In this year's 6th Kay Everett Memorial Lecture, barrister Mark Symes (Garden Court Chambers) will discuss seminal changes vis-á-vis the UK’s approach to refugee law

  • Assessing truth – the rise and fall of the low standard of proof
  • Persecution – did the key moment to properly address discrimination as persecution irrevocably pass?
  • Protection – when exactly was it appreciated that protection had to be effective?
  • Armed conflict – was the opportunity to help civilian victims of armed conflict missed?
  • European Union law – the UK’s embrace and rejection of the Common European Asylum System

There will also be a presentation of the Kay Everett Memorial Prize for the best SOAS Masters dissertation written on a human rights theme. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Event image
Photo credit: Garden Court Chambers

"I am very privileged to be invited to give this year’s Kay Everett Memorial Lecture. Kay was a passionate fighter for the most vulnerable of clients, many of them facing indefinite detention or immediate removal and was instrumental in establishing Wilsons’ public law department. After developing cancer, Kay fought the disease with tenacity and dignity and inspired all who knew and loved her."

About the Speaker

Mark is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal and a fellow of the Refugee Law Initiative at the Institute of Advanced Studies.

He represented the appellants in the leading United Kingdom cases relating to the armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq; in the key cases dealing with the Chinese “one child” policy; exclusion for complicity for war crimes; challenges to third country removals on human rights and European Union law grounds; the right to refugee status under the Charter and children’s health in the context of Articles 3 and 8 ECHR. He has additionally represented lead applicants, and appeared for intervenors, in the ECtHR, including in the landmark “Dublin” third country case of Tarakhel.

Mark is co-author of Asylum Law and Practice (described as “encyclopaedic... pre-eminent” by one Supreme Court judge); co-author of Immigration Appeals and Remedies Handbook (“invaluable … to the armoury of all … a compulsory addition to the library of every immigration judge and practitioner” - President of the Upper Tribunal Mr Justice McCloskey); and a contributor to MacDonalds Immigration Law and Practice.

Have a query about the event? Please send any queries to the event organisers at

All are welcome to attend the lecture and reception. For further details and to book a place please visit the Eventbrite page for the event. You can read more about Kay and details of previous lectures here.

Kay Everett

If you have a family law case you need assistance with, please contact Mavis on 0202 8885 7986 to arrange for an appointment with a solicitor in the family team.

Date and Time

Thu, 18 May 2023,
17:30 – 19:00 BST


Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre,
Brunei Gallery SOAS
Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

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