“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.” (Solicitor Chambers and Partners 2019)
Kirsty leads in criminal law, public law and international human rights cases. She has particular expertise in child rights cases, homicide and torture cases, cases involving vulnerable witnesses and the law of peaceful protest. She is former Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), meaning that she has worked on hundreds of human rights and criminal cases globally, both in country and remotely. As a result, Kirsty also has developed a deep understanding of cultural, religious, political and economic dynamics around legal frameworks.
Kirsty is an acclaimed trial and appeal court barrister and has hard earned practitioner expertise across a diverse range of cases. She prefers not to provide a sliding scale of seriousness, recognising that each case is serious for the client. However, 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.
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 against the British Security Services.
Internationally Kirsty’s former clients include two former 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.
Kirsty is a “go to” for cases involving high profile persons including for a holistic approach at pre-litigation or pre-charge stage.
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. 2019 Kirsty was Counsel to the academic led “Airspace Tribunal”.
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 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. Kirsty also is an expert on UN mechanisms.
Kirsty was elected the first female Chair of BHRC and completed a six year term in December 2018, having served on the Executive for 15 years. In 2018 Kirsty was appointed Chair of the Independent Appeals Panel (BBFC) regulating the protection of children in interaction with the internet. In 2016 Kirsty was elected a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. She is a Gray’s Inn trainer of advocacy and ethics. In 2018 Kirsty was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2019 Kirsty was appointed to the National Working Group On Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief.
Kirsty was selected 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). She was appointed a spokesperson for the Bar Council between 1998 - 2008 and remains a frequent legal contributor to all forms of media.
Throughout her career Kirsty has worked in shaping the law and legal professions through serving on the Bar Council, the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) and BHRC. This includes leading the CBA’s response to the Law Commission's Consultation on Contempt of Court and leading BHRC’s proposals to the Home Affairs Committee to combat FGM and advising on the legislation; see here. In 2019 Kirsty gave evidence to the Commission on Miscarriages of Justice; she also was one of a select number of experts to present evidence to the newly appointed “terror watchdog” in Australia.
In 2019 Kirsty worked with Amnesty Denmark, Amnesty Finland and Switzerland and the Danish Ministry of Justice to change the law on sexual offences to “consent based”. To date this has been successful in Denmark.
Kirsty also has high-level expertise in compiling and delivering human rights trainings, internationally and nationally, supported by the UN 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 also speaks to children from deprived backgrounds on human rights and the environment and mentors many students and young people.
Kirsty is a Visiting Professor at Goldsmith University London, and Judge of the International Law Moots at Oxford University.
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
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.” (Solicitor) (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)
Kirsty has again been recommended as a leading QC in the Legal 500 2020 and in Chambers and Partners 2020. 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).
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.
“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".
“Kirsty Brimelow is a superstar. She’s very good and very charming.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)
“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)
‘Her work includes criminal appeals and private prosecutions.’ (Legal 500 2018)
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 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 QC 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.
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.
- Kontic v MOD  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)  UKSC 62 On appeal from  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)  - 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  UKSC 76
- Liberty and others v Government Headquarters, SIS and others  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  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)  UKSC 76 On appeal from  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 QC and Nik Grubeck)
- R (on application of Yam ) v Central Criminal Court  EWHC 3558 (Admin);  1 Cr. App. R. 10 – application that no power to make a contempt order restricting placing in camera evidence before ECtHR.
- R v P  - complaint procedure over inclusion over applicant’s name on Sex Offender Register. Succesful in representations.
- Solicitor General v Dodd  EWHC 1285 (QB) – contempt.
- David Schofield (Chief Justice of Gibraltar) vs AG  Gibraltar – represented the former Chief Justice in an appeal against a costs order arising from a judicial review.
- FF v Director of Public Prosecutions  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  – 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.
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:
- R v Docherty; Secretary of State intervening UKSC Judgment pending.
- R v Khan  EWCA Crim 923 – defended in robbery allegations.
- R v Twomey  EWCA 1035  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  EWCA 269  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 QC were the two QCs 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  EWCA Crim 2752;  Crim. L.R. 789 – defended indecent photographs of a child
- Lewis and ors v Attorney General's Reference No. 15, 16 & 17  EWCA Crim 1414 - prosecuted by Solicitor General. Guideline case under the new Drugs Offences Guidelines.
