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“Kirsty Brimelow is a superstar. She was absolutely astonishing. Clients loved her and she absolutely nailed it." (Chambers and Partners)

"Kirsty is a powerful and thoughtful advocate. She is highly dedicated and provides excellent advice and strategic wisdom. She is also warm and empathetic with lay clients." (Legal 500 2024)

"Kirsty is a true force of nature. Her knowledge and dedication are second to none." (Chambers and Partners 2023)

"Kirsty is a committed and highly-effective advocate, who combines vast knowledge of the law, with industry, tact, charm and compelling advocacy in securing the best possible outcomes for those she represents." (Legal 500 2023)

"Kirsty is an experienced, committed and hard working silk, who goes the extra mile for clients. Kristy has particular expertise in criminal cases involving issues of international law and human rights, deriving from vast, unparalleled experience in the field. She fights hard for the clients, but is unfailingly courteous, engaging." (Legal 500 2022)

 "A formidable lawyer and a superb jury advocate. Kirsty is a go-to silk for any case that requires meticulous analysis." (Chambers and Partners 2022)

Kirsty is ranked in band 1 in protest law and spotlighted for international human rights law alongside ranking for civil liberties and criminal law. Kirsty also is ranked for criminal law in the Legal 500.

“Kirsty is an excellent advocate. She is passionate in her dedication to various cases. She is extremely conscientious and extremely bright. She is someone who can pick something up and reshape it very quickly. She is extremely committed to human rights and has a breadth of international expertise. She is phenomenal in court as well.” (Criminal Solicitor, Chambers and Partners 2020)

“She has been incredible. She has represented us in big judicial inquiries and she has attended a number of events for us….She is very grounded, down to earth and able to relate of people of all different cultures. She is also fearless…..She also has a fierce mind" (Chambers and Partners 2019)

“She is fiercely intelligent” (Chambers and Partners 2020)

Kirsty is the winner of the First 100 years Inspirational Barrister Woman in Law 2018 and Winner of The Advocate International Pro Bono Barrister of the year 2018. She is Head of the International Human Rights Team and former member of the Criminal Bar Association Executive.

Kirsty was nominated as one of The Times “Top 100 Lawyers” and twice selected for the prestigious The Times “Lawyer of the Week”. She was twice listed as Management Today's most influential 35 women under 35 (2003 and 2005).

Kirsty’s has in depth practitioner expertise in criminal law and also in public law and international human rights law. She has particular expertise in homicide, fraud, sexual offences, drugs and torture cases, child rights and vulnerable witness cases and the law of peaceful protest.

She is the only KC to have represented protestors in both the civil and criminal Court of Appeal; establishing legal precedent.

Kirsty has the distinction of having appeared before many different courts and tribunals for both defence and prosecution and leading in both Criminal and Civil Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Court, Privy Council and the European Court of Human Rights. She has defended before Courts Martial, the Court of Appeal in the British Virgin Islands, the High Court in Gibraltar and an Impeachment Tribunal in Trinidad and Tobago. She has been recognised all her career by the legal directories for her particular skill in jury trials and expertise in cross-examination. She is brought into civil cases specifically to cross-examine witnesses.

Kirsty often is instructed in cases with complex human rights elements, frequently to challenge cases which are legal “firsts”. She defended in the first “juryless trial” at the Crown Court in England and Wales, the only murder case where the defence was “in camera” and the largest cannabis case of its kind in the U.K. where she defended the first of 24 defendants.

Kirsty is an expert in International Human Rights Law.  Kirsty was elected the first female Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and completed a six year term in December 2018, having served on the Executive for 15 years. All pro bono work was alongside her Doughty Street practice. She has advised and intervened in human rights cases around the world including in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, the ECOWAS Court in Nigeria, the Superior Tribunal of Santander Colombia, the Supreme Court of the United States and courts in the Maldives, South Sudan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Czech Republic and before the United Nations.

Internationally, Kirsty’s former clients include two Chief Justices and one former President. Currently, she is representing a Judge in the peace process court in Bogotá Colombia (JEP) ,a political prisoner in Turkey and a police officer convicted of murder in Jamaica.

