Kirsty Brimelow QC wins Barrister of the Year Award at Inspirational Women in Law Awards

Chambers congratulates Kirsty Brimelow QC who received the Barrister of the Year award at the Inspirational Women in Law Awards hosted by the First 100 Years Project.  Kirsty's award was for her long-standing work on human rights, international law, criminal justice and international criminal law.

Specialising in international human rights, criminal law, public international, constitutional and international criminal law, Kirsty Brimelow QC is the head of Doughty Street Chambers International Human Rights Team. She is instructed in the most serious, complex and prominent cases both nationally and internationally. She advises before both Criminal and Civil courts in England and Wales, as well as the International Criminal Court and the UN judicial processes. She is an accredited mediator and in 2013 she facilitated an apology from the President of Colombia to the peace community of San José de Apartadó, which was lauded as a historic moment in Colombia’s history.

In 2012 Kirsty was elected the first female Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. In 2014, she was a part of the team submitting proposals to the Home Affairs Committee to combat Female Genital Mutilation. These proposals were adopted into legislation. In 2013 she led a team of barristers taking witness statements from complainants of sexual violence in Sri Lanka. She presented the report at the UN.

In her submission to First 100 Years, Kirsty wrote:

“As I can only choose one change in order to achieve equality, I choose to put the phenomena of unconscious or affinity bias, as well as actual bias, front and centre in law degrees. A specific course on discrimination and inequality in the legal profession should be a compulsory part of all law degrees. It is important that it is part of a general law degree so that the course’s reach is beyond the Bar itself and to the solicitors who instruct and who also deal with the wishes and prejudices of their clients. 

Students need to be taught the sharpness of historical discrimination debris and how it tears though barristers’ professional lives. It should not merely lurk in speeches and Bar guidelines. The teaching would encourage students to approach their colleagues, clients and seniors in different ways and challenge where there are displays of bias. The course may run alongside ethics and conduct courses but would be separate and distinct. Barriers to women at the Bar would be examined and practical solutions developed. Students would enter the legal profession sensitised to slights and dismissal of women barristers by Solicitors or by their clients. They would be highly sensitised to clerks placing forward lists of male barristers who are suggested as the only barristers suitable for instruction on a particular case. They would support the woman barrister’s perspective that she is unable to work all night to produce a skeleton argument as she is a care provider for family. The young professionals would be empowered by their studies to challenge discriminatory behaviour whether it be rooted in the conscious or unconscious. The new generation of lawyers would have studied that it is fundamental to an effective and representative legal profession that it has women in its higher levels. Such education would give strength to take responsibility to be part of change.”