Azeem Suterwalla

Call 2004
Education
BA (Oxon) Modern History 1st Class MA (Harvard) Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, Thesis with Distinction
Contact

+44 (0)20 7405 7211

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Azeem is a specialist in Judicial Review and Public Procurement law and undertakes litigation and advisory work in these fields. Azeem also undertakes cases with an EU law dimension, including competition work. He is recommended in Chambers UK as a leading practitioner across three practice areas: Administrative/Public Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights and Community Care. He has been described as having “amazing” knowledge and “the respect of the court”, as a “courageous advocate who really pushes the boundaries”, as well as “Bright and creative” and a “junior who is going places.”

Azeem specialises in public and human rights law across a range of subject areas, notably children related (including education), community care and mental health, data and information, immigration and asylum and social housing. Many of his cases involve the application of fundamental human rights.

Azeem also specialises in public procurement law and commercial judicial review. His past clients have included commercial operators, local authorities and other public bodies. His recent work in EU and competition law includes acting (together with Daniel Beard QC) for a major global pharmaceutical company in a patent dispute with another such company and ongoing litigation (presently pending a preliminary ruling by the CJEU) with respect to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 – Secretary of State for the Home Department v Davis [2015] EWCA Civ 1185; [2016] HRLR 1.

In addition to his High Court practice, Azeem is regularly instructed in appeals in the Court of Appeal and has worked on litigation at all levels up to the House of Lords/Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Azeem also regularly undertakes work in the Court of Protection.

  • Administrative and Public Law and Human Rights

    Azeem has undertaken judicial review cases across a number of different areas. Notable cases include:

    • R (T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and Secretary of State or the Home Department [2014] 3 WLR 96. The Supreme Court held that the disclosure provisions of the Police Act 1997 – requiring all cautions and convictions to be disclosed on criminal record certificates – were incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention.
    • R (MK) v LB Barking and Dagenham [2013] EWHC 3486 (Admin). The first case to consider the scope of s. 1 of the Localism Act 2011, in the context of the provision of community care services, as well as the scope of s. 17(3) of the Children Act 1989.
    • R (ES) v LB Barking and Dagenham [2013] EWHC 691 (Admin). The local authority’s refusal to provide the claimant with Children Act 1989 support, because she was a failed asylum seeker, was unlawful.
    • R (R) v Croydon LBC [2013] EWHC 4243 (Admin). The local authority was bound to treat the claimant as a former relevant child because it had wrongly assessed his age when he was a child, and therefore must be taken to have “looked after” him until he turned 18.
    • R (RMC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 1681. The Police’s policy of retaining photographs of persons not convicted of a crime was in breach of Article 8.
    • R (AE) v Croydon LBC [2012] EWCA Civ 547. The first successful appeal in the Court of Appeal against a finding of fact made in the High Court of an age disputed minor’s age.
    • R (HA) v Hillingdon LBC [2012] EWHC 291 (Admin). Guidance given by the High Court on when a continuing duty under the Children Act 1989 subsists against a local authority, notwithstanding that the child in question has moved out of its area.
    • R (GC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] 1 WLR 1230. A decision of the Supreme Court that the ACPO policy allowing the continued retention of DNA and fingerprint data, in the light of the decision in S v UK, was unlawful.
    • R (J) v Croydon LBC [2011] EWHC 3970 (Admin). Guidance was given as to when it was appropriate for the High Court to transfer age dispute cases to the Upper Tribunal.
    • R (B) v Nottingham City Council [2011] EWHC 2933 (Admin). The High Court considered in what circumstances a “retrospective” duty arose under s. 20 of the Children Act 1989.
    • R (JF) v Hackney LBC [2010] EWHC 3130 (Admin). The local authority had acted unlawfully in failing to put in place a specific and particularised care plan to meet the needs of a severely autistic child.
    • R (G) v The London Borough of Southwark [2009] 1 WLR 1299. Successful Supreme Court appeal as to the meaning and scope of s. 20 of the Children Act 1989 and the interrelationship between that Act and the Housing Act 1996.
    • R (A) v The London Borough of Croydon [2009] EWHC 939 Admin; [2009] Fam. Law 659. The High Court ruled on the correct role of pediatric evidence when assessing the age of age disputed minors.
    • R (Jones) v Nottingham City Council [2009] EWHC 271 (Admin); [2009] ACD 42. This case concerned the scope of the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court in revisiting orders made on costs.
    • R (M) v The London Borough of Sutton [2007] EWCA Civ 1205; [2008] ELR 123. An appeal in the Court of Appeal concerning whether local education authorities were under an obligation to provide parents of children with special education needs with a specific choice of schools before absolving themselves of a duty to provide school transport.
  • Procurement