In Inquiries, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda appointed Kirsty as Counsel to a Commission of Inquiry into evidence of international fraud by a former government. The Chief Justice of New South Wales was appointed Commissioner. In 2012 she was appointed legal advisor to the Constitution Commission of Fiji. In 2016 Kirsty headed a team of lawyers gathering evidence of sexual violence and torture in Sri Lanka and presented the report at the United Nations. In 2016 Kirsty observed and provided a report on child rights violations by France and the U.K. on the clearing of “The Jungle” camp in Calais. In 2018 Kirsty was Counsel to a People’s Inquiry at the United Nations into the 1988 Massacre in Iran. Between 2019-2021 Kirsty has acted as Counsel to the academic led “Airspace Tribunal” in London, Toronto and Berlin.

In public law, highlights include her successful judicial review of a decision by the DPP that  a Prince of Bahrain was protected by state immunity from prosecution for alleged torture; her legal work introducing Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders and influencing privacy law reform after representing Amnesty International before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal against the British Security Services.


In 2022/2023 Kirsty represents the Criminal Bar Association on the Criminal Legal Aid Advisory Board (alongside the Ministry of Justice). She represents the CBA on the Crown Court Improvement Group, chaired by the Senior Presiding Judge. She meets with senior government Law Officers and judiciary on policy and operation in criminal justice.  

Between 2021-2023 Kirsty gave evidence on the criminal justice system and on protest law to the Justice select committee (twice), the Home Affairs select committee, and the Public Accounts select committee.  

In 2020- 2021 Kirsty gave evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee and the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights on the lawfulness of the Emergency Covid Regulations. In 2021 she gave evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights on the proposed protest law in the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. 

In 2016 Kirsty was elected a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. In 2021 she was elected to the Management Board/Directorship of Gray’s Inn. She is a Gray’s Inn trainer of advocacy and ethics. 

Pre- Litigation and media

Kirsty is a “go to” for cases involving high profile persons including for a holistic approach at pre-litigation (civil) or pre-charge stage (criminal).

Kirsty was appointed a spokesperson for the Bar Council between 1998 - 2008 and remains a frequent legal contributor to all forms of media. She is a columnist for The Times.

Training and Speaking 

Kirsty also has high-level expertise in compiling and delivering human rights trainings, internationally and nationally, supported by the United Nations and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Kirsty is a sought after keynote speaker and facilitator of large scale events, including at the United Nations and international conferences.

She is direct access qualified.


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 a “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.

What the directories say

Kirsty is recommended as a leading KC in the Legal 500 2023 and in Chambers and Partners 2023. She has been recommended in each directory since becoming a KC. Previously, she was recommended as a junior (each year for 15 years in Chambers and Partners).

Joshua Rozenberg KC (hons): selected Kirsty as one of the “noteworthy” KCs (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.

Chambers and Partners – General Crime

“Kirsty is an excellent advocate. She is passionate in her dedication to various cases. She is extremely conscientious and extremely bright. She is someone who can pick something up and reshape it very quickly. She is extremely committed to human rights and has a breadth of international expertise. She is phenomenal in court as well.” (2019)

Chambers & Partners – Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"She is an experienced silk with an extensive international human rights practice, appearing or advising at the ICC, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Courts Martial and Courts of Appeal in the Caribbean and the ECOWAS court. She takes on complex civil liberties cases, such as those involving physical integrity, the dignity of individuals and their right to effective legal remedy." (2018)
"She does great, cutting-edge work internationally." (2018)

Chambers and Partners – Public International Law

“She has been incredible. She has represented us in big judicial enquiries and she has attended a number of events for us. She has done loads with us and for us. She is very grounded, down to earth and able to relate to people of all different cultures. She is also fearless. Once she gets her teeth into something she doesn’t relent. She is relentless and not averse to taking risks. She also has a fierce mind.” (Client) (2018)

Judicial praise includes “cogent and persuasive submissions” (Dyson LJ).

