Kate O’Raghallaigh


Year of Call

Kate O’Raghallaigh

Kate specialises in crime, extradition and crime related public law.



At five years’ call, Kate has appeared as a led junior in the Privy Council and regularly appears alone in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and Administrative Court. Kate’s practice often has an international dimension and she has advised in criminal, extradition, constitutional and death penalty cases in Botswana, Sierra Leone, Kyrgyrzstan, Gibraltar, Bulgaria and the Bahamas.  Kate regularly represents defendants in terrorism cases and has particular experience of advising on the applicability of international human rights law to counter-terrorism legislation at domestic and international level.  


Kate has acted in a number of cases of legal significance including Timothy Hunte and Shazad Khan v The State  [2015] UKPC 33; Times, July 23, 2015, a death penalty case concerning the jurisdiction of the Privy Council to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment in Trinidad and Tobago; Celinski and Others [2015] EWHC 1274 (Admin), now the leading extradition case on Article 8 ECHR; Skraba v Poland [2014] EWHC 2193 (Admin), a landmark decision in which the High Court accepted that it had jurisdiction to determine costs appeals under the Extradition Act 2003 and Regina v Onur Simsek, a Court of Appeal test case concerning the Criminal Behaviour Order regime in which ‘pro forma’ clauses pertaining to drugs paraphernalia in an ASBO were quashed. 


Kate currently acts for one of five men accused of participation in the Rwandan genocide, a case which has involved extradition proceedings since 2006 and which centers on fair trial rights in Rwanda and the jurisprudence of the ICTR.


Kate was part of the legal team acting for Just for Kids Law in strategic litigation regarding the use of overnight police detention for 17 year olds (Still a Child at 17). Following months of pre-action correspondence and a nationwide campaign, in which the Claimant challenged the compatibility of s.38 PACE with Article 8 ECHR and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK Government agreed to amend the provisions of PACE to afford 17 year olds the same protections as 16 year olds in overnight police detention: (Read More).  


Kate represents requested persons at first instance and in appellate cases before the High Court under Part 1 and Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003.

Kate has acted in a number of significant cases at first instance and in the High Court, including Brown (Bajinya) and Others, where she is a led junior representing one of five men whose extradition is sought by the Government of Rwanda in relation to the 1994 genocide, and Italy v Hamasalih and Others, an Italian terrorism case which concerns s.12A of the Extradition Act 2003 and whether the approach of the Irish Supreme Court should be adopted by UK courts.

Kate has also been instructed in a number of complex cases which engage Article 3, for example, in the context of a pregnant requested person who would enter life threatening heroin withdrawal if extradited (Czech Republic v FK), and the compatibility of mandatory sentencing for drugs offences in Slovakia with Article 3 ECHR (District Court Bratislava III v Richard Katrencik [2014] EWHC 2062 (Admin)).

Kate has particular experience of acting in cases involving jurisdictional issues. She acted alone in the first successful extradition costs challenge in the High Court: Skraba v Poland: [2014] EWHC 2193 (Admin) and [2014] EWHC 2023 (Admin), in which it was argued that the Administrative Court had jurisdiction to review costs orders as part of a statutory appeal. Kate acted as a led junior in the case of Celinski and Others [2015] EWHC 1274 (Admin), now the leading case on the High Court’s appellate jurisdiction in extradition appeals involving Article 8 ECHR, in which the Lord Chief Justice determined whether extradition appeals could only be interfered with on ‘Wednesbury’ grounds.  

Kate regularly represents requested persons in Article 8 cases which involve domestic violence and sole carers. Kate was part of the legal team acting for Eileen Clark, who was extradited to the United States of America on 4th July 2014 in order to face trial for international parental kidnapping in 1995. Ms Clark had fled the USA in 1998 due to domestic violence. Kate was junior counsel in emergency judicial review proceedings prior to Ms Clark's extradition and was instructed in Ms Clark's application to the ECtHR. Kate currently represents a number of women at first instance and on appeal for whom domestic violence forms part of the Article 8 challenge, and has experience of applying for interim relief at domestic and Strasbourg level in that context.  

Kate has acted in a number of other Article 8 cases in the High Court where appellant's discharge was ordered:

  • Jerzy Borkowski [2014] EWHC 3583 (Admin) – successful appeal where the appellant had not contested extradition in relation to two EAWs at first instance. Both warrants related to convictions for driving offences in the late 1990s. Following legal argument, it was conceded by the CPS that the first EAW was invalid. Foskett J allowed the appellant's appeal in relation to the second warrant on the basis that there had been unexplained and significant delay, the appellant had a secure and family life in the UK, and had spent 4 months in custody in this jurisdiction. 
  • Nowak v Poland [2014] EWHC 3466 (Admin) – the first published case where an appellant's extradition was considered proportionate under Article 8 in relation to one aspect of an EAW, but not the other. The appellant's extradition was sought in relation to a conviction EAW arising out of one offence for simple possession of Class A drugs and a second offence of possession with intent to supply. In allowing the appeal in part, Silber J accepted that the appellant's extradition in relation to the former offence would be disproportionate under Article 8 and the appellate court was entitled to consider multiple offences separately in the circumstances. 


