Kirsty is the head of the Doughty Street's International Human Rights Team and part of the Doughty Street Equalities Team.
Kirsty specialises in international human rights, criminal law, public international, constitutional and international criminal law. She is instructed in the most serious, complex and prominent cases nationally and internationally. Kirsty is an experienced trial barrister. She has defended defendants and acted for Claimants as a junior and then as Queen’s Counsel before the Criminal and Civil courts respectively, in England and Wales, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Courts Martial and Courts of Appeal in the Caribbean, the Court of Appeal in the British Virgin Islands, the European Court of Human Rights and the High Court in Gibraltar. Kirsty frequently advises before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the ECOWAS court in Abuja Nigeria, the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, the Superior Tribunal of Santander Colombia, the Supreme Court and Constitutional Courts of Colombia and the UN judicial processes and International Criminal Court.
Kirsty defended in the first murder case in the UK where the defence was heard "in camera" on grounds of national security. She was leading counsel defending in the first "juryless trial" in England and Wales. In 2014, she successfully judicially reviewed a decision by the DPP that Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain was protected from prosecution for alleged torture by state immunity. She represented Amnesty International before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in its complaint that the data collection programmes Prism, Upstream and Tempora – as revealed by the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden – were in breach of Articles 8, 10 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Kirsty has represented the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago and the Chief Justice of Gibraltar. She represented former President of the Maldives between
2012- 2015. In 2010 she was appointed by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as Counsel to a Commission of Inquiry into international fraud. The Chief Justice of New South Wales was appointed Commissioner. In 2012 she was appointed legal advisor to the Constitution Commission of Fiji.
2013 Kirsty defended the first out of twenty four defendants at the Old Bailey London in the largest fraud case of its kind. In 2014 and 2015 she defended the first defendant in two 3 month immigration fraud trials. In 2013 she defended in a Trident 3 month murder trial at the Old Bailey, London. She is an experienced appeal advocate and successful where leave has been refused. In 2012 she, together with Edward Fitzgerald QC, was successful in appealing the rape convictions of former politician Andre Penn (British Virgin Islands). In 2013, Kirsty presented an Amicus in the case of David Ravelo Crespo to Magistrado Juan Rodriguez, Santander, Colombia. This was the first international intervention at this level of Tribunal. Currently she is leading a team of lawyers representing Serbian Claimants before the High Court over a claim against the Ministry of Defence arising out of the bombing of Kosovo in 1999.
Kirsty first led other counsel in 1999 and maintained this level of practice so as to be appointed Queen's Counsel in 2011. In 2012 she was elected Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. She is the first female Chairman. Kirsty has carried out international trial observations, worked on death penalty cases from within Jamaica and is an experienced teacher and trainer in advocacy, international human rights law, interviewing vulnerable witnesses and case management. In 2009, she led a delegation of UK barristers in providing human rights law training in Colombia. Between 2011 and 2014, she led 6 training delegations of UNICEF's Child Protection Networks in Nigeria and the National Human Rights Commission in child rights and case management, having complied the programmes after leading two fact finding missions in Nigeria. Currently she is training Judges in Nigeria in Child Rights as a legal Consultant to Unicef.
Kirsty was twice listed in Management Today's most influential 35 women under 35 (2003 and 2005). She was appointed a spokesperson for the Bar Council between 1998 - 2008 and remains a regular legal commentator in the media. Her hundreds of television and radio appearances include: Newsnight, Panorama, Dispatches, Law in Action, File on Four, Today programme, breakfast television and news programmes. She has made one television show "You be the judge" (2005).
Kirsty was a member of the inaugural Times Law Panel from 2007 -2009 (classified as being one of the "Top 100 Lawyers") and nominated as The Times "Lawyer of the Week". She is sought after by the Bar Council and Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales to advise upon government consultation documents, Bills and other legislative measures. In 2012 she was appointed leader of a working group to draft the Criminal Bar Association's Response to the Law Commission's Consultation on Contempt of Court. In 2013 Kirsty was appointed by the Criminal Bar Association to draft the response to the DPP's proposed Social Media Guidelines. In 2014 Kirsty was part of the team submitting proposals to the Home Affairs Committee to combat Female Genital Mutilation, please see here. These proposals were adopted and passed into legislation. She continued to advise cross-party peers and ministers. In 2014 Kirsty led a team of barristers taking witness statements from complainants of sexual violence in Sri Lanka post conflict. She presented the report at the UN and launched it at the Canadian embassy in London.
Kirsty Brimelow QC discusses whether trial by jury is the best option on the BBC.
Kirsty is an accredited mediator and often works in conflict resolution. In 2013 she facilitated an apology from the President of Colombia to the peace community of San José de Apartadó. The public apology was issued by President Santos on 10 December 2013. It was described as an “historic” moment in Colombia’s history. Kirsty continues to mediate between State and peace community in Colombia, supported by the British Embassy.
Kirsty interviewed by BBC World Service on her work mediating between San José de Apartadó comunidad de paz and the Colombian government.
Kirsty has again been recommended as a leading QC in the Legal 500 2016 and in Chambers and Partners 2016. She has been recommended in each directory since becoming a QC. Previously, she was recommended as a junior (each year for 15 years in Chambers and Partners).
“Her work ranges from novel domestic law points to international issues.” (Legal 500 2016).
“Effective at cross-examination” ( Legal 500 2015).
Judicial praise includes “cogent and persuasive submissions” (Dyson LJ).
Plaudits by solicitors include: “always in the big cases" and "the best closing speech I have ever seen".
Joshua Rozenberg QC (hons): selected Kirsty as one of the “noteworthy” QCs (2011) - read more in The Guardian.
She is recognized as one of the “top names” by The Times law editor Frances Gibb (2015) - read more in The Times.
Kirsty currently is appointed to the local legal team representing the former President of the Maldives upon a charge relating to the arrest of a Judge. In 2009, Kirsty was appointed Counsel to an Inquiry into a US $61m fraud in Antigua (the Chief Justice of New South Wales was the Commissioner). In 2011, she undertook direction of the police in evidence gathering. She was instructed on behalf of British Virgin Islands’ former politician Andre Penn and, with Edward Fitzgerald QC, was successful in the Court of Appeal. Kirsty advises upon cases from Jamaica to the Privy Council having previously worked on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee in Kingston Jamaica. Kirsty successfully represented Chief Justice Sharma of Trinidad and Tobago before a Tribunal chaired by Lord Mustill that enquired into whether to recommend his removal from office to the Privy Council. In 2012, Kirsty was appointed legal adviser to the Constitution Commission of Fiji in relation to its new Fijian constitution and Public Order Act. She is advising upon a child “terrorist” case in the Court of Appeal Nigeria. She has collaborated in amicus curiae briefs particularly in relation to land rights in the Inter- American Court of Human Rights. She is experienced in utilizing UN special measures on behalf of those whose rights are violated. In 2012 Ralph Kasambara moved from being unlawfully detained in Malawi to being released and appointed Attorney General within a month.
Kirsty heads Doughty Street's International Human Rights Team.
R v Kontic and others v Ministry of Defence
(QBD) - representing Serb Claimants over the murder of their family members after the bombing of Kosovo in 1999. Preliminary legal issues include attribution (UK or UN) and Act of State.
Kirsty on BBC Radio 5’s Raising the Bar, presented by Rob Rinder.
Representing Reinhard Vekuii Rukoro (Paramount Chief of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority), and David Frederick (Chief of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association) over 1904-1908 genocide comiitted by Germany. Leading Graeme Hall and Emilie Gonin.
Frequently advises upon and drafts applications to UN special procedures. 2016 - Malek Adly (Egyptian lawyer) in partnership with Euro-Med Human Rights Network and International Bar Association.
Frequently advises in cases of British Nationals detained outside the UK
Kirsty’s public law cases have included a challenge to the compatibility of section 1(1)(a) Protection of the Children Act 1978 with the Article 8 and Article 10 ECHR and an application that the suspended Gibraltan Chief Justice should not have a personal costs liability to the Gibraltar government. In 2014, she successfully judicially reviewed the DPP/ Crown Prosecution Service’s decision that Prince Nasser bin Hamad of Bahrain enjoyed state immunity and international crime (torture). She regularly advises governments and NGOs and charities on legal issues in the context of international human rights law.
