She is very approachable, insightful, knowledgeable and friendly. Leaves no stone unturned.


Natalie Wilkins practices in asylum, immigration and nationality, family, housing and public law.

Natalie’s legal studies focused on human rights and international law, especially the relationship with armed conflict and its effects. After working internationally for the United Nations and NGOs in conflict-related contexts, she decided to return to the UK to qualify as a barrister. Natalie’s experience in countries with weak rule of law and how that affects the lives of individuals makes her especially committed to helping to preserve the precious access to justice we retain in the UK and she remains committed to help those affected by conflict and human rights violations internationality through her refugee law practice.

Natalie’s multidisciplinary practice allows her to offer crossover advice in her practice areas, in particular family and immigration law. She also incorporates ongoing specialist learning into how domestic violence, mental health, trauma and/or neurodivergence impact her clients’ interaction with the justice system into all her work.

Natalie has contributed to Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice Chapters 5 (common travel area, crew members and exempted groups) in the 10th edition and 9th edition supplements and Chapter 9 (students) of the 9th edition, and Chapter 13 (immigration law) of Patterson & Karim on Judical Review (3rd edition). She is a visiting lecturer at the University of Law in Manchester.

Immigration and asylum

Natalie is ranked as Leading Junior (Tier 2) for Immigration on the Northern Circuit in The Legal 500 2024 and in Band 2 for Immigration law for the Northern/North Eastern Bar in the Chambers UK Bar Guide 2023.

Natalie represents appellants in the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and advises in all areas of asylum and immigration law, including nationality, human rights, statelessness, work and business immigration and the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Her academic and work background in international relations and development means she is adept at handling and presenting large amounts of complex country evidence in asylum and human rights appeals. She has extensive experience representing vulnerable clients, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, domestic violence survivors, victims of torture, victims of modern/slavery trafficking, and clients with serious mental health difficulties.

She is public access-trained and particularly welcomes instructions in family (including Article 8 ECHR) immigration, EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) cases and citizenship/nationality applications.

Natalie is able to offer comprehensive representation to clients with both immigration and family law issues and advise on immigration issues in family law proceedings. She has written about crossover issues for chambers and for the Family Law Journal.

Natalie also has wide-ranging experience of immigration judicial review, including delay, fresh claim and certified as clearly unfounded, third country, domestic violence, age assessment, deportation, unlawful detention and urgent removal cases.

Natalie has contributed to Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice: Chapters 5 (common travel area, crew members and exempted groups) in the 10th edition and 9th edition supplements and Chapter 9 (students) of the 9th edition, and Chapter 13 (immigration law) of Patterson & Karim on Judicial Review (3rd edition). She is a visiting lecturer at the University of Law in Manchester where she has taught on the LPC Immigration course.

Family law

A founding member of the family team at GCN, Natalie focuses on children law, domestic violence and international family law.

Due to Natalie’s immigration and international experience, she specialises in cases with those crossover elements and can represent individuals in both sets of proceedings. She is passionate about ensuring that immigrant families are represented comprehensively and fairly in the family justice system and welcomes requests for advice or training. She has written about crossover issues for chambers and for the Family Law Journal.

She regularly advises or reports as an expert in care proceedings where there are nationality, immigration and/or international issues. She can help with issues such as jurisdiction, how to secure the status of the child or prospective carers in the UK, and international placements including recognition and enforcement of orders. She can identify potential issues such as modern slavery/trafficking indicators and explain how the various protection (asylum), human rights and work/study routes work and interact with ongoing family proceedings.

Natalie accepts instructions in cases with a human rights and/or international dimension, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage protection orders, international abduction, international relocation, the parens patriae jurisdiction and wardship. She enjoys working collaboratively with those instructing her to find creative solutions to cases including identifying suitable support organizations, country experts and other contacts in her international network.

As Natalie also practises in housing law, she can also offer advice and representation in cases where there are issues related arising from cohabitation (including rights under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA/TLATA) 1996), home rights and transfer of tenancies under the Family Law Act 1996.

Public law

Natalie has extensive experience in judicial review claims relating to delay in asylum decision-making and has undertaken a large number of other immigration and asylum-related judicial reviews including the refusal of fresh claims, PBS (points-based system) applications, DVILR (domestic violence) applications, cases involving alleged deception with English language tests, age assessment and the certification of protection and/or human rights claims as clearly unfounded or on a third country basis. Relatedly, she also accepts instructions on challenges to the provision of asylum support and accommodation.

Natalie previously specialised in urgent removal and unlawful detention cases as an immigration caseworker in a major law firm and can provide practical advice on procedure as well as grounds.

Housing & Homelessness

Natalie has a broad housing law practice encompassing:

  • possession proceedings (especially rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, including Equality Act and Article 8 ECHR defences),
  • anti-social behaviour injunction and committal proceedings,
  • homelessness appeals and judicial review claims
  • tenancy deposit claims
  • unlawful eviction claims.
  • enforcement stage applications for charging orders and freezing injunctions.