- R v TBF  EWCA Crim 26 – defended historical sexual offences complaints by daughters.
- R v Morris  EWCA Crim 727 – murder; minimum term.
- R v Dang and Others  - 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  EWCA Crim 2752;  Crim. L.R. 789 – defended indecent photographs of a child.
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.
- R v Atkin  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 QC leading David Malone). For more information please see here.
- R v Z  Central Criminal Court defended 15 year old accused of murder of another 15 year old Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes. For more information please see here, here, here, here and here.
- R v Reza  Central Criminal Court defended in death by dangerous driving case. For more information please see here.
- R v Badvie  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  EWCA Crim 348 – defended largest cannabis production.
- R. v. Nathan Deacon  Central Criminal Court- Defended in gangland shooting. To view the BBC news article please see here.
- R v G and others  Snaresbrook Crown Court – acquittal of numerous firearms related charges. To view the BBC news article please see here.
- R v Twomey  EWCA Crim 1035;  EWCA Crim
- Heathrow armed robbery. This was the first "juryless" trial.
- R v C  St. Albans Crown Court – Successful defence in relation to firearms charges.
- R v Liddy  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  EWCA Crim 269;  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.
- R v Zahoor Rashid  Luton Crown Court – Defended in “honour killing”. To read the BBC news article please see here.
- R v Khan and others  St Albans Crown Court – Defended in attempted murder and kidnap.
- R v Stephen Byrne  Luton Crown Court – Defended in “one punch” manslaughter.
- R v Tyrell  Central Criminal Court – Defended murder of wife; plea to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.
- R v Green and others  St. Albans Crown Court – Defended in murder; stabbing occurred during a botched robbery of cannabis. Acquitted.
- R v Cessay  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  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  Central Criminal Court – Defending; stabbing outside a pub.
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.
- R v S  – defended in multiple historic rape allegations by children. Successful in obtaining leave to appeal convictions. Appeal pending.
- R v OD  – successfully defended man accused of rape of 13 year old
- R v RN – successfully defended pensioner accused of sexual assault of tourists outside Buckingham Palace
- RAF Northolt  Trained Service Prosecutors on prosecuting sexual offences.
- R v M  Court Martial – successfully defended allegation of sexual assault. Armed forces defendant.
- R. v M  Winchester Crown Court – successfully defended allegation of sexual assault. Armed forces defendant.
- R. v R  Leicester Crown Court – successfully defended historic sexual offences allegations by daughter.
- R v Andre Penn  BVI – successful appeal against sexual offences convictions in relation to allegations by child.
- R v TBF  EWCA Crim 26 – successfully argued abuse of process on historical sexual offences complaints by daughters. Overturned on prosecution appeal.
- R v Assange  – analysed and advised upon sexual offences allegations.
- Lewis and ors v Attorney General's Reference No. 15, 16 & 17  EWCA Crim 1414 - prosecuted by Solicitor General. Guideline case under the new Drugs Offences Guidelines.
- R v B  Isleworth Crown Court – successfully defended famous musician against child pornography allegations.
- R. v M  Snaresbrook Crown Court – defended rape allegation by 8 year old stepdaughter.
- R v G  Isleworth Crown Court - defended rape allegation.
- R v G  Woolwich Crown Court – successful defence of prison officer’s allegation of rape against another prison officer.
- R v J  Luton Crown Court – successful defence of rape allegation.
- R v Elmi  Southwark Crown Court – defended in “cold case” stranger rape.
- R v C  Bournemouth Crown Court – successful defence of rape allegation.
- R v Hammond  St. Albans Crown Court – Successful prosecution of charges of incest.
- R v E  Inner London Crown Court - defended rape case with complainant lacking capacity. First conviction quashed on appeal.
- R v K  Southend Crown Court – successfully defended allegations of rape offences by daughter (child when giving evidence).
- R. v M  Luton Crown Court - successfully defended historic sexual offences allegations from former pupils of P.E. teacher.
- R v Highton  Luton Crown Court – successful prosecution of former headmaster for sexual offences allegations from boys at the school.
- R v Khan  Luton Crown Court – defended in male rapes.
- R v B  St. Albans Crown Court – successfully defended sexual assault against a child.
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 is experienced in cases tried before 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 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.