R (on application of Wang Yam) v Central Criminal Court and another
 UKSC 76
Kirsty Brimelow QC is frequently instructed in appeals in the Court of Appeal - civil and criminal divisions, the Privy Council, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Kirsty has been instructed in an appeal case in Nigeria, advised upon appeal cases in Colombia (including intervention litigation to the Inter- American Court), advised upon a Privy Council cases from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and carried out training on appeals in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Together with Edward Fitzgerald QC, Kirsty successfully appealed the sexual offences convictions of former politician Andre Penn in the British Virgin Islands.
Notable appeal cases:
Kirsty has defended in murder cases and related serious manslaughter, attempted murder cases for over two decades. In addition, through her international work, Kirsty is experienced in dealing with evidence of mass killings. She has particular expertise in cases with DNA evidence and those involving mental health issues. A selection of cases:
Kirsty has over two decades experience defending against allegations of serious sexual offences. In addition, in the past she was appointed as one of the Crown Prosecution Service’s prosecuting counsel in cases of alleged serious sexual offences. She is experienced in the application of international law to sexual offences allegations, has led fact finding missions and has been appointed to speak as an expert at the United Nations.
Kirsty is instructed in the most serious and prominent cases nationally and internationally at domestic and appellate level; particularly those alleging human rights violations. She is one of a handpicked number of barristers who defends celebrity and other high profile clients. To date, she has represented two Chief Justices (Trinidad and Tobago and Gibraltar). Kirsty is experienced working and advising in disparate jurisdictions and placing their domestic law and constitutions in the context of international law. She experienced in cases tried before Tribunals. In 2007 she was represented the then Chief Justice of Trinidad (Satnarine Sharma) before a Tribunal chaired by Lord Mustill (led and leading junior). It was the first Tribunal worldwide to consider recommending removing a Chief Justice. The subject matter which centred upon accusations and counter -accusations by the Chief Magistrate against the Chief Justice were described by the Tribunal as "almost defying belief". Kirsty and the team were successful and the Chief Justice was reinstated to his office. In 2008, Kirsty represented the Chief Justice of Gibraltar in a judicial review in relation to costs. Between 2006 and 2008, Kirsty advised the Jamaican senior lawyer in the Privy Council case of Millicent Forbes v AG of Jamaica (shooting of child by police), having worked on “death row” cases in Jamaica for 2 months.
In 2009, she was appointed Counsel to an Inquiry into a US $61m fraud in Antigua (the Chief Justice of New South Wales was the Commissioner). In 2011, she undertook direction of the police in evidence gathering. She was instructed on behalf of British Virgin Islands’ former politician Andre Penn and, with Edward Fitzgerald QC, was successful in the Court of Appeal. Kirsty advises upon cases from Jamaica to the Privy Council having previously worked on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee in Kingston Jamaica. In 2012, Kirsty was appointed legal adviser to the Constitution Commission of Fiji in relation to its new Fijian constitution and Public Order Act. She is advising upon a child “terrorist” case in the Court of Appeal Nigeria. She has collaborated in amicus curiae briefs particularly in relation to land rights in the Inter- American Court of Human Rights. She is experienced in utilizing UN special measures on behalf of those whose rights are violated. In 2012 Ralph Kasambara moved from being unlawfully detained in Malawi to being released and appointed Attorney General within a month.
Kirsty regularly advises in relation to extradition and has success of quashing indictments through the use of the specialty rule. In 2012 she advised upon the Julian Assange case. Kirsty is experienced working in disparate jurisdictions and placing domestic law and constitutions in the context of international law. She has an in depth knowledge of human rights abuses in many countries including Zimbabwe, Colombia, Iran, Bahrain, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Malawi, Turkey, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and India.
In 2009, she was appointed Counsel to an Inquiry into a US $61m fraud in Antigua and Barbuda (the Chief Justice of New South Wales was the Commissioner). This involved tracking money over some six jurisdictions. Experts and lawyers were co-ordinated from four jurisdictions. An in depth knowledge of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties was required. In 2011, she undertook direction of the police in evidence gathering in Antigua. Kirsty is experienced in working and advising in disparate jurisdictions. She has been leading in speaking on human rights and business, in particular to the UN Guiding Principles.