Kate's recent instructions include matters of gross negligence manslaughter, serious violence and firearms. Kate has developed particular experience in terrorism cases in both a criminal and extradition context. She has acted in high profile and complex trials as well as being instructed in an advisory capacity, and has worked with the UN in delivering training on human rights in the area of counter-terrorism measures. She has particular expertise in the applicability of international human rights law to terrorism legislation. Kate also acts in criminal cases before the Privy Council, and is currently acting for an Amicus Curiae in a death penalty case before the African Commission. Recent cases include:

  • R v Hamasalih – led junior in the first contested ISIS membership trial at the CCC. The case involved expert evidence relating to the political and religious backdrop of Iraqqi-Kurdistan and the operations of the Peshmerga in northern Iraq.
  • R v JC – led junior representing a teenage boy in a s.5 allegation and related charges under the Explosives Act 1985.   
  • R v J – junior alone representing a woman accused of downloading Al-Qaeda publications and related passport offences.
  • R v ZS – junior alone representing a Kurdish national accused of disseminating terrorist publications.  
  • R v Anjem Choudary - Criminal trial of controversial Islamic preacher which attracted worldwide press coverage. The trial was the first major test case under s.12 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in the area of religious speech. The case involved an interlocutory hearing in the Court of Appeal in which the compatibility of s.12 with Articles 7, 9 and 10 ECHR was argued, and in which it was confirmed that the expression of personal support for a proscribed organisation, including the caliphate declared by ISIS, is lawful.  
  • R v Alamgir and others - Parallel s.12 prosecution to that of Anjem Choudary and based on the covert infiltration of a ‘cell’ of Al-Muhajiroun in Luton. Case involved Articles  9 and  10 ECHR  in  the  context of  Islamic sermons and the religious legitimacy  of the ISIS caliphate. 
  • R v Thorne and others [2016] - led junior in gross negligence manslaughter trial at the Central Criminal Court. The case involved the use of restraint by SIA approved door supervisors.
  • R v Kelvin Merritt [2014] EWCA Crim 2384 – successful appeal against combined sentence of £5000 costs and 21 months' imprisonment for possession of indecent images. Court of Appeal quashed the order for costs and substituted a sentence of 16 months' imprisonment, accepting that the appellant had exceptional mitigation.
  • R v Mohammed Ali [2014] EWCA Crim 2170 – successful appeal against the activation of a suspended sentence in full where the appellant was sectioned under the Mental Health Act during the operational period, and the sentencing judge had exceeded his sentencing powers. Sentence reduced from 17 to 12 months' imprisonment.
  • The Queen v Timothy Hunte and Shazad Khan [2015] UKPC 33; Times, July 23, 2015 – appeals against conviction and mandatory sentence of death upheld by Court of Appeal in Trinidad for offence of murder in 2003. A seven judge board of the Privy Council considered the case over two days in February 2015. Issues included whether the Privy Council should reopen its previous ruling in Ramdeen v The Queen [2014] UKPC 7 regarding the power to substitute a sentence of death for one of life imprisonment on constitutional grounds.
  • R v Onur Simsek [2015] EWCA Crim 1268 -  the appellant was sentenced to a five year post-conviction ASBO which was later converted to a Criminal Behaviour Order under the slip rule. On appeal it was held that, notwithstanding the effective repeal of ASBOS, the combined effect of s.33(1)(a) and s.33(2)(a) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014  was that the court retained power to impose a post-conviction ASBO after 20 October 2014 if the relevant "criminal proceedings" began before that date. The Court of Appeal held that the judge was not able to impose a Criminal Behaviour Order when sentencing the appellant after that date, even though the operative parts of the Act were then in force. That was because s.22(1) made "conviction" a necessary precondition, and a "conviction" would be one after the coming into force of the Act on 20 October. Further, it was held that the five-year duration of the ASBO should be reduced to three years, and two of the conditions were unnecessary and were thereby quashed.

Inquiries and Inquests

Kate is regularly instructed to represent bereaved families in inquests. Kate has conducted Article 2 and jury inquests and is the author of 'Deaths in State Settings' for the 6th edition of Mason's Forensic Medicine for Lawyers (Bloomsbury Professional, published in February 2015). Recent and ongoing cases include:

  • Inquest touching the death of IL: case involves a neonatal death in hospital. Issues include fetal cardiology, the adequacy of the birthing plan and expert evidence pertaining to obstetrics and gynaecology.
  • Inquest touching the death of SL: complex case involving the death of a mentally ill man during his day release from hospital. Issues include capacity, the adequacy of inpatient and outpatient care, the decision to withdraw medication and the use of heroin as self-harm.
  • Inquest touching the death of AC: Article 2 jury inquest concerning the adequacy of the medical response to an inpatient at a psychiatric unit. Particular issues included the method of life support delivered at the scene. Following a two day hearing, the jury returned a verdict of death by natural causes. The Coroner made a Preventing Future Death Report in respect of staff training in CPR and basic life support. 

Administrative and Public Law

Kate has particular experience in crime related public law and is frequently instructed in cases involving prisoners’ rights and the use of police powers.

Kate was part of the legal team acting for Just for Kids Law in strategic litigation regarding the use of overnight police detention for 17 year olds (Still a Child at 17). Following months of pre-action correspondence and a nationwide campaign, in which the Claimant challenged the compatibility of s.38 PACE with Article 8 ECHR and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK Government agreed to amend the provisions of PACE to afford 17 year olds the same protections as 16 year olds in overnight police detention.

Kate regularly represents prisoners in the Administrative Court regarding challenges to aspects of their imprisonment. She has recently acted in a number of judicial review cases for prisoners, including challenges to the findings of Independent  Adjudicators, policy challenges relating to segregation and charging practice for disciplinary offences, and the application of the rules of criminal evidence to disciplinary hearings. 


BA Hons (Cantab) English Literature 2004-2007

Graduate Diploma in Law 2008-2009

Bar Vocational Course 2009-2011

Hardwicke Scholar 2008-2010

Chambers of George Carter Stephenson QC and Paul Mendelle QC at 25 Bedford Row: pupillage 2011-2013





Criminal Bar Association
Middle Temple
Young Legal Aid Lawyers
London Irish Lawyers Association


About cookies on our website

Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the site and to allow the use of specific functionality like social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but as a result parts of the site may not work as intended.

To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this website (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits)