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JCWI Staff

Saira Grant JCWI

Saira Grant

Chief Executive

Saira Grant is JCWI’s Chief Executive and a qualified solicitor with over 15 years of experience in asylum, immigration and human rights law.

She originally joined JCWI as Legal & Policy Director, running the policy department and overseeing the legal department in order to enhance JCWI’s ability to undertake strategic litigation which stemmed from its policy work.  Saira has conducted research and authored several reports on the impact of the UK’s immigration laws and policy for JCWI. She regularly gives evidence to Parliament and appears on the media.

Saira is the creative force behind the ‘I am an Immigrant’ campaign, a nationwide poster campaign that ran before the 2015 General Election and which is now a global campaign called ‘I am a Migrant’.

She took over as CEO in November 2015 and continues to develop and shape the organisation’s strategy

Nicola Burgess JCWI2

Nicola Burgess

Supervising Solicitor

Nicola has ten years’ experience working in immigration and asylum law. She qualified as a solicitor in 2009 and is also an IAAS level 2 accredited caseworker. Nicola has a particular interest in legal aid work and assisting the most vulnerable: including victims of torture, those with mental health issues and victims of trafficking.

She has developed considerable expertise in representing foreign national prisoners in challenging their deportation and securing their release from detention. Nicola regularly secures damages on behalf of her clients who have been found to be unlawfully detained.

Nicola’s list of reported cases:

SSHD v Hassan Abdi and Afrah Khalaf v SSHD [2011] EWCA Civ 242

R (on the application of Aziz) v SSHD [2011] All ER (D) 237 (Feb)

Krawetskiy v SSHD [2013] EWHC 2325 Admin

ZA (Iraq) v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 168

Abunasir v SSHD [2015] EWHC 2145 (Admin)

AT and another (Article 8 ECHR – Child Refugee – Family Reunification: Eritrea) [2016] UKUT 227 (IAC)

Enny Choudhury

Enny Choudhury


Enny joined JCWI in January 2017. She qualified as a solicitor in February 2010, and is an IAAS Level 2 accredited caseworker and supervisor. Following qualification, Enny worked as a Judicial Assistant in the Court of Appeal where she developed her interest in immigration and asylum law. Enny is passionate about ensuring that immigration laws are fair and just, and that remedies under the law are accessible to everyone. She is committed to assisting the most vulnerable and marginalized people, including children applicants, and has a particular interest in Legal Aid work.

Her areas of expertise include asylum, applications under the Immigration Rules, applications based on Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR, challenges to deportation, EAA applications and judicial review. Enny conducts advocacy before the First-Tier Tribunal. Enny also provides a weekly telephonic advice line for Unison members in all areas of immigration and asylum law.

Enny is committed to social mobility through education; she teaches English GCSE at a Saturday school and mentors children. She enjoys travel and reading.

Alex Cooray JCWI

Alex Cooray


Alex Cooray joined JCWI on 1 September 2014.  He was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on 1 March 2010.  He has been accredited as a Senior Caseworker under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme since 2004, and as a Supervisor since 2005.

His experience in immigration law includes asylum, applications under the Immigration Rules, applications outside the Immigration Rules on Human Rights grounds, challenges to deportation, challenges to ‘third country’ removal, applications on medical and psychiatric grounds and matters relating to citizenship.

He has experience of initial applications, appeals before the First Tier Tribunal (where he is an experienced advocate), applications and appeals to the Upper Tribunal, applications for Judicial Review, and applications to the Court of Appeal.

Alex gives telephone advice for undocumented migrants on JCWI’s free Irregular Migrant Line.  He also gives free advice at outreach sessions conducted in tandem with the Red Cross. 

Ellen Fotheringham JCWI

Ellen Fotheringham

Legal Assistant

Ellen is originally from Glasgow, where she spent the last three years working in various migrant support roles while studying for her law degree. 

Her passions are music, art and food and she is enjoying discovering what her new home in London has to offer for each. She likes  to spend as much of her free time as possible traveling far and wide, although her favourite place to be is the Scottish Islands, close to home.

Ruth Grove-White

Ruth Grove-White

Policy Adviser

Ruth is running a programme of Brexit-related advocacy for JCWI. She works as an independent consultant in the migration sector, and is an experienced trainer, evaluator and researcher. She was the Policy Director at the Migrants Rights Network from 2008 – 2015 and prior to joining MRN worked with minority rights charity European Dialogue, and for the International Organization for Migration.

Sarah Marcus JCWI

Sarah Marcus

Communications Director

Sarah started her professional life as a publishing editor, working with high-profile novelists and non-fiction authors. She then decided on a career change and worked as a freelance journalist. Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, she reported on news, politics, culture and society in the former Soviet Union for leading international publications including the Washington Post, the New York TImes and the Independent.

While in Georgia she also worked as a researcher and writer for UNICEF. She returned to the UK and later switched career again, this time to work in strategic communications. At JCWI she brings together her media and communications experience for a cause to which she is strongly committed.

Chai Patel JCWI

Chai Patel

Legal & Policy Director

Chai joined JCWI in 2015 having covered a period of maternity leave for the Policy Director at the Migrants Rights Network. Prior to that he was in the Human Rights department at Leigh Day, working on abuse and human rights claims, and on the death penalty team at Reprieve, focussing on international strategic litigation,  casework, and investigation.

Chai studied English Literature at UCL, and later converted to Law. He was called to the Bar in 2010 and later cross-qualified as a solicitor. 

Charlotte Peel JCWI

Charlotte Peel

Policy Officer

Charlotte joined JCWI as a Legal Assistant in 2013, after completing a BSc in Anthropology at UCL. In her current role, Charlotte monitors political and legal developments affecting migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, conducts research, and contributes to JCWI’s briefings, reports and consultation responses. She also provides training on immigration policy on behalf of JCWI. Charlotte has recently completed a Masters in Law (LLM) from Birkbeck.

Charlotte speaks fluent German and has lived in Berlin and in the Hunza valley in Pakistan.

Tony Philip JCWI

Tony Philip

Office Manager

Tony joined JCWI from The Islington Law Centre as a casework Intern in 2010 and has since risen to become the Office Manager. He also manages JCWI's membership and publications administration.

In his spare time Tony sits on the committee board of the Islington Residents Association who represent residents on issues between landlord and tenant.

Lucia Vanzo JCWI

Lucia Vanzo

Training Coordinator

Lucia has been working for JCWI for over 10 years managing and developing the organisation’s Training Department. She is responsible for the efficient administration of all aspects of JCWI Training Department.

Prior to that Lucia worked for over 3 years  as a tour director. Originally from Italy, Lucia has made the UK her home. She  is fluent in both Italian and English and speaks good Spanish and French. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, films, theatre, music and arts in general as well as travelling and country walks.