×
Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
MEET:

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh

“Frighteningly clever. Tactically brilliant and able to look at something from so many different angles.”

Legal 500
Called: 2005 | Called (Northern Ireland): 2013 | Called (Ireland): 2017

Described in the legal directories as a “fiercely intelligent barrister” and “compelling” and “persuasive” advocate, who is “tactically brilliant”, quick to spot winning points in a case”, and “utterly committed” to her clients, Blinne has an extensive practice across human rights, public international law criminal law and public law. She advises and acts for individuals, States, NGOs and other national and international bodies, appearing in domestic courts at all levels, and before international courts and tribunals.

Blinne is recommended in the domestic legal directories in five areas: (1) public international law; (2) civil liberties and human rights; (3) administrative and public law; (4) criminal law; and (5) protest law. She is also listed in Chambers Global in the field of public international law.

She is called to the Bars of Ireland, North and South, in addition to the Bar of England and Wales.

Blinne is recognised in the legal directories as a leading junior in public international law. She is recognised in this field as an “absolutely superb” and “meticulous” lawyer, with “impressive academic credentials”, who is “very approachable, excellent with clients”, has “great ideas on how to build a case” and is “completely on top of the detail” of her cases.

Blinne acts for and advises States, international organisations, NGOs and individuals on matters of public international law, before both domestic and international courts and tribunals. Her practice covers the full spectrum of public international law, with a particular focus on State and personal immunities, boundary delimitations, humanitarian law, matters relating to the arms trade and arms proliferation, as well as disputes raising issues under the law of the sea.  She has also particular experience in treaty drafting, and is also expert in drafting submissions to the various United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty bodies.

Blinne has acted in a number of significant inter-State cases before the International Court of Justice, and various arbitral tribunals, including tribunals constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. She is also instructed as amicus in cases in foreign national jurisdictions raising matters of international law, and has acted before the Privy Council in appeals from Commonwealth countries.

Her work and instructions include:

  • Advising the Republic of Macedonia in treaty negotiations with Greece regarding the name of the State and its accession to regional and international organisations.
  • Legal advice on the legality in international law of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, co-authored with Professors Philippe Sands QC and Andrew Clapham.
  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia): claim before the International Court of Justice for breach of the Genocide Convention, with Professors Philippe Sands QC and James Crawford SC.
  • ARA Libertad Arbitration (Argentina v. Ghana): arbitral proceedings initiated by Argentina pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning the seizure by Ghana of an Argentinian war ship.
  • Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (Macedonia v. Greece): successful claim before the International Court of Justice against Greece for breach of the 1995 treaty.

Blinne represents claimants and NGOs in a broad range of public and administrative law cases. Her public law practice is focused primarily on cases raising questions of civil liberties and human rights, discrimination (including the application of the Public Sector Equality Duty), and environmental law, as well as international and national security law (including control orders and TPIMs). She is also experienced in closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013. She is recognised in the legal directories in this field as a “brilliant lawyer” with “a very detailed knowledge of administrative law principles and human rights case lawand a “great understanding of public law and how to best use it to her client’s advantage”, who “will know a case inside and out”.

Blinne is also an expert in domestic and international human rights, with a broad practice in this area. She is recognised in the legal directories in the field as “an outstanding human rights lawyerwho is fiercely intelligent, passionate and has a strong sense of justice”. She has a particular specialism in legacy cases raising historic allegations against the State and State institutions, including cases involving allegations of unlawful killing and inhuman treatment contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the failure to investigate. She was instructed in the two leading Supreme Court cases concerning the retroactivity of the Human Rights Act 1998, and the legal principles governing independent investigations.

Cases include:

  • In Re McGuigan:appeal brought by the ‘Hooded Men’ in order to secure an investigation into UK ministerial authorisation of their torture in the early 1970s.
  • R (Campaign against the Arms Trade) v. Secretary of State for Business:intervened on behalf of Oxfam in a challenge to the UK’s continuing export of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the context of the war in Yemen.
  • INEOS v. Persons Unknown:challenge to the grant of an unprecedented, wide-ranging injunction to a fracking company to restrain anti-fracking protests across the UK.
  • JM (TPIM):challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a notice under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011.

Blinne is described in the legal directories as the “doyenne of protest law”.  The directories highlight her “encyclopaedic knowledge of the law” and state that “[n]o one can come anywhere close to her on protests”. She is an expert on the rights to freedom of conscience and belief, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, guaranteed under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and how they apply in a protest-related context.

Blinne acts and advises individuals and NGOs in protest-related criminal trials, injunction proceedings and civil actions. She is also instructed in the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, investigating the systematic targeting and abuse of activists by undercover police officers.

Blinne was instructed in the trial of the “Colston 4”, acquitted for their role in toppling the statue of a slaver in Bristol, and the “Stansted 15”, acquitted on appeal for having blocked a deportation flight at Stansted Airport. She was also instructed in DPP v. Ziegler, the seminal Supreme Court case on the approach to Articles 10 and 11 in a protest context.

Cases include:

  • Colston 4 (R v. Graham and others): successful defence of one of the Colston statue topplers “Rhian Graham” in relation to criminal damage charges following the removal of the statue of a slaver in Bristol on 7 June 2020; Blinne advanced a number of defences on behalf of her client, including: (a) that she used reasonable force to prevent a crime, (b) that her actions were a proportionate exercise of her protest-related rights, and (c) that the people of Bristol, for whom the statue was held in trust by the Council, would have consented to any damage to the statue. The jury acquitted.
  • Palestine Action (ongoing): currently acting in a number of trials of activists charged with criminal damage and conspiracy in relation to protests at firms involved in the supply of weaponry to the Israeli military.
  • Undercover Policing Inquiry: currently acting for a number of individuals and organisations targeted by undercover police officers for their activism around campaigns for peace, anti-racism, Palestine, weapons, the Iraq War, anti-capitalism, animal rights and fox hunting.
  • DPP v. Ziegler: successful appeal on behalf of a number of anti-arms fair activists in relation to a deliberately obstructive protest outside one of the largest arms fairs in the world, in London; the seminal judgment establishes that restrictions on protest rights at the time of arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing must be proportionate, and that in a Crown Court trial, the question of proportionality is one for the jury.
  • R v. Kingston and others (“DLR 2”): successful defence of a number of Extinction Rebellion climate activists who climbed on top of a DLR train to protest government inaction over climate change; the case was the first jury trial after Ziegler where the question of proportionality was left to the jury.
  • R v. Brown: appeal against sentence and conviction on behalf of a blind former Paralympian, sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for climbing on top of an airplane at City Airport, as part of a climate change protest.
  • Insulate Britain Injunctions: provided detailed advice in relation to a number of injunctions prohibiting protests on various roads around Britain.
  • R v. Thacker and others (“Stansted 15”): successful appeal against conviction on behalf of 15 protestors convicted of a terrorism-related offence for preventing a charter deportation flight from taking off from Stansted Airport.
  • INEOS v. Persons Unknown:successful challenge to the grant of an unprecedented, wide-ranging injunction to a fracking company seeking to restrain anti-fracking protests across Britain.
  • R v. Walton and Woodhouse: successful “lawful excuse” defence of a Methodist minister and Quaker charged with criminal damage following their break into BAE Systems to disable war planes bound for Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
  • R v. Ammori and others:successful defence of a number of protestors charged in relation to their obstruction of one of the largest arms fairs in the world, held in London.

Blinne is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. She practices in all areas of criminal defence and criminal justice, including prison lawactions against the police and other State authorities. She is recognised in this field as a “supremely clever, diligent and hard working barrister”, with a “brilliant mind” who is “utterly committed to her clients”, and leaves “no stone unturned in considering possible defences”. The directories note, in particular, that she “can handle the most challenging of clients”. She was nominated for Crime Junior of the Year in 2020 and 2021.

Many of her cases have an international dimension, including cases raising points of international law. She is expert in free-speech and protest-related cases raising lawful excuse or justification defences, including the prevention of crime, consent and questions of proportionality and necessity under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She also acts on behalf of defendants charged under anti-terrorism legislation and in death penalty appeals to the Privy Council, and on behalf of victims in the International Criminal Court.

Blinne’s criminal practice is complemented by her international law practice, including her focus on war crimes, on questions of State and diplomatic immunity, and on extraterritorial jurisdiction. It is also complemented by her human rights law practice, in particular challenges to the police and other investigatory bodies for failures to undertake effective criminal investigations into deaths caused by State agents.

Her cases include:

  • R v. Graham and others (“Colston 4”): successful defence of one of the Colston statue topplers “Rhian Graham” in relation to criminal damage charges following the removal of the statue of a slaver in Bristol on 7 June 2020.
  • Palestine Action (ongoing): currently acting in a number of trials of activists charged with criminal damage and conspiracy in relation to protests at firms involved in the supply of weaponry to the Israeli military.
  • DPP v. Ziegler: successful appeal on behalf of a number of anti-arms fair activists in relation to a deliberately obstructive protest outside one of the largest arms fairs in the world, in London; the seminal judgment establishes that restrictions on protest rights at the time of arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing must be proportionate, and that in a Crown Court trial, the question of proportionality is one for the jury.
  • R v. Kingston and others (“DLR 2”): successful defence of a number of Extinction Rebellion climate activists who climbed on top of a DLR train to protest government inaction over climate change.
  • R v. Brown: appeal against sentence and conviction on behalf of a blind former Paralympian, sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for climbing on top of an airplane at City Airport as part of a climate change protest.
  • R v. Thacker and others (“Stansted 15”): successful appeal against conviction on behalf of 15 protestors convicted of terrorism-related offences for preventing a charter deportation flight from taking off.
  • R v. Walton and Woodhouse: successful defence of a Methodist minister and Quaker charged with criminal damage following their break into BAE Systems to disable war planes bound for Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
  • R v Anjem Choudary: high profile case before the Court of Appeal concerning freedom of speech and freedom of conscience in the interpretation of terrorism legislation.
  • R v. Ammori and others:successful defence of a number of protestors charged in relation to their obstruction of one of the largest arms fairs in the world, held in London.

Blinne is a specialist in international criminal law, and is on the International Criminal Court’s list of counsel. She routinely acts and advises individuals and NGOs on matters of international criminal law, including in relation to complaints to the International Criminal Court regarding alleged war crimes, contrary to the Rome Statute. Blinne has particular experience and expertise in relation to the situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory. Her research as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School focused in particular on the Israeli Military Court system for Palestinian civilians, an issue of particular specialism, alongside the Arms Trade Treaty and the domestic regulation of arms exports.

Blinne also specialises in cases involving fair trial rights, and is routinely requested to observe at criminal proceedings overseas where concerns regarding due process have been raised.

Work in this field includes:

  • Situation in Palestine: responsible for drafting submissions concerning the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over crimes committed in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza; ongoing representation of a number of victims in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Situation in Palestine by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
  • Israeli Military Courts in Palestine: advised a European NGO on the compliance of the Israeli military courts with humanitarian law, and fair trial standards under international law.
  • Mohammed Nasheed trial: observed at the trial of the former President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, prosecuted for having allegedly supported a coup in the country.
  • Ahed Tamimi trial: observed at the trial in the Israeli Military Court in the West Bank of a young Palestinian teenager charged with hitting an Israeli soldier.

Blinne was shortlisted for Chambers & Partners’ Crime Junior of the Year in 2021, and for the Legal 500’s Crime Junior of the Year in 2020. She was also shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year’s Barrister of the Year award in 2021.

Blinne was appointed a visiting fellow to Harvard Law School in 2016. Her research focused on the Arms Trade Treaty and on Israeli military courts in occupied Palestine, drawing on her extensive expertise regarding military courts under international humanitarian law and regarding the law of armed conflict and international criminal law more generally.

She was Vice Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, the international human rights arm of the Bar Council, between 2014 and 2019, and continues to serve on its Executive Committee, in which capacity she 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.

In 2013, she was appointed a Pegasus Fellow to the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York, where her work and research focused on claims against corporations for human rights violations, including under the Alien Tort Statute.