“Kirsty Brimelow is a superstar. She’s very good and very charming.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“Always in the big cases" and "the best closing speech I have ever seen" (Chambers and Partners 2015)

“She nailed the case. She was absolutely astonishing. Clients loved her, and she absolutely nailed it.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“I’ve been very impressed with her. I enjoy working with her.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“She is an outstanding jury advocate and human rights lawyer, known for her thorough preparation.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)


For queries in relation to instructing Kirsty Brimelow KC please contact Matthew Butchard for Crime queries and Sian Wilkins for Civil, Human Rights and International queries on +44 (0)20 7404 1313

Kirsty's CV is available here.

International Law

Kirsty is former Head of Doughty Street's International Human Rights Team

Kirsty is former Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee.  

Currently she is a trustee of WWF-UK. 

2021 – 2023 Kirsty is representing the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed in the investigation into the assassination attempt upon him on 6 May 2021. Previously, she joined the local lawyers representing him upon his arrest for arresting a Judge.  

2022- 2023 Kirsty is leading a team of barristers and academics as Consultants to UNICEF Myanmar in delivering child rights training and advising on international law interventions. 

In 2021-2022 Kirsty together with Maryam Mir, as Consultants for OSCE, led a fact finding and report into Kosovo’s handling of terrorism cases. 

2022 – Kirsty successfully appealed a murder conviction in Jamaica before the Privy Council (leading Graeme Hall).  

“The Board also wishes to express its appreciation to Mr Mastaglio, Ms Shaw and Mrs Leak; to Ms Brimelow QC and Mr Hall; and to their instructing solicitors Simons Muirhead and Burton, for acting without fee - truly pro bono publico - in bringing this very troubling case before the Board.” 

2018- 2021 – observation at multiple hearings in Medellín and then online and report on the trial of Santiago Uribe; accused of heading a paramilitary “death squad.” 

In 2009, Kirsty was appointed by President of Antigua as 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 senior police of Antigua in evidence gathering (appointment by Attorney General). 

In 2012 Kirsty successfully represented British Virgin Islands’ former politician Andre Penn and, with Edward Fitzgerald KC, in the Court of Appeal (convictions for sexual offences quashed). 

2007/2008 Impeachment Tribunal. 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 (led by Geoffrey Robertson KC alongside local lawyers). 

2013 - Advised upon a child “terrorist” case in the Court of Appeal Nigeria.  

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 has collaborated in amicus curiae briefs particularly in relation to land rights in the Inter- American Court of Human Rights. 

Kirsty was successful in intervention in the IACHR on behalf of removed Judges in Honduras (drafted with Steve Cragg KC on behalf of BHRC). 

Kirsty is experienced in utilizing UN special measures on behalf of those whose rights are violated, including political figures (Ralph Kasambara Malawi). 

R v Kontic and others  v Ministry of Defence (QBD) [2016] - 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. 

Represented 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. Led 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 was interviewed by BBC World Service on her work mediating between San José de Apartadó comunidad de paz and the Colombian government. 

Kirsty commented on Theresa May's plan to deport 'sex abusers' whilst she was home secretary. 

Kirsty spoke at the UN and called for justice for the 1988 massacre in Iran. 

Kirsty Brimelow KC was interviewed about her life and practice as a human rights barrister. 

Kirsty speaks on the 1988 massacre in Iran and potential legal remedies. 

Kirsty was overall moderator for a ground-breaking UN expert conference on the abuse of people through the manifestation of a witchcraft belief. It is the first-ever to discuss witchcraft and human rights in a systematic and in-depth manner at the UN or international level. 

Public Law and Human Rights

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.

Notable cases:

  • Lescene Edwards v The Queen (Jamaica) [2022] UKPC 11 – represented appellant in successful appeal against murder conviction in Jamaica. Conviction quashed (leading Graeme Hall). 

  • Kontic v MOD [2016] EWHC 2034 (QB) – breaches of Article 2 over Kosovo in 1999.

  • Les Balkwell v Chief Constable of Essex Police (QBD) (2016) - breach of Article 2 ECHR in failure of Essex police to carry out an effective investigation into the death of Lee Balkwell. Press: Echo News and Romford Recorder.

  • Children’s Guardian v Local Authority of Swansea (Swansea Family Court) (2016) - Representing the Children's Guardian representing the child. Declaration of breach of Article 8 and 6 rights of the child and damages of £10000 ordered to be paid by the Local Authority to the child.

  • Together with Professor Nick Grief and Megan Hirst, advising Trident Ploughshares - Public Interest Case Against Trident on legal action arising out of the renewal of Trident.

  • R v Docherty (Appellant) [2016] UKSC 62 On appeal from [2014] EWCA Crim 1197  (intervention by Secretary of State) The Appellant was sentenced to IPP on 20 December 2012, with a specified minimum period of five years and four months. The appeal concerned transitional provisions whereby a new Act LASPO abolished IPPs and replaced them with a different extended sentence regime. He argued that the new scheme was less severe, so to apply the harsher, earlier scheme was contrary to an international principle of “lex mitior” binding on English courts by virtue of article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). Appeal dismissed. (leading 

  • Tahir Alam v Secretary of State for Education (First Tier Tribunal) [2016] - appeal against direction pursuant to section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 (“Trojan Horse” case) . Press: The Guardian and Daily Mail.

  • R (on application of Wang Yam) v Central Criminal Court and another [2015] UKSC 76

  • Liberty and others v Government Headquarters, SIS and others [2015] 1 Cr. App. R. 24 – Represented Amnesty International. Complaint that data collecting programmes in breach of Articles 8, 10 and 14

  • Reprieve and others v Government Headquarters, SIS and others [2014] IPT - Represented Amnesty International. Drafted complaint to IPT over interception of LPP material. (Leading Jude Bunting).

  • R (on the application of Wang Yam) (Appellant) v Central Criminal Court and another (Respondents) [2015] UKSC 76 - On appeal from [2014] EWHC 3558 (Admin) - In April 2011 Wang Yam lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against the UK, complaining that his trial and conviction were unfair and therefore violated article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Wang Yam argued that he should be permitted to refer to the in camera material in his response to the UK’s observations before the ECtHR. In February 2014 Ouseley J ruled that Wang Yam should not be able to disclose the in camera material to the ECtHR. Wang Yam applied for and was granted judicial review of that decision, but the application was dismissed on its merits. The Divisional Court allowed a ‘leapfrog’ appeal direct to the Supreme Court on the following questions: “Is there a power… to prevent an individual from placing material before the European Court of Human Rights? If so, can the power be exercised where the domestic court is satisfied that it is not in the interests of state for the material to be made public even to the Strasbourg court?” Appeal dismissed. (with Lord Pannick KC and Nik Grubeck)

  • R (on application of Yam ) v Central Criminal Court [2014] EWHC 3558 (Admin); [2015] 1 Cr. App. R. 10 – application that no power to make a contempt order restricting placing in camera evidence before ECtHR. 

  • R v P [2009] - complaint procedure over inclusion over applicant’s name on Sex Offender Register. Succesful in representations.

  • Solicitor General v Dodd [2014] EWHC 1285 (QB) – contempt.

  • David Schofield (Chief Justice of Gibraltar) vs AG [2010] Gibraltar – represented the former Chief Justice in an appeal against a costs order arising from a judicial review.

  • FF v Director of Public Prosecutions [2014] EWHC 3419 (Admin) – judicial review of DPP’s decision that Prince Nasser bin Hamad of Bahrain had state immunity.

  • Advisor to Constitutional Commission of Fiji

  • Impeachment Tribunal (chaired by Lord Mustill) vs former Chief Justice Sharma of Trinidad and Tobago [2007] – Successfully represented the former Chief Justice.

  • Appointed by government of Antigua as Counsel to Commission of Inquiry into $61 million fraud. Commissioner is Chief Justice of New South Wales.

Criminal Appeals

Kirsty Brimelow KC 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 KC, Kirsty successfully appealed the sexual offences convictions of former politician Andre Penn in the British Virgin Islands.

Notable cases:

  • Lescene Edwards v The Queen (Jamaica) [2022] UKPC 11 – represented appellant in successful appeal against murder conviction in Jamaica. Conviction quashed (leading Graeme Hall).
  • R v L [2019] EWCA 1326 -represented 15 year-old boy convicted of murder of Quamari Serunjuma-Barnes; at trial and on appeal. Detailed consideration of less capable decision making by children.

