Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
T. 020 7404 3447 (Practice Manager, Paul Venables)
E. [email protected]
Registered name on the Bar Standards Board Register: Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
VAT Number: 937689557
Called (England and Wales) 2005
Called (Belfast) 2013
Main Areas of Practice
Public International Law
Civil Actions Against the Police
Criminal Law and Due Process
Human Rights
Public Law
Prison Law
Blinne is listed in the current 2015 Legal 500 as “a stellar practitioner with an eagle eye”, previous directories having
described her as an advocate who “cares passionately about the cases she works on” (2013) and who “brings a level of
legal knowledge and judgment that is far beyond her years of practice” (2014).
Blinne practices at the interface of public, criminal, human rights and international law. She is regularly instructed on
behalf of individuals, States, NGOs and other national and international bodies to act and advise in those areas, and
appears in both domestic and international courts and tribunals. She has also contributed to a number of leading
practitioners’ texts on human rights, crime and prison law, and co-authored various articles on questions of international
Domestic practice
Blinne’s domestic practice encompasses all areas of criminal defence and criminal justice, including prison law, actions
against the police, prison and other State authorities. She has particular experience – and a particular interest – in protestrelated criminal cases, and criminal cases raising questions of international law. She was recently instructed on behalf of
for a number of defendants charged with aggravated trespass of a drone factory at the height of Israel’s 2014 ‘Operation
Protective Edge’ against Gaza. She also defends in cases alleging breaches of anti-terrorism legislation, and is currently
instructed in two such high-profile cases in the Old Bailey.
Blinne also has a broad public law practice, focusing primarily on cases raising questions of human rights, environmental,
international and national security law. Recent cases include: a challenge by An Taisce (the Irish National Trust) to the
development a new nuclear power station, on the ground that the British government should have consulted on the
transboundary effects of the project (a case raising issues under the Espoo Convention and the Vienna Convention on
the Law of Treaties); a challenge to the British secret services’ refusal to disclose materials for the purposes of a criminal
trial in New York, following the extradition of the Applicant from England to the United States to face terrorism-related
charges (the first ordinary civil case to involve secret (“closed”) hearings under the Justice and Security Act 2013); and a
number of Troubles-related cases involving allegations of torture and collusion in murder and cover-up on the part of
British State officials and agents.
She accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.
International practice
Blinne is recommended in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in public international law. Her international law practice
includes cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the
Sea (ITLOS) and arbitral tribunals. She has appeared as counsel before the International Court of Justice in a number of
cases, including as co-counsel for Croatia (with Professor James Crawford SC, Professor Philippe Sands QC and Keir
Starmer QC) in its genocide claim against Serbia (Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide), and for the Republic of Macedonia in its successful case against Greece (Case Concerning the
Application of the Interim Accord).
Griffin Building, Gray’s Inn, London, WC1R 5LN
Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
T. 020 7404 3447 (Practice Manager, Paul Venables)
E. [email protected]
Blinne’s cases under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea include Guyana v. Suriname, concerning
maritime boundary delimitation and the use of force, the ARA Libertad Arbitration (Argentina v. Ghana), concerning the
confiscation of a war ship in peacetime, and Arctic Sunrise (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation), in relation
to which she provided preliminary advice to Greenpeace. She also has experience of arbitrations under the ICSID and
Blinne has been awarded a number of international fellowships and placements, including to work on death penalty
appeals and on cases alleging extraterritorial abuses of human rights by corporations – areas of particular interest and
expertise. She has co-authored and contributed to various amicus briefs submitted to national courts in other
jurisdictions, including the United States Supreme Court, on the issue of domestic and international redress for corporate
violations of human rights (e.g. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum and In Re Apartheid). She is also instructed on death
penalty appeals from Commonwealth countries before the Privy Council in London.
Blinne is Co-Vice Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, the international human rights arm of the Bar Council, on
behalf of which she regularly conducts trial observations, participates in international legal missions, drafts legal
interventions, and provides training to NGOs and national Bar associations on matters of international law and human
rights. Her work in this area frequently takes her to the Middle East, including to Palestine - another area in relation to
which she has particular knowledge and expertise.
