Rita has an M.Sc. in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. She has been Director at Kalayaan since 2005. Her role includes management, fundraising, and direct support and advice to migrant domestic workers in the UK. Prior to working at Kalayaan, Rita worked in the campaign department of another NGO, supporting the land rights of indigenous people.
Alex graduated with an MA in Modern History from St. Hilda’s College Oxford and then qualified as a barrister. She practised in family, criminal and employment law before joining the Government Legal Service where she worked at the Court of Appeal and later at DEFRA. She spent 16 years in Hong Kong where she worked at and later chaired a charity that provided legal advice for migrant domestic workers, chiefly in employment and immigration law. She has also provided support to prisoners’ families and the homeless in volunteer roles.
Avril graduated with a law degree from the University of Kent. She originally trained as an immigration lawyer at Wilson Solicitors, specialising in representing victims of trafficking, torture and gender based persecution. Avril worked on challenges to decisions relying on incorrect application of Home Office policies including the reported case of Mutesi v SSHD. Avril moved to the Poppy Project in 2015 where she was part of the legal team helping the charity act as intervenor in the Detained Fast Track litigation. Avril joined Kalayaan in May 2016 as an OISC advisor providing direct advice and support to domestic workers. She is also leading on Kalayaan’s policy and campaign work to better improve the conditions and protections of domestic workers in the UK.
Marta graduated with a Masters Degree in Law from University of Wroclaw in Poland. Subsequently she completed Graduated Diploma in Law in South Bank University and Legal Practice Course in the University of West England. Marta trained in immigration law in Immigration Advisory Service after she became LSC Level 2 accredited in 2008. Further Marta trained in immigration and public law in Duncan Lewis Solicitors where she qualified as a solicitor in 2015. Her focus was on representing victims of human trafficking in both applications for being recognised as victims of human trafficking and for international protection. She represented a lead claimant who was a victim of trafficking in a group litigation challenge to the Detained Asylum Casework system. She took a part in a challenge of removals to Poland under Dublin III Convention which included a fact finding mission in Poland.
Ayesha’s expertise is in immigration, asylum and human rights law. She was a partner at Luqmani Thompson & Partners (LTP). After 14 years at LTP she joined the charity, Kalayaan, as a Solicitor, where she also contributes to their policy work. At LTP Ayesha established relationships with many non-governmental organisations, including the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and community groups. She has an acute awareness of the need to maintain high professional standards, with respect to legal casework and within the regulatory environment. Ayesha was one of the partners involved in LTP gaining the LEXCEL accreditation, the benchmark for high practice management standards. Ayesha was elected to the ILPA Committee of Trustees in 2012. She is also a trustee at Maternity Action, bringing her immigration and protection law perspective.
Rebecca has a BA in English from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS, University of London, where she also studied intermediate Urdu. She has previously worked as a caseworker for Mind in the borough of Wandsworth and, in voluntary and freelance capacities, with Migrants Organise and Football Beyond Borders.
Outside of the charity sector, she has worked as an intervention teaching assistant and a copyeditor at Hurst Publishers.
Sophie graduated with an MA in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh. She trained and worked as a Dispute Resolution associate at Baker McKenzie in London. In 2019, she left corporate law to pursue a career in human rights and humanitarian work. Before joining Kalayaan, Sophie studied an LLM in Public International Law at the University of London, volunteered for European Lawyers in Lesvos as an Asylum Lawyer, and worked for the United Nations’ Office of the Victims’ Rights Advocate in New York. At Kalayaan, Sophie provides legal advice and support to domestic workers, and contributes to Kalayaan’s policy work.
Dipa graduated with a law degree from the University of Hertfordshire. She then practiced as a commercial lawyer for a few years in Kenya before moving back to the UK. She has worked for various charities over the past 20 years as an Immigration caseworker and has managed a community centre as well. She has led a project dealing with women suffering from domestic violence. Apart from dealing with Immigration law, Dipa has considerable knowledge on social welfare law.
Dominic has been a contractor for Kalayaan since 2015. He oversees the provision of the English classes for our service users. He previously taught English to migrant domestic workers on Sundays with the Workers’ Educational Association. He has over 10 years experience of teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages – publicly funded classes) to refugees and immigrants in community settings throughout London. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Education (Applied Linguistics) from the Open University. In addition, he has supported asylum seekers and has a particular interest in issues around immigration detention.
