Sonia Ahmad

I moved to the UK from Pakistan on the age of 17 to review economics and legislation at college. It grew to become clear to me that I used to be inclined in the direction of legislation. We make important profession selections as adolescents, often with none sensible perception as to what that profession entails. Nevertheless, I used to be fortunate that my resolution to pursue legislation was the precise one from the outset. I used to be a world pupil and subsequently not eligible for pupil loans – nonetheless, my dad and mom had been supportive and contributed in the direction of my college diploma. For the rest, I labored two jobs. I paid for the LPC by personal financial institution loans and the LLM with the assistance of a scholarship.

I used to be provided unpaid work expertise for 2 weeks at a central London legislation agency. I knew I needed to show myself inside this quick time. I labored around the clock, together with weekends, helping the litigation division. I used to be provided a full-time paid place and labored on the similar agency for greater than 5 years, throughout which period I used to be provided a coaching contract, certified as a solicitor and labored my method as much as affiliate solicitor. I moved to Banks Kelly in July 2017 and was provided a directorship a 12 months later. I used to be appointed director in January 2019.

I’ll always remember the day I used to be requested to change into a director at Banks Kelly. I used to be 29 and elated by the supply. I’m grateful to be part of Banks Kelly, which is sort of a second household, and am lucky to be working with the most effective co-directors one may ask for.

I’ve had the chance to work on a number of fascinating instances. I’ve been instructed on groundbreaking public legislation issues, civil and prison investigations, cross-border litigation issues, and represented and efficiently de-listed candidates listed on the EU sanctions lists both at hearings earlier than the Normal Court docket in Luxembourg, or by making detailed representations to the EU Council.

My instances have included challenges towards authorities businesses together with the Nationwide Crime Company, HMRC, Metropolitan Police Service, CPS and native councils. In such instances, my intention on behalf of my shoppers is to make sure that authorities businesses are exercising their powers and duties lawfully.

I’ve acted for a household and their firms since 2015 in varied claims, together with efficiently difficult search warrants and a manufacturing order obtained by the NCA, which had been quashed. I additionally acted for them in efficiently difficult authorisations for property interference and had approval by a surveillance commissioner to permit covert surveillance at their firm HQ quashed. This case resulted within the Investigatory Powers Tribunal making the primary recognized award for prices, towards the NCA, in favour of the household.

My intention on behalf of my shoppers is to make sure that authorities businesses are exercising their powers and duties lawfully

Because of these actions, the NCA’s Operation Heterodon was the topic of huge public criticism and political curiosity. The case caused a change within the system, beginning with Lynne Owens being appointed because the NCA’s director, and the announcement of an inner inquiry and assessment of the processes and requirements round functions for warrants and manufacturing orders. I continued to behave for the household in a declare for damages on the Queen’s Bench Division and obtained a settlement and an apology from the NCA.

I’m coping with comparable authorized challenges towards authorities businesses. These take care of novel factors of legislation within the realms of privateness, surveillance and the legality of data being handed between authorities businesses. I’m additionally instructed by outstanding people and households in relation to civil and prison investigations, account freezing orders and account forfeiture orders. In some high-profile instances, I’ve secured anonymity or personal proceedings to guard my shoppers’ reputations. I’ve additionally acted for shoppers in defamation claims, acquiring apologies and corrections by information and media platforms.

Working lengthy hours is inevitable, as I’m typically coping with shoppers in numerous jurisdictions. I wish to be sure that I can present shoppers with fixed assist and work exhausting to attain the most effective outcomes for them. Having mentioned that, it’s all about stability and placing within the hours when required; and taking a break and spending time with my fantastic husband, household and associates when potential.

I’ve so many memorable profession highlights – in all probability every time I get a profitable end result for a consumer. It’s undoubtedly essentially the most rewarding side of a lawyer’s job. In prison instances that is all of the extra crucial as a result of the ramifications for the wrongly accused may be devastating.