  • R v S [2019] EWCA 390 – historic serious sexual offences. Appeal on subsequent use of illegally retained DNA in breach of section 63 PACE 1984 (as amended/inserted by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012). Reliance on comparative law, namely sections 20 and 21 Family Law Reform Act 1969. 

  • R v Docherty; Secretary of State intervening UKSC Judgment pending.

  • R v Khan [2001] EWCA Crim 923 – defended in robbery allegations.

  • R v Twomey [2009] EWCA 1035 [2011] EWCA 8 - Kirsty defended in this "juryless trial" appeal before the Lord Chief Justice. The appeal included an application that the Lord Chief Justice recuse himself from the appeal on the basis of appearance of bias. Extensive national and international publicity. ECtHR pending.

  • R v Wang Yam [2008] EWCA 269 [2010] EWCA Crim 2072 first murder trial where the defence was partly in camera on grounds of "national security". Interlocutory appeal heard by LCJ (led junior). Appeal pending before ECtHR.

  • R v Andre Penn [2012 - BVI Court of Appeal] - Kirsty and Edward Fitzgerald KC were the two KCs selected to appeal the conviction in this high profile case (rape of a child by former politician and brother and deputy prime minister). Successful. Kirsty is representing Mr. Penn in the retrial.

  • R v M [2011] EWCA Crim 2752; [2012] Crim. L.R. 789 – defended indecent photographs of a child 

  • Lewis and ors v Attorney General's Reference No. 15, 16 & 17 [2012] EWCA Crim 1414 - prosecuted by Solicitor General. Guideline case under the new Drugs Offences Guidelines.

  • R v TBF [2011] EWCA Crim 26 – defended historical sexual offences complaints by daughters.

  • R v Morris [2013] EWCA Crim 727 – murder; minimum term.

  • R v Dang and Others [2012] - leave granted by the Court of Appeal. Largest production of cannabis case in Europe (joint operation between UK and the Netherlands). Kirsty represented the first defendant (out of 24) in three month trial at the Central Criminal Court and £5million confiscation hearing pending. For more information please see here.

  • Counsel to Commission of Inquiry in Antigua [2009 - 2010] - inquiry into diversion of monies from the repayment of a US$29 million loan. The Commissioner was the Chief Justice of New South Wales Australia.

  • R v Mohamed Nasheed [2012 - 2015] – Kirsty was instructed to advise the former President of the Maldives upon a charge relating to the arrest of a Judge.

  • R v M [2011] EWCA Crim 2752; [2012] Crim. L.R. 789 – defended indecent photographs of a child.

Homicide and Related Grave Offences

Kirsty has defended in murder cases and manslaughter and attempted murder cases for over two decades. In addition, she has prosecuted in murder cases. In her international work, she has worked on appeals on death row cases in Jamaica (2 months in Jamaica and advisory Privy Council work). She is experienced in cross-examining experts with a particular expertise in cases with DNA evidence and those involving children and people with mental health issues. In 2017, Kirsty trained the Serious Crime Agency Officers upon giving evidence as experts in courts.

Notable cases:

  • Lescene Edwards v The Queen (Jamaica) [2022] UKPC 11 – represented appellant in successful appeal against murder conviction in Jamaica. Conviction quashed (leading Graeme Hall).
  • R v LA and another (2022) Manchester Crown Court – terrorism charges against two schoolboys. Acquitted on majority of charges and received non-custodial sentence. 

  • R v Moore and others (2021) Cambridge Crown Court. Acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter. 

  • R v L [2019] EWCA 1326 -represented 15 year-old boy convicted of murder of Quamari Serunjuma-Barnes; at trial and on appeal. Detailed consideration of less capable decision making by children. For more information please see here

  • R v Atkin [2017] Nottingham Crown Court successfully defended in case where Judge found no case to answer on a charge of misconduct in public office against prison officers at Nottingham Prison after a death of a prisoner in a GeoAmey van within the prison premises. The officers had taken the prisoner onto the van. Kirsty led the analysis and evidence of three experts on control and restraint.  (led David Toal; prosecuted by Max Hill KC leading David Malone). For more information please see here.