Blinne’s publications and conference notes include:

  • Author of “Civilian Protections and the Arms Trade Treaty”, in The Grey Zone, Lattimer & Sands (eds) (Hart, 2018)
  • Panelist at Chatham House’s event ‘Milestones in International Criminal Justice: The ICC and Palestine’ (2 December 2014)
  • Co –author (with Philippe Sands QC) of ‘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) of ‘Human Rights, International Justice and the Rule of Law’ in Globalisation – A Liberal Response (CentreForum, 2007)
  • Contributing author to Human Rights and Criminal Justice, Emmerson, Ashworth and Macdonald (2nd Ed., Sweet & Maxwell, 2007)

Prior to pursuing her legal studies, Blinne worked on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, for the legal team representing the wounded and the families of those killed, and for a civil action law specialist solicitors in London. She also spent three months in Trinidad & Tobago, working with prisoners on death row. She came to the Bar after an initial career working for a Washington-DC-based think tank.

Blinne graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge with First Class Honours in Modern and Medieval Languages, received a distinction on the Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded Outstanding on the Bar Vocational Course, placing fourth in her year. She holds an LLM in International Legal Studies (equivalent distinction) from New York University, where she specialised in international environmental law and climate refugees. She also holds diplomas from the London School of Economics in Law, War and Human Rights, and International Human Rights Law and Practice. She is fluent in French.

Blinne’s scholarships and prizes include:

  • Pegasus Scholarship, Inns of Court
  • Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group
  • International Scholarship, Centre for Capital Punishment Studies
  • Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Bairstow Scholarship, ICSL
  • St Thomas More Bursary, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Lord Bowen Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Hardwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Foundation Scholarship, Queen’s College, Cambridge University

Blinne is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Blinne needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Blinne’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Blinne is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

“Blinne is an outstanding human rights lawyer; she is fiercely intelligent, passionate and has a strong sense of justice.”

Legal 500 2022, Civil Liberties and Human

“Frighteningly clever. Tactically brilliant and able to look at something from so many different angles.”

Legal 500 2022, Public International Law

“Blinne’s dedication, commitment and creative thinking are striking. She leaves no stone unturned in considering possible defences for her clients. She is a supremely clever, diligent and hard working barrister.”

Legal 500 2022, Crime

“Blinne has a very detailed knowledge of administrative law principles and human rights case law…. She is highly intelligent and quick to spot winning points in a case.”

Legal 500 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"She is really intelligent, hard-working and compassionate." "She is really tenacious, intellectually gifted and fights hard for her client." "No one can come anywhere close to her on protests.”

Chambers and Partners 2022, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

“The scope of her knowledge of international human rights and PIL is jaw-dropping. She goes above and beyond for her clients." "Her searches are thorough and meticulous, and she's clear and to the point in her drafts. Her advice is user-friendly. She's always responsive, committed and dedicated."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Public International Law

"Blinne is a real doyenne of protest work - she is phenomenally well regarded and no one can come anywhere close to her on protest law." "She has been working at the coalface of protest law for years and is utterly committed; she is fantastic and a perfectionist in the best sense."

Chambers and Partners 2022, Protest Law

"She's a compelling oral advocate and writes incredibly well too." "You can rely on her to go the extra mile for clients and her work is always superb quality."

Chambers and Partners 2022, Administrative & Public Law:

"She is incredibly principled and does her work from the standpoint of believing in fighting for good causes.”

Chambers and Partners 2022, Crime

“Blinne is a brilliant lawyer. She is an expert in human rights and protest law and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. Her written advocacy is very persuasive. She has been involved in many cutting-edge cases involving protest law issues.”

Legal 500 2021, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

“She has a brilliant mind, and can handle the most challenging of clients.”

Legal 500 2021, Crime

“Blinne is a brilliant lawyer. She has a great understanding of public law and how to best use it to her client's advantage.” “She works very hard and will know a case inside and out. She is one of the best juniors I have ever worked with.”

Chambers and Partners 2021, Administrative & Public Law

“Utterly committed to her clients.”

Legal 500 2019, Crime

“An absolutely superb junior; completely on top of the detail.”

Legal 500 2018, Public International Law

“A strong junior who handles a growing PIL workload.” "She's very approachable, excellent with clients and on top of the brief."

Chambers and Partners 2018, Public International Law

“A strong up-and-coming junior” "carving a real niche for herself”. “She also has impressive academic credentials”. "She is always meticulous in her research and digs deep into the case."

Chambers and Partners 2017, Public International Law

“Clearly very bright, very good with clients, and excellent with law and strategy.” “An impressive junior, with expertise spanning public international law, criminal law and human rights cases. Her broad practice sees her handle judicial reviews and arbitrations and she regularly appears before the ICJ and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.” "She has great ideas on how to build a case and present matters."