- R v Hume  Luton Crown Court – Leading defending in large- scale six defendant “car ringing” and contested confiscation proceedings. Prosecuted by Q.C. and two juniors.
- R v Pham  Wood Green Crown Court – Defended in contested confiscation hearing arising out of drugs convictions.
- R v Dang and others  Central Criminal Court – Defended first out of 24 defendants in £5 million confiscation hearing; including issues of hidden assets.
- R v N and others  and  Reading Crown Court – Represented first defendant in large scale fraud relating to facilitating asylum seekers for gain.
- Prosecuting Extinction Rebellion protesters is a total waste of time and money - The Times, October 2019
- The best books for lawyers — true crime, top minds and the way we were - The Times, December 2019
- Arresting tales — the best crime and legal books to read in the sun - The Times, August 2019
- A poor track record and a worrying manifesto on civil rights - Open Democracy
- Suffer little children
- Kirsty Brimelow QC comments on Turkey’s failure to bring thousands to court after coup attempt
- Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales Biennial Report 2016-2017
- Fact finding report: Breakdown: the dismantling of the Calais “Jungle” and of the promises to its unaccompanied children”
- Submission to the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and Lawyers
- John Bolton’s crusade against the ICC will leave terrorists cheering loudest - The Times, September 2018
- UK Bar chair dissects Buhari’s stance on rule of law - Daily Trust, September 2018
- Theresa May is ignoring Nigeria’s creeping authoritarianism - The Times, September 2018
- Colombian violence - The Times, August 2018
- Best books for summer: delve into legal dramas to find a guilty pleasure - The Times, August 2018
- Inner Temple Yearbook 2017 - 2018 “What is Europe?"
- Twists, turns and a touch of inspiration: the best books for Christmas - The Times, December 2017
- Female genital mutilation prosecutions: ‘A tough battle to challenge community traditions - 2018
- International Criminal Court must act on Yazidi atrocity - The Times: The Brief, August 2017
- Kirsty Brimelow QC speaking at the UN on the need for an International Inquiry into the 1988 massacre in Iran
- Into the dark: Rights Security and the Courtroom - UK Supreme Court Yearbook 2015-2016
- Papal plotting, pompous silks and police drama - Book Review for The Times, December 2016
- French shame over terror suspect defence - The duty of defence Lawyers - The Times, October 2016
- Violence against lone child refugees is escalating - because we ignore it - The Guardian, August 2016
- European Convention benefits British justice - The Times, April 2016
- Human Rights: reclaiming the argument - The Times, 2015
- Maldives: imprisoning of former President casts doubt on judiciary - The Times, 2015
- UK failing to meet international obligations on FGM 2015 (with Zimran Samuel) The Times. Please see here and here
- Reviewer of books for The Law Section of The Times (twice yearly)
- End of term report: best of the sizzling summer reads – The Times, July 2015
- Kirsty Brimelow QC speaking on her working mediating between San José de Apartadó and the President Santos government
- Murder, mystery, mayhem — and cricket - The Times, December 2014
- Summer scorchers and ripping reads – The Times, July 2014
- Courtroom crackers and fabulously forensic fables - The Times, December 2013
- Crime and punishment make best summer reads - The Times, August 2013
- Book in for some good summer reading - The Times, August 2009
- Christmas law books: stocking thrillers, fillers and always a courtroom drama - The Times, December 2008
- Contributing author to Westlaw (2012 - 2013)
- Lexis Nexis - author of Sexual Offences Laws Notes for Practitioners (2012)
- The ICC’s jurisdiction over Gaza (The Guardian 2014) Please see here
- Reviewer “International Crime in the Courts of England and Wales” by Dr. Kate Grady Criminal law Review. Please see here
- Counsel Magazine (Human Rights - 2013)
- Editor of three Child Rights Manuals produced for UNICEF Nigeria (2013)
- Headed team producing DVD Best and bad practice for child interviews (UNICEF Nigeria) (2012)
- Report on Bahrain (2009) Please also see here
- Counsel Magazine (In Big Brother we trust -2008) Please see here
- Rape fact sheet (Bar Council - 2007)
- Parliamentary Brief (analysis of Serious Crime Bill - 2007)
- The Times - Death row (17.10.06)
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)
Kirsty gives seminar and lectures around the World including:
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.
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 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 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 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 a “brilliant advocate” by the father of one of the protestors - read more here, in the BBC, and The Guardian.