S Chelvan

Barrister

‘To be the mouthpiece for those who know the words but have no voice’ – S Chelvan is a globally recognised legal expert on refugee and human rights claims based on sexual, or gender identity and expression. Chelvan views his role is that of a story-teller and interpreter, translating his client’s narratives into the foreign language called the law, but to do so, establishing the safe space in order to be able to tell their stories. Having practiced in the field of LGBT+ asylum since 2001, Chelvan has been recognised as the leading legal expert by the UK’s Legal Directories since 2006, spearheading some of the leading cases since 2005. Since 2010, Chelvan has been consulted as an internationally recognised expert by the United Nations, the IOM, regional and national governmental organisations and bodies, lawyers and NGOs. His Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm (‘DSSH’) model, created by Chelvan in 2011 as a positive tool to determine an LGBT+ asylum claim is used globally, endorsed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees since 2012 and used by various governments, including the UK’s Home Office, since 2015. He is also International Rights Officer of UK Black Pride. Newsweek Europe in 2014 described the model as ‘a simple starting point that cuts across borders’. In supporting his 2018 Attitude Magazine Pride award in July, the Nigerian lesbian activist Aderonke Apata, who successfully gained asylum after a 13 year battle after Chelvan was instructed, commented, ‘the way that he fought .. and they [the Home Office] gave me asylum, that’s magical to me’. Danila Stepin, another of Chelvan’s clients who feared persecution in Russia said, ‘Chelvan is really an admirable man, he saves peoples lives’.