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Public international law

Public international law governs the conduct of States and international organisations, and, increasingly, their relationship with individuals.

Our areas of expertise include international criminal law, the law of armed conflict, international human rights law, and environmental protection. We specialise in dealing with complex public international law issues, such as the law of state responsibility, extra-territorial jurisdiction, and state immunity.

Our barristers have extensive experience of the major international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

We have also been involved in high-profile commissions of inquiry, including the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, and the UN Commission of Inquiry on Libya.

What we do

Our work includes:

  • International criminal law – our award-winning team can help with trials in international courts and in foreign jurisdictions, with extradition cases, and with fair trial claims before human rights tribunals.
  • International human rights law – we offer in-depth expertise in international human rights issues, including trafficking, children’s rights, women’s rights, and business and human rights.
  • Use of force and the law of armed conflict – we have represented clients in major international criminal and civil cases arising out of both recent and colonial-era armed conflicts.
  • Environmental protection and climate change – our highly experienced team can help with complex toxic tort actions; climate change, air pollution and water quality litigation; nuclear and non-nuclear waste disposal work; and representing environmental protesters.
  • State responsibility for internationally wrongful acts – we advise on States’ responsibility in international law for their acts and omissions, and have particular knowledge of the obligation on States to make reparation for their wrongful acts.
  • Extra-territorial jurisdiction – we have acted in several leading cases concerning the responsibility of States for human rights violations committed overseas.
  • State immunity – we regularly handle cases concerning the immunity of public officials and international organisations from international civil claims and criminal prosecutions.

Who we work for

We work with people and organisations, including:

  • Individuals
  • Charities and non-governmental organisations
  • International organisations
  • Businesses
  • Governments


We have worked on ground-breaking public international law cases, including:

IAA v United Kingdom (European Court of Human Rights)
Ongoing case in which we are arguing that foreign persons wanting to join their family members in the UK are protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Chiragov v Armenia (Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights)
The Court accepted our claim that Armenia exercised extra-territorial jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh in respect of violations of the rights of displaced persons.

R (Al Jedda) v Secretary of State for Defence (House of Lords)
We represented the Claimant who had been detained by British military forces in Iraq. The House of Lords held that his detention had been governed by the United Nations Charter rather than the European Convention on Human Rights.

Behrami v France (Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights)
We represented the Applicant in this case in which the Court held that it could not review the actions of the international military coalition in Kosovo because they were attributable to the United Nations.