2014 Human rights violations fact finding in Nepal on behalf of Alliance For Lawyers At Risk 2009 Bahrain Crown v Hasan Mashaima, Dr. Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, Mohammed Habib al Maqdad and others - observed hearing on behalf of BHRC (all detainees received a Royal pardon 2 weeks later) 2005 "Kraal trial, Kingston Supreme Court Jamaica" - murder trial of SSP Reneto Adams, Corporal Patrick Coke, Constables Devon Bernard, Shane Lyons, Roderick Collier and Lenford Gordon (all officers acquitted of extra-judicial killing)
2016 - Speaker at International Women’s Day Conference. “Women United Against Islamic Fundamentalism”. Paris. To listen to the podcast please see here. 2016 - One of the Judges of Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2016 - speaker at Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, “Surveillance and Human Rights”. London. To watch please see here.
2015 - Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee seminar, "FGM Protection Orders - what impact for girls at risk?". Doughty Street Chambers, London. To watch please see here.
2015 - speaker at IBA Magna Carta/Rule of Law conference on sureveillance and privacy . New Delhi India. 2015 - Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee seminar, "Rupture and Reconciliation in Colombia". Doughty Street Chambers, London. To watch please see here. 2015 - “Freedom of Expression” keynote speech at Human Rights Committee Voice of the Profession, AIJA annual conference, London 2015 – “The Legal Professions’ Leadership on business and the the Bar” ABA Human Rights Center. UN Geneva 2015 – “Global Corporations and the Rule of Law” American Bar Association Magna Carta Conference London 2015 – Thomson Reuters debate on the ECtHR with journalist Matthew Parris, former Home Secretary and Foreign Minister Jack Straw and Michael Mansfield QC 2015 – “Does Human Rights Law mean that the days of national boundaries are numbered?” Slynn Foundation, Clifford Chance Solicitors London. Chaired by Dominic Grieve QC MP, other speakers: Sir Maurice Kay and Lord David Pannick QC 2015 – “Sri Lanka: will the delay of the OISL report help the victim?” Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative London. To listen to the podcast please see here 2015 – Speaker at John Smith Trust/ FCO “Vision and Voice from the Middle East”, London 2015 – “India’s Daughter” – chaired discussion around film in London and supported Vital Voices and Plan UK in New York. To view The Times article please see here 2015 – Chaired discussion on film “White Shadow” (hunting of Albino people in East Africa); Ambassador of Tanzania. Tricycle Theatre London 2014 – Whose Convention is it anyway? Addressing the facts and myths around the Human Rights Act. Oxford University, All Soul’s College. To listen to the podcast please see here 2014 – ‘Human Rights : Available in a court near you or in selected venues only?’ – International Human Rights Day. Bindmans Solicitors, London. To listen to the podcast please see here 2014 – Chaired Bar Human Rights seminar at Bar Conference on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, London 2014 – Speaker at House of Lords San José de Apartadó Chaired by Nelson Mandela’s former lawyer Lord Joffe. Houses of Parliament. To listen to the podcast please see here. 2014 –Witchcraft Accusations and Persecutions: A Legal Perspective. Garden Court Chambers, London 2014 – Speaker “Terrorism law in Nigeria “ alongside Mohammed Bello Adoke, then Hon Attorney- General of the Federation & Minister of Justice of Nigeria. British Nigerian Lawyers’ Forum London 2014 – Speaker on human rights and Criminal Law – Justice Human Rights conference London 2014 – Speaker on mental health and police stations – twice at Solicitor Journal Conference Emirates Stadium London and Canary Wharf London 2013 - Chaired the Bar Human Rights Committee seminar at the Bar Conference – “Law, War and Human Rights” 2013 – Regular speaker on San José de Apartadó peace community, Colombia - Law Society, London 2013 - Chaired seminar on human rights in the Gambia - Amnesty International Centre; live streamed to the Gambia 2013 - Chaired BHRC seminar on human rights in Iran - the Bahai leaders - Houses of Parliament 2013 - Speaker on "Corporate Manslaughter" - Solicitors Journal Conference; Emirates Stadium London 2013 - Chaired seminar upon Professor Bhullar's case and death penalty in India - London 2013 - Speaker on human rights in West Africa/child soldiers at Human Rights Watch Festival - Curzon cinema Mayfair London 2013 - Speaker upon case management in complex/serious criminal law cases including terrorism cases to terrorism specialist Nigerian High Court Judges- London 2012 - Advocacy on behalf of Ralph Kasambara. BBC World Today February 2012. To listen to this please see here 2012 - Chaired Bar Human Rights Committee seminar on conflict resolution at annual Bar