Keelin McCarthy

Call: 2007, 2021 (Ireland)

Specialist in

Direct Access


Keelin has a broad practice in all areas of immigration, asylum and nationality law, as well as related public law. She is equally expert acting for vulnerable claimants as for business clients, in cases ranging from international protection and human rights claims, to technical challenges to adverse decisions on Tier 1 investors.

Keelin has particularly strong experience in claims involving unlawful detention, deportation, statelessness/deprivation of nationality, modern slavery, cases raising overlapping immigration/family issues including international surrogacy and adoption, and cases involving a medical aspect.

Keelin acts as an expert witness on complex immigration matters in family proceedings.


Prior to coming to the bar Keelin worked in the international development sector. She worked on corporate social responsibility and a number of other human rights initiatives for the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Keelin gained the highest distinction awarded for her dissertation examining the findings of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women in Korea/Japan in the context of the trafficking of women for military sexual slavery (Essex University).

Keelin has conducted consultancy and pro bono work on human rights, refugee and international development issues for the UK Department for International Development, Amnesty International, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Liberty (National Council for Civil Liberties), RLS-Athens, Amicus/Reprieve, the Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, Bail for Immigration Detainees, PS21, UKLGIG, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

Keelin regularly conducts training on asylum, immigration and public law for solicitors and law centres. She has been invited to speak on statelessness for Amnesty International.

Keelin is committed to principles of access to justice for all and is willing to work pro bono in appropriate cases. She receives instructions from BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees).

What the directories say

Keelin is ranked by the Legal 500 guide as a “Leading Junior” (Band 4) in immigration law (including business immigration), and described as: “Extremely dedicated to her clients, leaving no stone unturned and very thorough in her approach” (2020); “Approachable yet tenacious with a really broad knowledge of immigration law” (2018); “A real crusader for justice” (2017); “Very methodical and able to provide tactical advice at every stage” (2016).


BA History, Christ’s College, Cambridge University
MA Japanese Studies, Essex University
MSc Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University
LLB (Graduate), Nottingham Trent University

Professional Memberships

Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)
Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA)
Anti-Trafficking Legal Project (ATLEP)
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (HRLA)
European Network on Statelessness (ENS)


Japanese, French
Keelin has previously worked as a Japanese-English translator in the City of London

29Sep 2022

One Pump Court ranked as a Leading Set in Legal 500

One Pump Courts Immigration team has been recognised again in this year’s Legal 500. 20 members across all our teams have been ranked individually.

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