her main areas of interest are working with migrant children and children born to migrant parentsIn 2014, Solange was shortlisted Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the immigration category. Solange is the 2017 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the Children’s Rights category.
Solange contributed to “Citizenship in Times of Turmoil?” (Theory, practice and policy.Higher Court cases where she has acted as instructing solicitor include:
i) VF (litigation friend OT) v SSHD  EWHC 3138 (Admin): Challenge to children’s registration fee, the profit making aspect of the fee and failure to have regard to best interests of the child.Treated as academic by the High Court after VF’s fee was paid by a private donor. Permission was granted by the Court of Appeal (C4/2017/3410) against the decision to treat the matter as academic. VF was remitted to the High Court to be heard with PRCBC main citizenship fee challenge but has now settled.ii) O v SSHD and A v SSHD, CO/751/2019 are two cases of child claimants. These were heard with PRCBC’s citizenship high court fee challenge  EWHC 3536 (Admin)
PRCBC and the two child claimants made two main legal arguments: First, that the law does not allow such a high fee. Second, the Home Office acted unlawfully in setting the fee because it did not consider the best interests of the children affected. The High Court rejected the first argument. It ruled that the Court of Appeal had previously decided this issue in favour of the Home Office. A similar judgment was delivered by the Court of Appeal
. This case is now waiting judgment from the Supreme court after a hearing in June 2021.
iii) OGA v SSHD (CO/1734/2017): Challenge to the exclusion from the domestic violence rules in Appendix FM of partners of persons settled in the UK under rules relating to Tier 1 Migrants.iv) Carlos Cyrus v SSHD  EWHC 918 (Admin): Restoration of ILR pending human rights appeal against deportation.
v) BE (litigation friend) v SSHD  EWHC 905 (Admin): Unlawful decision to refuse registration of a child as a British citizen.vi) “T” v SSHD  EWHC 2453 (Admin): Destitute Domestic Violence Concession and ILR under the Domestic Violence provisions in relation to post-flight spouses of refugees.vi) Agyeikum v SSHD  EWHC 1828 (Admin): Fresh claims, mental health and unlawful detention.
vii) JB (Jamaica) v SSHD  EWCA Civ 666: Unlawful detention under the Detained Fast Track (DFT) and whether treating Jamaica as a safe country under section 94 off the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 was lawful given risk of persecution of LGBT people in Jamaica. The latter issue was decided by the Supreme Court.viii)BN v SSHD  EWHC 2367 (Admin): Securing the return to the UK of a mother separated from her children by her unlawful removal while her fresh claim remained pending.
ix) Ali v SSHD  EWHC 1983 (Admin): Concerning the Secretary of State’s discretion to register children as British citizens under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981.
|Neelma Iqbal||Neelma is PRCBC’s Paralegal. She previously worked as a paralegal for MRC for three years doing PRCBC work. Prior to this, she worked as a Legal Assistant at Deighton Pierce Glynn for three years. Neelma completed her law degree from Sussex University and her LPC from Bristol UWE. She is looking into qualifying as a solicitor. |