Professor Nick Grief

Year of Call

Professor Nick Grief

Professor Nick Grief (associate tenant) specialises in public international law and European law with particular reference to the legal status of nuclear weapons. He is representing the Marshall Islands before the ICJ in cases against India, Pakistan and the UK concerning negotiations relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. Besides defending protesters accused of public order offences at AWE Aldermaston where the warheads for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system are built and maintained, he has given evidence to English courts on the legality of nuclear weapons and to the House of Commons Defence Committee on the legal implications of the White Paper on ‘The future of the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent’. He was closely involved in the World Court Project (notably as the author of a legal memorandum entitled ‘The World Court Project on Nuclear Weapons and International Law’) which led to the ICJ's advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons in July 1996. He was a member of the panel of experts at the Peacerights inquiry into the military operations against Iraq, and counsel to the Peacerights inquiry into the legality of nuclear weapons. 


He has over 35 years’ experience as a legal academic and is a professor at the University of Kent where he completed his own undergraduate and doctoral studies. He also delivers EU law training for the Financial Conduct Authority and the National Assembly for Wales and from 1999 to 2008 was joint editor of the European Human Rights Reports. 


Notable cases:

  • R v Zauner and Others, Reading Magistrates' Court, October / November 2009 (DJ Crabtree)
  • R v McBride, West Berkshire Magistrates' Court, August 2008 (DJ Sanders)
  • R v Jones & Milling, Bristol Crown Court, September 2006
  • R v Jones and others; Ayliffe and others v DPP; Swain v DPP [2006] UKHL 16
  • A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) [2005] UKHL 71
  • R (Denson) v Child Support Agency [2002] EWHC 154 (Admin), [2002] 1 FCR 460


Recent publications:

  • Enforcing the London 2012 airspace restrictions: lessons arising from the 'lethal force option', [2014] European Human Rights Law Review, 142-153

  • Nuclear weapons: the legal status of use, threat and possession, Nuclear Abolition Forum, Issue 1 (2011), 7-13

  • Deterrence: The Legal Context, in Johnson R and Zelter A (eds) Trident and International Law, Lauth Press (2011), 172-176

  • The domestic reach of general principles of law: First City Trading revisited, The Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 2007-2008, vol 10, 199-214
  • The Iraq War: Issues of International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law, in Williams A and Shiner P (eds) The Iraq War and International Law. Oxford: Hart Publishing (2008), 95-116
  • The War Crimes and International Criminal Law entries in Cane P and Conaghan J (eds) The New Oxford Companion to Law, Oxford: OUP (2008), 604-605 and 1233-1234
  • EU law and security, (2007) 32 European Law Review, 752-765
  • Using Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights as a defence to criminal proceedings arising from non-violent direct action against nuclear weapons: the relevance of international law, (2007) 11(3) The International Journal of Human Rights, 327-347
  • Is Britain's continued possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal? in Booth K and Barnaby F (eds) The future of Britain's nuclear weapons: experts reframe the debate, Oxford: Oxford Research Group (2006), Current Decisions Report, 41-48
  • The exclusion of foreign torture evidence: a qualified victory for the rule of law [2006] European Human Rights Law Review, 200-216


BA (Hons) Law with French (Class I)

Maxwell Law Prize

PhD Public International Law: University of Kent


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)