Virginia Mantouvalou is Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law at University College London (UCL). She works on legal and philosophical aspects of labour rights and other human rights. She has published extensively on the rights of domestic workers, workers’ exploitation, structural injustice, capabilities theory, privacy and free speech at work, protection from unfair dismissal, the right to work, the rights of undocumented workers, modern slavery. She is on the editorial board of the Stanford Studies in Human Rights, articles co-editor of the Modern Law Review, co-editor of the UK Labour Law Blog and the Studies in Law and Social Justice and was joint editor of Current Legal Problems. She has held visiting positions at Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington DC and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
Her most recent co-edited book on the Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (with Hugh Collins and Gillian Lester) was published by OUP in 2018. For her research, she has been funded through various awards, such as an AHRC grant and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. She has also received the UCL Provost Public Engagement Award for her research with Kalayaan. She has worked as specialist advisor to the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights and as consultant for the ILO and the Council of Europe.
Alison Harvey has returned to practice from the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association where she was General Secretary, then Legal Director.
She trains, lectures and writes widely on immigration, asylum, nationality and human rights law. She is a contributor to Fransman’s British Nationality Law and to Macdonald’s Immigration law and Practice.
She has worked in the UK and overseas, representing clients before the Home Office, tribunals and courts, including working at the Refugee Legal Centre, Asylum Aid, and South West Law. She has worked with refugees, the internally displaced and the trafficked for the UN in West Africa, Darfur and Azerbaijan. She has worked extensively on the development of immigration law and policy in the UK, advising those lobbying on, and challenging, a total of nine immigration Acts (to date) as well as on the development of the points-based system and the immigration aspects of Brexit. Recent training credits include ‘The Immigration Act 2016’, ‘Nationality Law is Fun’ and ‘Advanced Naturalisation’ for the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association and ‘Trafficking: identifying and assisting victims’ for Free Movement.
Alison is co-chair of the Trustees of Kalayaan and led in its work with its legal team for its intervention in the Supreme Court in the Reyes case.
Alison has been appointed Special Advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for its enquiry Detention of Windrush Generation.
Myriam Cherti is a National Officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the United Nations. Prior to that a she was a Senior Researcher at Oxford University’s COMPAS, where she worked four years. Her areas of expertise include irregular migration, migrant integration, diaspora politics and Moroccan migration. From 2009 to 2013, Myriam was Senior Researcher at the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IPPR) where she led several projects, including “Beyond Irregularity,” a major research program on irregular migration. Before that, she worked as a project coordinator at the Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum, where she led a project on the oral history of the Moroccan diaspora in the UK. Myriam has also worked as a consultant and researcher on a number of European projects on the integration of ethnic minorities. Myriam holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and a PhD in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex.
Dr Natalie Sedacca is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter. Natalie’s PhD, completed in 2021 at University College London (UCL), analyses the legal position of domestic workers and their frequent exclusion from protective labour law legislation, criticising this exclusion based on human
rights standards. Her PhD includes case studies on Chile and the UK with empirical work in each.
Prior to joining Exeter, Natalie worked as a Teaching Fellow at UCL and Queen Mary University of London. Natalie has also been a Research Volunteer for Kalayaan, conducting interviews with domestic workers and co-writing the 2019 report Dignity, Not Destitution: The Impact of Differential Rights to Work for Migrant Domestic Workers’ with Avril Sharp. Before entering academia, Natalie spent nine years in legal ractice, including seven as a qualified solicitor, specialising in claims against the police and public authorities.
Pauline Uwins is an experienced Compliance Officer and Auditor within the financial services sector having worked at three of the largest Global and European banks . Her main areas of focus include mitigating conduct risk, promoting fair customer outcomes and identifying and investigating financial market abuse and money laundering. Her career has included managing operational and governance risk and she has prepared papers for Board and Audit Committees.
Hugh Collins is the Cassel Professor of Commercial Law at the London School of Economics. Formerly he was the Vinerian Professor of English Law at All Souls College, University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple. He studied law at the University of Oxford and Harvard Law School. One of his main areas of research and teaching is employment law. He has published several books in the field, including Employment Law 2nd edn (Oxford University Press), Labour Law 2nd edn (with KD Ewing and A. McColgan) (Cambridge University Press) and Justice in Dismissal (Oxford University Press). His most recent research has focussed on the law of indirect discrimination and also the impact of human rights law on the content and enforcement of employment law rights of workers.
Narmada is a national policy officer for UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union, working in the Policy and Public Affairs Unit for over 8 years. She leads on the union’s policy work on Employment Rights, Migrant workers, Policing, Probation and Justice, and tackling the far right. She has previously been UNISON’s national Race Equality Officer. Prior to working for UNISON, Narmada was the TUC’s national Women’s Officer. She holds a BA in Modern History from the University of Oxford. Narmada grew up in Sri Lanka and came to the UK as a child refugee.
Julieta is a migrant domestic worker. Originally from the Philippines, she migrated abroad in order to support her family. She has experience in domestic work, including childcare, fashion and textiles, as well as retail experience at the Co-op. Julieta is currently working as a carer to a family in North London. She is keen to make sure Kalayaan is centring the experiences and needs of migrant domestic workers across their work and strategic objectives.