Kirsty Brimelow KC > Doughty Street Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Doughty Street Chambers

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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 QC 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. 2019 Kirsty was Counsel to the academic led “Airspace Tribunal”.

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.


Called 1991; Gray’s Inn; QC 2011.


French, Spanish.


Criminal Bar Association Executive (2003-10); Bar Human Rights Committee Executive; Amnesty; Human Rights Watch; Oxfam; Liberty.


Balshaw’s High School, Leyland; Birmingham University (1990 LLB Hons); Inns Of Court School of Law (BVC)


Kung Fu, music, exploring.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Crime

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Kirsty Brimelow KCDoughty Street ChambersKristy  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, and is a pleasure to have as an opponent.