Blinne has an LLM in International Legal Studies from New York University (equivalent distinction), and holds two
certificates from the London School of Economics in International Human Rights Law and Practice, and Law, War and
Human Rights. She graduated from Queens' College, Cambridge with First Class Honours in Modern and Medieval
Languages (French and Latin), received a distinction on the Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded Outstanding on
the Bar Vocational Course, placing fourth in her year.
Prior to joining the Bar, Blinne worked for a leading solicitors' firm specialising in actions against the police and prison
law, and spent two years working on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, as legal observer for a specialist NGO and subsequently
as legal assistant to the solicitors representing the wounded and the families of those killed. Blinne came to the legal
profession after an initial career working for a think-tank.
Select cases
• R (Al Fawwaz) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (judicial review challenge to the UK’s refusal to disclose
materials requested by a US criminal court pursuant to the Crime (International Cooperation Act 2003)
• An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland) v. Secretary of State for the Environment (judicial review challenge to the UK
government’s decision to grant permission for a new nuclear power station, 150 miles from the Irish coast)
• R (Kaur and Shah) v. Ealing London Borough Council (judicial review challenge to the decision to withdraw funding
from the Southall Black Sisters in respect of their domestic violence work)
• R v. Golding and others (trial of six defendants for conspiracy to harm an animal research organisation, contrary to
s.145 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)
• Mitcham v. The Queen (Saint Christopher & Nevis) (death penalty appeal before the Privy Council raising issues relating
to the right to a fair trial)
• Croatia v. Serbia (claim by Croatia against Serbia under the Genocide Convention before the International Court of
• Macedonia v. Greece (claim by Macedonia against Greece for breach of treaty before the International Court of Justice)
• Guyana v. Suriname (boundary dispute by Guyana against Suriname under the United Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea)
• Frontier v. Czech Republic (investor-State arbitration under the UNCITRAL arbitration rules)
Griffin Building, Gray’s Inn, London, WC1R 5LN
Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
T. 020 7404 3447 (Practice Manager, Paul Venables)
E. [email protected]
Select Publications
• 'Towards an International Rule of Law?' in Tom Bingham and the Transformation of the Law: A Liber Amicorum (Oxford
University Press, 2009) (co-author with Professor Philippe Sands QC)
• Prison Law by Livingstone, Owen and Macdonald (4th Ed., Oxford, 2008) (contributing author)
• Human Rights and Criminal Justice by Emmerson, Ashworth and Macdonald (2nd Ed., Sweet & Maxwell, 2007)
(contributing author)
• 'Human Rights, International Justice and the Rule of Law' in Globalisation - A Liberal Response (CentreForum, 2007)
Master of Laws (LLM) in International Legal Studies (equivalent Distinction), New York University
Certificate in Law, War and Human Rights, London School of Economics
Certificate in International Human Rights Law and Practice, London School of Economics
Bar Vocational Course (Outstanding), Inns of Court School of Law
Gradulate Diploma in Law (Distinction), University of Westminster
BA Honours in Modern and Mediaeval Languages (French and Latin) (First Class Hons), Queens' College, Cambridge
Previous Employment
Legal Assistant on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Madden & Finucane Solicitors
Legal Observer on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, British Irish Rights Watch
Legal Assistant, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
Research Associate / Senior Manager, Corporate Executive Board
Scholarships and Awards
Pegasus Scholarship, Inns of Court
Bairstow Scholarship, Inns of Court School of Law
St Thomas More Bursary, Lincoln’s Inn
Harwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn
Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group
Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn
Lord Bowen Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
Foundation Scholarship for academic excellence,
Queens’ College, Cambridge
Vice Chair, Bar Human Rights Committee
Human Rights Lawyers’ Association
Criminal Bar Association
Young Legal Aid Lawyers Group
Haldane Society
Fluent French
Basic Irish
Currently learning Arabic
Griffin Building, Gray’s Inn, London, WC1R 5LN