  • R v Z [2017] Central Criminal Court defended 15 year old accused of murder of another 15 year old Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes. For more information please see herehereherehere and here

  • R v Reza [2017] Central Criminal Court defended in death by dangerous driving case. For more information please see here.

  • R v Badvie [2014] Central Criminal Court – Defended in murder of mother. Plea of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility. For more information please see here.

  • R v Dang [2014] EWCA Crim 348 – defended largest cannabis production.

  • R v Nathan Deacon [2013] Central Criminal Court- Defended in gangland shooting. To view the BBC news article please see here.

  • R v G and others [2010] Snaresbrook Crown Court – acquittal of numerous firearms related charges. To view the BBC news article please see here.

  • R v Twomey [2009] EWCA Crim 1035; [2011] EWCA Crim. For more information please see here and here

  • Heathrow armed robbery. This was the first "juryless" trial.

  • R v C [2008] St. Albans Crown Court – Successful defence in relation to firearms charges.

  • R v Liddy [2008] Luton Crown Court – Defended in murder and conspiracy to rob. Severe beating of a cyclist by gang – leading to his death.

  • R v Wang Yam [2008] EWCA Crim 269; [2010] EWCA 2072 – Defended in two trials of murder of a reclusive man in his home. This is the only murder case where the defence was heard in camera. For more information please see here and here

  • R v Zahoor Rashid [2006] Luton Crown Court – Defended in “honour killing”. To read the BBC news article please see here.

  • R v Khan and others [2005] St Albans Crown Court – Defended in attempted murder and kidnap.

  • R v Stephen Byrne [2005] Luton Crown Court – Defended in “one punch” manslaughter.

  • R v Tyrell [2005] Central Criminal Court – Defended murder of wife; plea to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.

  • R v Green and others [2004] St. Albans Crown Court –  Defended in murder; stabbing occurred during a botched robbery of cannabis. Acquitted.

  • R v Cessay [2001] Central Criminal Court – Defended in murder of wife. Plea to manslaughter; diminished responsibility through organic brain disease of defendant.

  • R v Amos, Amos and Amos [2001] Reading Crown Court – murder and perverting the course of justice. Leading representing Jerry Amos. For more information please see the BBC and The Telegraph.

  • R. v  G [1999] Central Criminal Court – Defending; stabbing outside a pub.

Serious Sexual Offences

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. She regularly gives expert evidence on sexual offences to parliamentary select committees.

Notable cases:

  • R v W [2022/2023] multiple rape allegations in “stranger” case. Not guilty.

  • R v H [2023] multiple rape allegations by child complainant. Section 28 and intermediary. Not guilty.

  • R v S [2018] – defended in multiple historic rape allegations by children. Successful in obtaining leave to appeal convictions. Appeal pending.

  • R v OD [2018] – successfully defended man accused of rape of 13 year old

  • R v RN  [2016]– successfully defended pensioner accused of sexual assault of tourists outside Buckingham Palace

  • RAF Northolt [2015] Trained Service Prosecutors on prosecuting sexual offences.

  • R v M [2015] Court Martial – successfully defended allegation of sexual assault. Armed forces defendant.

  • R v M [2013] Winchester Crown Court – successfully defended allegation of sexual assault. Armed forces defendant.

  • R v R [2013] Leicester Crown Court – successfully defended historic sexual offences allegations by daughter.

  • R v Andre Penn [2012] BVI – successful appeal against sexual offences convictions in relation to allegations by child.

  • R v TBF [2011] EWCA Crim 26 – successfully argued abuse of process on historical sexual offences complaints by daughters. Overturned on prosecution appeal.

  • R v Assange [2012] – analysed and advised upon sexual offences allegations.

  • Lewis and ors v Attorney General's Reference No. 15, 16 & 17 [2012] EWCA Crim 1414 - prosecuted by Solicitor General. Guideline case under the new Drugs Offences Guidelines.

  • R v B [2010] Isleworth Crown Court – successfully defended famous musician against child pornography allegations.

  • R v M [2010] Snaresbrook Crown Court – defended rape allegation by 8 year old stepdaughter.