    Azeem is experienced in all areas of Public Procurement litigation and advisory work.
    Recent highlights include:

    • Openview Security Solutions Ltd v London Borough of Merton [2015] EWHC 2694 (TCC); [2015] B.L.R. 735, a leading case on the appropriate test as to when an automatic suspension of a contract should be lifted.
    • Advising a treasured national institution in a high profile case relating to the loss of a contract for which it had been the incumbent for 93 years.
    • Advising a major national organisation as to the potential implications of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States, including the public procurement ramifications of TTIP.

    Additionally, Azeem’s expertise in Judicial Review makes him particularly well suited to deal with litigation where there is an overlap between public law and public procurement issues. He has advised on cases arising out of local authority financing decisions as well as consultation challenges. A significant proportion of Azeem’s commercial Judicial Review work centres on disputes over contract decision making by public bodies.

    Further examples of Azeem’s work include: acting for a University against an NHS trust regarding the allocation of a contract for the training of medical professionals; acting for claimants challenging the implementation of council tax reduction schemes; and acting for the provider of a multi-million pound domiciliary care contract against a local authority, which had terminated that contract.

  • Commercial/Competition

    Azeem undertakes general commercial work involving EU law principles. Recent cases include:

    • Acting (together with Daniel Beard QC) for a major global pharmaceutical company in a patent dispute with another such company, where a key defence to the claim was based on competition law principles Generics (UK) Limited trading as Mylan v Warner-Lambert Company LLC v Secretary of State for Health [2015] EWHC 2548 (Pat)
    • Acting (together with Philip Moser QC) for a Californian company in defence of a claim by a UK agent under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (Brand Studio Ltd v St John Knits Inc [2015] EWHC 3143 (QB); [2015] Bus LR 1421).
  • Freedom of Information and Data Protection

    Azeem regularly advises on Freedom of Information and Data Protection matters. He was junior counsel in the four leading cases governing the use of information by the police:

    • R (T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and Secretary of State or the Home Department [2014] 3 WLR 96. The Supreme Court held that the disclosure provisions of the Police Act 1997 – requiring all cautions and convictions to be disclosed on criminal record certificates – were incompatible with Article 8 of the Convention.
    • R (GC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2011] 1 WLR 1230. A decision of the Supreme Court that the ACPO policy allowing the continued retention of DNA and fingerprint data, in the light of the decision in S v UK, was unlawful.
    • R (RMC) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 1681. The Police’s policy of retaining photographs of persons not convicted of a crime was in breach of Article 8.
    • S v The United Kingdom [2008] 48 EHRR 50. Before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. The Court held that the indefinite retention of DNA and fingerprint data in respect of persons not convicted of a crime constituted a violation of their Article 8 rights.

    Azeem is the author of “Collection and Retention of Person Data” in “Human Rights in the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime” (2009), OUP, ed. Madeleine Colvin and Jonathan Cooper.

  • Additional Information

    Before coming to the Bar Azeem worked for the United Nations in the Middle East (Gaza City) and was a Judicial Assistant to the former Master of the Rolls, now Supreme Court Justice Lord Clarke. He was awarded a Major Scholarship from Inner Temple for the PgDL (2002) and was a Chapman Scholar during the BVC year (2003).

    Azeem’s publications include:

    Children in Need: local authority support for children and families, LAG, 2013

    Judicial Review, Supperstone, Goudie and Walker, 5th ed.

    Collection and Retention of Personal Data in Human Rights in the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime, eds. Madeline Colvin and Jonathan Cooper, OUP 2009

    Azeem is a member of the Administrative Law Bar Association and the Human Rights Lawyers Association.

