Alexa Thompson and Helen Peden begin their second six

4 April 2024

Pupil barristers Alexa Thompson and Helen Peden are now “on their feet” after commencing the practising period of their pupillages this week.

Over the past six months Alexa and Helen have been supervised by Mikhil Karnik and Tom Royston, and Lucy Mair and Vijay Jagadesham respectively as well as being supported by members of Chambers across our core practice areas. 

Alexa Thompson

Alexa has worked alongside Tom Royston in a broad range of public and social security cases. She has gained experience in social security tribunals, including appeals to the Upper Tribunal and higher court challenges. Alexa assisted in SSWP v AT, which concerned whether EU nationals with pre-settled status are entitled to Universal Credit and involved novel questions of the interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement and application of the EU Charter post-Brexit.

Alexa has been working with GCN’s housing team on cases across the full spectrum of housing law, including: possession, disrepair, injunction and committal applications, unlawful eviction, succession, and homelessness. She has observed a broad range of hearings, settlement negotiations, and gained experience in drafting pleadings and directions. Alexa hopes to build upon this in her second-six and is particularly interested in cases involving discrimination, public law, and human rights arguments.

Alexa has worked with Mikhil Karnik in a range of immigration and public law cases. She assisted and observed R (on the application of AM) (Belarus) v SSHD in the Supreme Court, which concerned the application of Article 8 ECHR and the Gillberg exclusionary principle in ‘limbo’ cases. She has also gained exposure to Chambers’ other core practice areas, including immigration, inquests and inquiries, crime, and community care.

Building on her previous charity advice work with clients in in-patient and community mental health care settings, she is experienced in working with vulnerable clients and adopts a trauma-informed approach throughout her work.

As well as writing articles for the GCN website on SSWP v AT and Jwanczuk v SSWP, Alexa has written case summaries on recent noteworthy cases in the Journal of Social Security Law (JSSL) editions J.S.S.L. 2024, 31(1) and J.S.S.L. 2023, 30(3).

Helen Peden

During her first six, Helen has been working with GCN’s immigration team, where she has built upon her previous experience of supporting clients through international protection appeals. She has gained experience across a wide spectrum of immigration work in both the First-tier and Upper Tribunals, including asylum, deportation, and family reunion cases. Helen has completed the ATLAW Programme, which is a specialist training run by ATLEU for legal practitioners representing survivors of trafficking and modern slavery.

Helen is interested in public law more broadly and has drafted grounds and observed hearings on a range of judicial review matters. She has observed and assisted members in challenges against decisions of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Single Competent Authority, and several local authorities.

Helen has also gained exposure to Chambers’ other core practice areas, including housing, inquests and inquiries, and crime. Due to her previous experience as a civil litigation paralegal, Helen is particularly interested in housing law and has worked with members of GCN’s housing team on possession cases. She has observed settlement negotiations, directions hearings, committal and injunction applications. She hopes to build upon this experience in her second six.

We look forward to introducing Alexa and Helen to Chambers’ professional clients during the next six months and we wish them every success in the next period of their Pupillage.

If you would like to discuss instructions, please email our Practice Managers at

For more information on our Pupillage application process please click here.

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