  • R v G [2009] Isleworth Crown Court - defended rape allegation.

  • R v G [2008] Woolwich Crown Court – successful defence of prison officer’s allegation of rape against another prison officer.

  • R v J [2008] Luton Crown Court – successful defence of rape allegation.

  • R v Elmi [2008] Southwark Crown Court – defended in “cold case” stranger rape.

  • R v C [2007] Bournemouth Crown Court – successful defence of rape allegation.

  • R v Hammond [2007] St. Albans Crown Court – Successful prosecution of charges of incest.

  • R v E [2005] Inner London Crown Court - defended rape case with complainant lacking capacity. First conviction quashed on appeal.

  • R v K [2005] Southend Crown Court –  successfully defended allegations of rape offences by daughter (child when giving evidence).

  • R v M [2005] Luton Crown Court  - successfully defended historic sexual offences allegations from former pupils of P.E. teacher.

  • R v Highton [2005] Luton Crown Court – successful prosecution of former headmaster for sexual offences allegations from boys at the school.

  • R v Khan [2004] Luton Crown Court – defended in male rapes.

  • R v B [1998] St. Albans Crown Court – successfully defended sexual assault against a child.

Inquiries and Inquests

Kirsty regularly acts for bereaved families in inquests. Between 2020 – 2022, Kirsty acted in the cases of:

  • Adam Stanmore Oxford – Article 2 ECHR jury inquest. Adam Stanmore was 37 years old and was found dead on 13 June 2019. He had a history of self-reported depression and had type 1 diabetes. An inquest has today concluded that multiple failures by the police, paramedics and mental health services contributed to his death, including the decision of paramedics to delete records which indicated that Adam had taken an overdose of insulin to kill himself. The jury concluded that multiple failures by the police and the health services contributed to his suicide.

  • Sarah Williams Reading – Article 2 jury inquest. Sarah was a vulnerable mentally ill patient at Prospect Park hospital. She set fire to her room and burned to death in her room. The inquest jury found that the numerous failings of the hospital may have contributed to her death. The inquest also considered the actions of the Fire and Rescue Service (reforms to its practice have been made since Sarah’s death). 

  • Alex Turner Bolton – Finding that Alex’s suicide was contributed to by neglect. Kirsty represented the parents of Alex Turner, 24 years old when he was found dead on train tracks in Salford on 5 December 2019, having been hit by a train. He had lain on the train tracks. The inquest found that gross failings by the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust probably contributed to Alex’s death. Prevention Further Deaths report ordered.

Kirsty also is experienced in cases tried before international Tribunals.

  • In 2007 she 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 2009, Kirsty was appointed Counsel to an Inquiry into a US $61m high-level fraud in Antigua and Barbuda (IHI inquiry -the Chief Justice of New South Wales was the Commissioner) involving politicians and high-profile businessmen.

  • In 2011, after the cessation of the IHI Inquiry, Kirsty was appointed by the Attorney General to lead the police in its evidence gathering and analysis of the fraud.

  • 2018- 2022 Counsel to Airspace Tribunal (London, Sydney, Toronto, Berlin, and Ramallah). Evidence gathering to support a new right of freedom of to live without physical or psychological threat from the sky.


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.

Regulatory and Financial Crime

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.

Notable cases:

  • R v N and others [2014] and [2015] Reading Crown Court – Represented first defendant in large scale fraud relating to facilitating asylum seekers for gain.

  • R v Dang and others [2013] Central Criminal Court – Defended first out of 24 defendants in £5 million confiscation hearing; including issues of hidden assets.

  • R v Pham [2007] Wood Green Crown Court – Defended in contested confiscation hearing arising out of drugs convictions.

  • R v Hume  [2006] Luton Crown Court – Leading defending in large- scale six defendant “car ringing” and contested confiscation proceedings. As a junior; prosecuted by Q.C. and two juniors. 

Trial Observations

2018 -2021 Santiago Uribe Vélez trial Juzgado de Circuito Penal Especializado de Antioquia (specialised Penal Circuit Court) in Medellín Colombia Interim report.

