Borderline Justice: The fight for refugee and migrant rights
by Frances Webber,
Published by Pluto Press, October 2012
Asylum and immigration law was described late last year, by one of its current leading barristers Colin Yeo, as “the hardest and most bitterly fought, most controversial, most convoluted, perhaps most poorly funded and surely most tilted legal battlegrounds between the individual and the state”. Practitioners nodding in agreement would do well to pick up Frances Webber’s lucid, compelling and often angry book.
Formerly a barrister at Garden Court, she was part of a generation of activist lawyers who, since the 1970s, expanded the reach of public and human rights law into an area characterised by ever more restrictive decision-making and regressive politics. Whether battling the “culture of disbelief” in tribunals or arguing points of law before the House of Lords, she maintains that real advocacy means putting “the reality of clients’ lives into focus to judges inevitably insulated by their position of privilege and under political, bureaucratic and time pressure to see cases as purely intellectual exercises”.