Keelin McCarthy


Year of Call: 2007

Practice Group(s): Immigration, Public & Regulatory

Portrait of Keelin McCarthy

BA History, Christ's College, Cambridge University
MA Japanese Studies (Distinction), Essex University
MSc Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University
LLB (Graduate) (First Class), Nottingham Trent University

Practice Profile:
Keelin practises in all areas of asylum, immigration and nationality law, as well as related human rights, public, civil and family law.


Keelin's practice encompasses all areas of immigration, including: corporate immigration and sponsor licences; the Points Based System; Ankara Agreement; spouse and family applications; Article 8 family and private life appeals under the post-July 2012 rules; European free movement; deportation; mandatory refusals; human trafficking; domestic violence; human rights applications; legacy programme cases; nationality; naturalisation applications.

Keelin's asylum and humanitarian protection cases have recently included: challenges to Dublin II removals; gender and sexuality-related persecution; persecution on basis of political view or religion (particular experience of China, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea); persecution arising from deprivation of nationality or from "non-citizen" status (particularly Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cote d'Ivoire, South Sudan); unaccompanied minor and age-disputed cases.

Immigration and Family

Keelin has particular interest in cases presenting overlapping immigration/family law issues and has advised on the Hague Adoption Convention as well as international adoption from non-Hague Convention countries. She has particular interest in the immigration and nationality implications of international adoption and surrogacy arrangements.


Keelin has a strong interest in statelessness issues with case experience of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Latvia and Estonia.


Keelin's public law practice focuses on judicial review of immigration and asylum decisions, including Dublin II removals, legacy cases, unreasonable delay in decision making, unlawful detention, refusals to accept fresh claims and refusals on grounds of conduct and associations.

Keelin is experienced in applying for emergency and out-of-hours injunctions.


Keelin specialises in civil cases raising Human Rights Act issues, notably unlawful detention (Article 5 ECHR) and breach of confidence/privacy (Article 8 ECHR).

Pro Bono

Keelin is committed to pro bono cases and receives instructions from BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees) and law centres.

Further Professional Information:
Keelin is Public Access Qualified. Please see the Public Access area of our website for more information on whether this may be appropriate in your case.

Before becoming a barrister Keelin worked in the international development sector, gaining particular experience of human rights issues in Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, as well as in the North-East Asia region.

She has conducted consultancy, research and/or pro bono work for the UK Department for International Development, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Liberty (National Council for Civil Liberties), Amicus/Reprieve, the Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, Bail for Immigration Detainees, the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

Keelin is an experienced teacher and regularly conducts training on asylum, immigration and judicial review for solicitors and law centres. She is a regular trainer on human rights law for HJT Training. She has recently lectured on unlawful detention, EU free movement, human trafficking, the rights and best interests of the child, and the Points Based System.

Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA)
Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
Human Rights Lawyers' Association (HRLA)
European Network on Statelessness (ENS)

Keelin speaks good Japanese (日本語能力試験一級), good French and basic Chinese (Mandarin).