    Education

    BA (Oxon) Modern History 1st Class

    MA (Harvard) Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, Thesis with Distinction

    PgDL; Major Scholar, Inner Temple, 2002,

    Chapman Scholar, Inner Temple, 2003

    Languages

    Arabic (Intermediate)

    Memberships

    Administrative Law Bar Association

    Human Rights Lawyers Association

  • What The Directories Say

    Administrative & Public Law: “His drafting is really good, and tactically he is very strong.” “Brilliantly friendly, incredibly enthusiastic and he has an eye for detail. He can think through and unpick the most complex problems.” “His advocacy is really superb, he has the ear of the court.” Chambers UK, 2018

    Civil Liberties & Human Rights: “He is efficient and always ready to be helpful with queries.” “He is very pleasant and has a good manner with the court.”Chambers UK, 2018

    Community Care: “He is willing to discuss cases on an initial pre-funding basis, and he’s got a very good grasp of the leading care duties. He is very responsive, highly approachable and very good at making you feel comfortable.”- Chambers UK, 2018

    Leading junior in Civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police): ‘‘He is tenacious in his advocacy yet approaches each issue with sensitivity.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Administrative & Public Law: “Approachable and quick to turn around work. A sensible, pragmatic and no-nonsense approach. A very good trial lawyer. Easy to work with.” “He’s a very effective and engaging advocate.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Civil Liberties & Human Rights: “He’s a very good trial lawyer with a sensible, pragmatic, no-nonsense approach.” “Azeem Suterwalla is efficient and always ready to help with queries.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Community Care: “He takes a sensible, pragmatic and no-nonsense approach.” – Chambers UK, 2017

    Leading junior in Civil Liberties and Human Rights (including actions against the police): ‘‘Not afraid of a fight and strongly committed to his clients.’’ Legal 500, 2016

    Community Care: “It is a pleasure to be against Azeem. He is unflappable, tenacious and a real pro in anything to do with care users.” Chambers UK, 2016

    Civil Liberties & Human Rights: “He is great to work with – he has a very friendly, approachable style. He is in his element in court and when on his feet he deals with complicated cases without fuss and with total ease. He’s very succinct in his written work and very quick as well. He’s unflappable, you can chuck urgent cases at him and he will churn them out.” Chambers UK, 2016

    Administrative & Public Law: “He’s great, good and effective. He fights well for his clients and is a delightful person and a fair opponent.” “He’s very passionate about the rights of children.” – Chambers UK, 2016

    ”A deep understanding of privacy and security cases.” Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law. Legal 500, 2015

    Administrative & Public Law: “He fights tooth and nail for the client, the quality of his written work is very good and he has a very confident and assured courtroom manner.” “He’s a very nice opponent, but doesn’t pull any punches and is effective.” – Chambers UK, 2015

    Civil Liberties & Human Rights: “He is very capable and has a very good grasp of what is needed to assist the client.” Chambers UK, 2015

    Community Care: “Extremely engaged and a very good tactician.” “Really bright and pleasant to deal with.”Chambers UK, 2015

    Under Administrative and Public Law (2014):

    Handles public law cases concerning the rights of prisoners, vulnerable adults, asylum seekers and children. He is also interested in matters relating to education.

    Expertise: “His knowledge is amazing, and he makes himself available to answer queries.”

    Recent work: Acted against the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The case challenged the police’s policy of retaining photographs of suspects subsequent to their being released without conviction.

    Under Civil Liberties and Human Rights (2014):

    Specialises in the human rights aspects of cases concerning asylum, prisoners’ rights, social housing, education, disability and police retention of information. He demonstrates additional expertise in civil liberties cases arising in the field of public law.

    Expertise: “His knowledge is amazing and he makes himself available to answer queries.” “He has a very good understanding of his areas of law and is a very good advocate.”

    Recent work: Acted for the claimants in a case brought to determine whether the police’s retention of photographs of suspects who were not convicted of any crime was in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Under Community Care (2014):

    This promising junior has acted as sole counsel in both the High Court and Court of Appeal, and also appeared as junior counsel in the ECHR. Receives notable praise for his expertise in age assessment cases, and also specialises in work related to vulnerable and disabled children and adults.

    Expertise: “He certainly has the respect of the court. He has quite a wide focus, but he is a big presence in age assessment cases.”

    Recent work: Represented the claimant in R (R) v LB Croydon on leaving care duties under the Children Act 1989.

    Earlier years include:

    “His broad practice has caught the attention of his peers at the Bar, and his impact on clients is clear: ‘Within 20 minutes, everyone was laughing and smiling – the clients were happy because of his sense of authority and the fact that he’d clearly really understood the case.’ – 2013

    “Bright and creative and makes real inroads.” – 2013

    “Impresses with his responsive advice and creative approach to problem solving” – 2013

    “a courageous advocate who ‘really pushes the boundaries’” – 2012

    “a junior who is going places” and “excellent on the papers and has a great grasp of the issues” – 2011

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