Natalie undertakes disrepair and housing conditions work on a CFA basis as well as under legal aid where it arises as a counterclaim in possession proceedings or where there is a risk to health. She welcomes requests for advice and collaboration at an early stage of litigation to ensure the best witness and expert evidence is obtained. She with other disrepair specialists in the team also offers in-house bespoke training in conducting housing conditions claims.

In Natalie’s county court work, she has experience of many cases where there are backgrounds of domestic violence, disabilities including mental health issues, and/or substance abuse. Natalie is passionate about assisting those who instruct her to identify comprehensive support for these clients to help achieve more lasting results. This is increasingly challenging due to funding constraints and the pressure which the housing law sector is under, but Natalie is committed to working more broadly in the legal and advice community to make sure clients are not left behind.

Due to her immigration expertise, Natalie can advise comprehensively on cases involving the right to rent or where rights to various benefits are in issue due to immigration cases. She has a special interest in asylum support cases and challenging issues such as adequacy of section 95 accommodation, including disrepair.

Natalie also welcomes instructions in cases where there is an overlap with family law, such as equitable interests arising from cohabitation (including rights under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA/TLATA) 1996), home rights and transfer of tenancies under the Family Law Act 1996, and parallel care proceedings.


Natalie’s international experience and studies prior to coming to the Bar centred around issues relating to armed conflict and small arms and light weapons.

Natalie has a master’s degree (with distinction) in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she specialised in international law (law of armed conflict and war crimes, international environmental law, and international and comparative law perspectives on the human rights of women) and conflict management. She also wrote her undergraduate dissertation in human rights law on “human rights and the small arms trade.”

Natalie worked for the small arms team at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in New York, mainly on the implementation support system for the Programme of Action on Small Arms. She was a UN volunteer in Juba for the United Nations Development Programme’s Support the Southern Sudan Referendum Project in 2010 – 2011, where she gained insight into international elections operations and observation, and returned two years later to the Joint Operations Centre of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (peacekeeping). She also volunteered for a human rights NGO in Uganda and Kenya (prisoners’ rights), a peacebuilding NGO in Washington DC that uses media to reduce the risk of conflict, and spent 6 months interning for a post-conflict reconstruction specialist NGO in Uganda, where she represented the organization at high level meetings in Kampala on issues such as agriculture and pastoralism. Her interest in the intersection between international human rights law and conflict was furthered by a summer internship at Reprieve on the secret prisons and extraordinary renditions team.

Now, Natalie’s international practice mainly concerns international family law, specifically the international movement of children and forced marriage/FGM (see family law section for further details). This complements her immigration and asylum practice, where she frequently represents vulnerable women and victims of trafficking and modern slavery. Natalie’s background in disarmament and experience at Reprieve has also led to an interest in the implications of drone use for human rights, both positive and negative.

Notable Cases

  • RS v Secretary of State for the Home Department PA/13751/2017 (unreported, promulgated 12 March 2020) – UT found that a Kurdish Sunni man of fighting age from the Mosul area who had no one to vouch for him in Baghdad would be (applying SMO) reasonably likely to have a pro-ISIL political opinion imputed to him, so his appeal should be allowed on Refugee Convention grounds
  • TK (gay man) St Lucia [2019] UKUT 92 (IAC) – the appellant, as an openly gay man in St Lucia, has a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of his sexuality
  • Tahir v Secretary of State for the Home Department HU/25897/2016 (unreported, promulgated 2 August 2018) – UT accepted the appellant’s submission that the SSHD had not even discharged the first-stage evidential burden to prove deception in an ETS case where his English language test was merely marked as ‘questionable’



  • Northern Circuit;
  • Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA);
  • North West Housing Law Practitioners;
  • Young Legal Aid Lawyers (former national committee member);
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit;
  • Bar Human Rights Committee;
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association; and
  • Greater Manchester Law Centre.

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Natalie studied law at the University of Cambridge, where Pembroke College awarded her a scholarship to spend a year studying at Occidental College in New York and Los Angeles, including an internship at United Nations headquarters. She completed a masters with distinction, taking a double concentration in International Relations (specialising in conflict management and international law) and International Economics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna, Italy and Washington DC.

Before coming to the Bar, Natalie was a consultant on the small arms and light weapons team at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in New York and worked in Juba for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the United Nations Development Programme in the former Southern Sudan (on its project to support the referendum for independence). She has also volunteered for peacebuilding and human rights NGOs in Uganda and Kenya and is particularly interested in conflict-affected areas and sub-Saharan Africa. In the UK, Natalie has previously volunteered for Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA) in Manchester, Reprieve (secret prisons and extraordinary renditions team) in London and the Kingston Legal Centre. She was a national committee member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers for five years and is a trustee of the Omega Research Foundation, which specialises in research and training in accountability and human rights issues related to military, security and police (MSP) technologies.

Natalie was awarded a Major Scholarship from Inner Temple to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at Kaplan Law School, for which she was graded Outstanding. She completed pupillage at Chambers in October 2014 under the supervision of Rory O’Ryan.


She is very approachable, insightful, knowledgeable and friendly. Leaves no stone unturned.Chambers and Partners 2023
She is excellent, approachable and supportive.Chambers and Partners 2023
I have been very impressed by her work.Chambers and Partners 2023


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