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Jacqueline McKenzie


Jacqueline McKenzie, partner and head of immigration and asylum law

Human rights Immigration Windrush

Jacqueline McKenzie leads a team of lawyers who specialise in immigration and civil rights cases.

Jacqueline was a member of the independent advisory group that delivered the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in March 2020 which resulted in an official apology from the Home Secretary. The report concluded that the government’s actions, and the terrible consequences that followed, had been "foreseeable and avoidable", and that immigration regulations had been tightened "with complete disregard for the Windrush generation". She had an article published in the Discrimination Law Journal on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and gave oral and written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Jacqueline represents hundreds of people affected by the Windrush scandal and has been working to secure the rights of Caribbean-born Britons, those who came into the country legally between the 1950s and 1980s, since before the scandal hit the headlines in 2018. She has been a campaigner on the rights of the Windrush generation in themes including education, social welfare, criminal justice and civil rights and some of these issues will be reflected in her work at Leigh Day.

Jacqueline has worked on several high-profile cases over the years including for the family of the late Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man who was shot dead in Stockwell station, by police, after being mistaken for a suicide bomber

She was admitted as a solicitor in England in Wales in 2008 after a 20-year local government career and worked at Birnberg Peirce and Partners, before moving on to run her own immigration consultancy, McKenzie Beute and Pope, in 2010. She took a sabbatical between 2012 to 2014 during which time she was chief executive of the female prisoners’ welfare association, Hibiscus Initiatives, which works with foreign national women in prisons in the UK and she is the founder of the Centre for Migration Advice and Research. Jacqueline is admitted to practice at the Grenada Bar.

Awards and achievements

Power Media ranked her at number 10 in its Powerlist 2022 for her work helping those affected by the Windrush scandal and she has won several other awards for her legal and campaigning work, including: the Legacy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award (2018), the European Diversity Awards Campaigner of the Year (2019), The Black Solicitors Network Small Law Firm of the Year (2019) and the Black Excellence Humanitarian Award (2020), the GG2 Outstanding Achievement in Law Award (2022) and the Hero award at the 2022 British Diversity Awards. 

What the directories say

Jacqueline McKenzie is very professional.

Chambers and partners 2024

Jacqueline McKenzie in the news


The Windrush Compensation scheme five years on

Five years on from the introduction of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, Jacqueline McKenzie details her thoughts on issues with the scheme and how to improve it.

News Article
Empire Windrush

Jacqueline McKenzie and the Windrush team at Leigh Day to hold legal surgeries throughout July

Prominent immigration and asylum lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie and her team at Leigh Day will be running a series of legal surgeries for those affected by the Windrush scandal throughout July.

News Article
Empire Windrush
Windrush Human rights Home office

Leigh Day’s Head of Immigration and Asylum accuses Home Office of institutional racism over “slow and inefficient” Windrush compensation scheme

Leigh Day partner and the firm’s Head of Immigration and Asylum, Jacqueline McKenzie, has accused the Home Office of institutional racism after delays to compensation payments to people affected by the Windrush scandal.

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Empire Windrush

The Windrush generation

We have been helping members of the Windrush generation obtain justice since 2018