The Legacies of the 1962 and 1971 Immigration Acts: Historians and Lawyers in conversation

The Legacies of the 1962 and 1971 Immigration Acts: Historians and Lawyers in conversation
21 October 2021, 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Online- via Zoom

Hosted by the School of Advanced Study's AHRC-funded Windrush oral history project and the Institute of Historical Research's History & Policy network, this special round table discussion for Black History Month considers the legacies of the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act and the 1971 Immigration Act from historical and legal perspectives. The acts created a web of restrictions and obligations, further complicated by subsequent amendments, the nature of which continues to cause confusion even to specialists in this area. They provided the legal backdrop to the Windrush scandal in which many people from BAME communities found their right to live in the UK challenged by agents of the state. An expert panel will attempt to disentangle this issue, considering the intended and unintended consequences of the two acts.

Chair: Professor Philip Murphy (Institute of Commonwealth Studies and History & Policy) and Dr Juanita Cox (Research Fellow, The Windrush Scandal in its Transnational and Commonwealth Context at UoL)

Commentator: Dr Rob Waters

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Dr Nadine El-Enany (Birkbeck), author of '(B)ordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire' (2020)
  • Dr Ian Sanjay Patel (LSE), author of 'We're Here Because You Were There: Immigration and the End of Empire' (2021)
  • Colin Yeo (Barrister – Garden Court Chambers), author of Welcome to Britain: Fixing our Broken Immigration System (2020)
  • Rachel Okello (Solicitor) Member of the Home Office Windrush Engagement Forum
  • Niamh Quille (Birnberg Peirce Solicitors) 

Dr Nadine El-Enany is Senior Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law. Her 2020 book from MUP, Bordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire, sparked fresh debates about the legacies of Empire in the areas of immigration, asylum and nationality. She specializes in migration and refugee law, European Union law, protest and criminal law.

Dr Ian Sanjay Patel is LSE Fellow in Human Rights in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Drawing on new archival material from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, his 2021 from Verso, We're Here Because You Were There: Immigration and the End of Empire, traces the impact on the UK's post-war immigration acts on Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. 

Colin Yeo is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law. In 2020 he published Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, a book examining where we have gone wrong on immigration policy over the last thirty years and setting out some ideas for how to start putting things right. Colin also manages the Free Movement immigration law blog (, which he founded in 2007. Before becoming a barrister, he worked for two charities, the Immigration Advisory Service and Refugee Legal Service.

Rachel Okello is a Solicitor of 19 years. Her expertise centres around UK immigration law where there is a human rights element particularly involving the right to family and private life. She sat on the Home Office Windrush Advisory Group which was established by the Home Secretary in 2019. Rachel currently sits on the Home Office Windrush Engagement Forum which discusses how to continually reach out to and engage victims of the Windrush Scandal victims. Rachel is married with 4 children. She has an interest in agriculture and carries out farming projects in East Africa.

Niamh Quille is a caseworker and researcher in the criminal and civil departments at Birnberg Peirce solicitors where she assists in appeals against deprivations of citizenship and in extradition matters. Her MSc thesis at Oxford University analysed the construction of race in post-war migration legislation, focussing on the effect of the ‘hostile environment’ policies on the Windrush generation. She was called to the Bar in 2019. 

All welcome

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.


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