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Waleed Sheikh


Waleed Sheikh is a partner in the human rights department.

Human rights Judicial review

Waleed joined Leigh Day in 2011 before qualifying as a solicitor in 2012. He became a partner in 2022. Waleed has particular expertise in matters relating to immigration detention, deportation and nationality. He acts on behalf of both individuals and charities and his work includes public law claims for judicial review as well as private law claims including for compensation. 

What the directories say

I work primarily with Waleed Sheikh who is the leading national security solicitor in the team with a very heavy caseload and good nous for working out what is behind counter-terror measures taken against individuals where the evidence and reasons are not disclosed in the public interest.

Legal 500 2024

Legal expertise

Waleed specialises in judicial review and private law claims. Waleed has brought numerous successful challenges on behalf of individuals against the Home Office and other public bodies in relation to unlawful detention, asylum accommodation, electronic monitoring, unlawful use of force and a wide range of other matters affecting migrants’ rights. Waleed acted in a test case on behalf of four claimants challenging Home Office delays in the provision of bail accommodation for high risk immigration detainees. The court found that the Home Office was operating its accommodation policy unlawfully and there had been systemic delays in the provision of bail accommodation. It recommended that the system to be overhauled.

Waleed also specialises in cases involving national security. He has acted on behalf of clients in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), the High Court and Court of Appeal where they have been deprived of citizenship, indefinite leave to remain or denied entry clearance on the basis of them being assessed as a risk to national security.

Some of Waleed’s other cases include:

  • R (Open Rights Group and the3million) v SSHD and SSDCMS [2021] EWCA Civ 800 – a successful challenge to the lawfulness of the Immigration Exemption contained within the Data Protection Act 2018. The Court of Appeal found that the Immigration Exemption, which allowed for the restriction by the Home Office of important data rights of individuals subject to immigration control, was incompatible with Article 23 of the GDPR, and unlawful.
  • R (Marouf) v SSHD [2023] UKSC 23 – an appeal on behalf of a Palestinian refugee challenging the lawfulness of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme instituted by the Government in 2014. The Scheme relied exclusively on UNHCR to identify vulnerable refugees from Syria to be resettled in the UK. Palestinian refugees fall outside of the remit of UNHCR, which meant that they were effectively excluded form any opportunity for resettlement under the scheme, despite being highly vulnerable.
  • A judicial review challenge to the Cabinet Office’s refusal to designate G4S as “High Risk” under its old Strategic Supplier Risk Management Policy;
  • R (oao Sathanantham & Ors) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 1781 (Admin) – a successful challenge to the Home Office’s system for provision of bail accommodation to high risk immigration detainees which would result in long delays. 
  • An intervention on behalf of a number of Muslim charities in the case of Beghal v DPP [2015] UKSC 49, a case challenging the compatibility of detention powers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act with Articles 5, 6 and 8 of the ECHR;
  • Settling damages claims on behalf of a group of six Pakistani men who were detained and handcuffed on a burning bus by escorting officers while being transported from an immigration removal centre to the airport for removal.
  • Settling damages claims on behalf of a group of thirty individuals who were detained by the Home Office for the purpose of transfer to a third country, unlawfully and in breach of the Dublin III Regulations, between 1 January 2014 and 17 March 2017. 

Prior to joining Leigh Day Waleed worked as an appeals caseworker at the Refugee & Migrant Justice. He also undertook voluntary work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as in Pakistan where he worked on death penalty and extraordinary rendition cases.

What the directories say

Waleed Sheikh – very experienced, calm, capable, knowledgeable.

Legal 500 2023


News and blogs

News Article
Data Security
Human rights Data protection and privacy Immigration

Appeal Court rules that Immigration Exemption in Data Protection Act is still unlawful

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Immigration Exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 is still unlawful despite the Government’s bid to prove that latest measures to bring it in line with safeguarding requirements listed in regulations are enough.

News Article
High Court London
Human rights Judicial review

Campaign Against Arms Trade court hearing to challenge sales of arms to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has a judicial review court hearing on 31 January to challenge the UK government's decision to renew licences for arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) when the equipment might be used in Yemen.

News Article
Manston Asylum Centre
Human rights Judicial review Immigration detention claims

Legal challenge to failure to give asylum seekers access to lawyers at Manston asylum centre

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has launched a legal challenge to the Home Office over a failure to provide access to justice for people being held at Manston asylum centre in Kent.