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)

Seminars and Lectures

Kirsty gives seminar and lectures around the World including:

2020 -  Speaker on Rose Heilbron Lecture 'Love , Law and Government in the time of Coronavirus'

2019 – Speaker on Thomson Reuters Criminal Law/human rights panel

2019 – Talk on climate change to care leavers Newham Town Hall  London

2019 – Regular speaker on witchcraft and abuse of children and people with albinism – including at Conway Hall and Lancaster University. The conference programme is available here

2018 – Keynote and on panel on human rights. Lahore Pakistan

2018 – Speaker on Colombia and the peace process at Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh Scotland.

2018 – Houses of Parliament Committee – speaking on freedom of expression and rule of law in Turkey.

2018 – Speaker on Independence of Judges in Honduras

2018 – Keynote on Rule of Law and Terrorism. Abuja Nigeria

2014- 2020 – Regular speaker on panels about FGM.

2014-2020 – Regular speaker on UNHRC panels on human rights violations. UN Geneva, Switzerland.

2011- 2018 – Regular speaker on panels, in Parliament, at conferences and universities nationally and internationally on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee

2012 – 2018 – Speaker every year at Bar Conference of England and Wales

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 surveillance 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 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 KC

2015 – “Does Human Rights Law mean that the days of national boundaries are numbered?” Slynn Foundation, Clifford Chance Solicitors London. Chaired by Dominic Grieve KC MP, other speakers: Sir Maurice Kay and Lord David Pannick KC

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 KC 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 Universidad 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 Rights 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.

  • Bencher of Gray's Inn

  • Trustee of Civitas Maximas

  • Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (2012 - 2018)

  • Appointed legal adviser to the Constitution Commission of Fiji (2012)

  • Appointed to the Legal Advisory Committee for Peace Brigade International (2012 -)

  • Appointed Chair of Working Group responding to Law Commission Consultation on Contempt of Court (2012)

  • Appointed by the Criminal Bar Association to respond to the DPP's draft Guidelines on Social media prosecutions (2013)

  • Called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

  • Called to the Bar of Gibraltar

  • Spokesperson for the Bar (1998-2008)

  • Criminal Bar Association (CBA) executive (2004 - 2010) - Organiser of CBA seminars at Bar Conference 2006-2008

  • CBA representative at DNA workshops organised by ACPO and CPS (2006 - 2009)

  • Bar Council Public Affairs Committee (2000-2007)

  • Pro Bono Bar Caribbean Committee (2005 -2008)

  • Central London Bar Mess Committee (2004 - 2007)

  • Opinion Leader Research Panel (2005-2008)

  • Representative for the Bar Human Rights Committee on the Euro - Med Human Rights Network (2005 - 2010) Please see here

  • Populus Research Panel (2006-2008)

  • Founder and Chairwoman of 187 Fleet Street Chambers' Human Rights committee (2005 - 2007)

  • Bar Conference Organising Board 2006 and 2007

  • Vice-Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee (2009 - 2012)


2018 Nigeria  – Kirsty has devised and led training on rights and protections of Internally displaced persons in North East Nigeria and on environmental law and international law in the Niger Delta. The trainings were of around 150 Nigerian Bar Association barristers and also a training of the “trainers”. It was the first time that all the lawyers from the 6 branches across the North East region have been brought together. The Niger Delta trainings included representatives from each of the 40 branches of the Niger Delta region as well as each state’s Attorney General’s office and key governmental agencies with mandates to address oil spills and pollution. For more information please see here and here

2016-2017 Nigeria – training the Nigerian National Judicial Institute in child rights with a focus upon international law, case management and interviewing of vulnerable witnesses (including set up of court rooms). Kirsty worked largely as a single trainer across 4 states and assisted selected NJI trainers training Federal and State High Court Judges and Magistrates. She was engaged as a consultant to Unicef and Coram Children’s Charity. Ongoing liaison with the National Judicial Institute.

2017 Serious Crime Agency UK – trained senior officers as part of their course to become expert witnesses. This involved mock cross-examinations.

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 KC 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.

Protest cases

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 a “brilliant advocate” by the father of one of the protestors - read more here, in the BBC, and The Guardian.