Conference London 2012 - Presentation upon human rights violations in Colombia (jointly with law Society) London 2012 - "Women and the Media" and Article 8 and Article 10 - International Media Conference Mauritius 2011 - 2013 - Together with Alex Bailin QC of Matrix, Kirsty delivers the annual Sweet and Maxwell/Justice review of criminal law/human rights law cases London 2010 - International social economic norms - "Dying to Go to School"; War Child BAFTA London 2010 - Independent Judiciary; terrorism and international law - Euro- Med Human Rights Network ( Brussels and Istanbul) 2009 - Impunity and international human rights. Autonoma Univesidad Bogota, Colombia 2004 - 2007 Corporate Manslaughter - annual Firefighters' conference, Scotland and Essex Firefighters' conference, Essex 2005 - Cross-examining children and vulnerable witnesses. Young Bar Conference London
Kirsty is a regular speaker at Doughty Street seminars including the Paul Taylor Appeal series and at Human Rights All Parliamentary Committee meetings (Colombia, Mexico, Bahrain, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Iran). She is a regular contributor at round table meetings, hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 2012, this included President Santos of Colombia. In 2014 it included the Human Riights Minister of Iraq and Minister of Justice of Mexico. Kirsty is an experienced Chair and is frequently invited to act as facilitator at large-scale events.
2016 - Training Nigeria National Judicial Institute and Judges in Child Rights. Appointed consultant to Coram International on Unicef programme. Abuja, Lagos, Cross River. 2016 - Training Bar Students in ethics on behalf of Gray’s Inn. Cumberland Lodge. 2015 - Kirsty Brimelow QC took part in Trust Women annual conference speaking in the Thomson Reuters film on “Women under extremist rule from Isis to Boko Haram”. Please see here to view the film. 2015 - Annual Sweet and Maxwell Human Rights Conference. Speaker on “Surveillance, Privacy and freedom of expression” 2015 – Training to Service Prosecutors on “prosecuting sexual offences”; RAF Northolt, England 2015 – Wrote and joined High Court Judges judging Gray’s Inn Moot final, London 2015 – part of expert “round table” at Bingham Centre on terrorism legislation 2015 – Judge at Human Rights Watch London Network Mock Trial Final between University College London and London School of Economics 2014 – Part of the expert “round table” at Chatham House on European Convention on Human Rights 2013 - Speaker on international human rights law and Amicus Curiae briefs at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia 2012 - Training in Zimbabwe on "free and fair elections"; international human rights law norms and standards. This project was supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee in partnership with the John Smith Memorial Trust 2012 -Training Law Lecturers at The Law School of Tanzania in criminal practice and procedure. She worked for two weeks at the Law School in Dar Es Salaalm 2011/2012 - Kirsty set up and supervised an internship in Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria working on "child witch" cases 2010 - 2013 Training UNICEF established Child Protection Networks in Nigeria. She has currently led 6 trainings. She has led one training of Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission 2010 - Conducted two fact finding missions in Nigeria in order to compile and direct the subsequent trainings sessions and materials 2009 - Training in international human rights at Universidad Autónoma Bogotá Colombia
Also, Kirsty has spent 2 months defending in capital murder cases in Kingston Jamaica (2005 - 2006). She continues to work with her Caribbean colleagues. She was appointed to two international fact finding missions in Colombia in 2009 and 2012. In 2012 Kirsty was invited to join and became part of Peace Brigade International Lawyers Advisory Committee. She is part of the Attorney General’s International Pro Bono Committee, part of the Euro-Med Human Rights Network and part of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk.
Kirsty has a substantial experience in representing defendants in “protest cases”. She defended many arrested in the “May Day riots” of 2000 and 2001 and more recently defended the Drax protesters (Northampton Crown Court) and Plane Stupid protestors (Willesden magistrates court and Harrow Crown Court) ; described as “brilliant advocate” by the father of one of the protestors - read more here, in the BBC, and The Guardian.
LLB (hons) Birmingham University
Winner of University moot (Judged by Sir Stephen Brown)
Pupillage - 1992/1993 Recipient of pupillage award from Littleton chambers
Chairwoman of Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
Bencher of Gray’s Inn
Licensed for Direct Public Access
LSM Accredited Mediator
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