Legal 500 2016, Public International Law
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh
Called: 2005 | Called (Northern Ireland): 2013 | Called (Ireland): 2017

“Frighteningly clever. Tactically brilliant and able to look at something from so many different angles.”

Legal 500

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Crime
  • Protest Law
  • Serious Crime (including terrorism) and Trial Advocacy
  • Discrimination and Equality
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Inquests and Inquiries
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law
  • Commercial Public Law
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • Local Government Law
  • Police, Inquests and Prison

Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh

Contact Blinne: blinnenighralaigh@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Blinne's Practice Team (Team T): TeamT@matrixlaw.co.uk


Described in the legal directories as a “fiercely intelligent barrister” and “compelling” and “persuasive” advocate, who is “tactically brilliant”, quick to spot winning points in a case”, and “utterly committed” to her clients, Blinne has an extensive practice across human rights, public international law criminal law and public law. She advises and acts for individuals, States, NGOs and other national and international bodies, appearing in domestic courts at all levels, and before international courts and tribunals.

Blinne is recommended in the domestic legal directories in five areas: (1) public international law; (2) civil liberties and human rights; (3) administrative and public law; (4) criminal law; and (5) protest law. She is also listed in Chambers Global in the field of public international law.

She is called to the Bars of Ireland, North and South, in addition to the Bar of England and Wales.

Public International Law

Blinne is recognised in the legal directories as a leading junior in public international law. She is recognised in this field as an “absolutely superb” and “meticulous” lawyer, with “impressive academic credentials”, who is “very approachable, excellent with clients”, has “great ideas on how to build a case” and is “completely on top of the detail” of her cases. Blinne acts for and advises States, international organisations, NGOs and individuals on matters of public international law, before both domestic and international courts and tribunals. Her practice covers the full spectrum of public international law, with a particular focus on State and personal immunities, boundary delimitations, humanitarian law, matters relating to the arms trade and arms proliferation, as well as disputes raising issues under the law of the sea.  She has also particular experience in treaty drafting, and is also expert in drafting submissions to the various United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty bodies. Blinne has acted in a number of significant inter-State cases before the International Court of Justice, and various arbitral tribunals, including tribunals constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. She is also instructed as amicus in cases in foreign national jurisdictions raising matters of international law, and has acted before the Privy Council in appeals from Commonwealth countries. Her work and instructions include: Advising the Republic of Macedonia in treaty negotiations with Greece regarding the name of the State and its accession to regional and international organisations. Legal advice on the legality in international law of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, co-authored with Professors Philippe Sands QC and Andrew Clapham. Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia): claim before the International Court of Justice for breach of the Genocide Convention, with Professors Philippe Sands QC and James Crawford SC. ARA Libertad Arbitration (Argentina v. Ghana): arbitral proceedings initiated by Argentina pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning the seizure by Ghana of an Argentinian war ship. Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (Macedonia v. Greece): successful claim before the International Court of Justice against Greece for breach of the 1995 treaty.

Public Law and Human Rights

Blinne represents claimants and NGOs in a broad range of public and administrative law cases. Her public law practice is focused primarily on cases raising questions of civil liberties and human rights, discrimination (including the application of the Public Sector Equality Duty), and environmental law, as well as international and national security law (including control orders and TPIMs). She is also experienced in closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013. She is recognised in the legal directories in this field as a “brilliant lawyer” with “a very detailed knowledge of administrative law principles and human rights case law” and a “great understanding of public law and how to best use it to her client’s advantage”, who “will know a case inside and out”. Blinne is also an expert in domestic and international human rights, with a broad practice in this area. She is recognised in the legal directories in the field as “an outstanding human rights lawyer” who “is fiercely intelligent, passionate and has a strong sense of justice”. She has a particular specialism in legacy cases raising historic allegations against the State and State institutions, including cases involving allegations of unlawful killing and inhuman treatment contrary to Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the failure to investigate. She was instructed in the two leading Supreme Court cases concerning the retroactivity of the Human Rights Act 1998, and the legal principles governing independent investigations. Cases include: In Re McGuigan:appeal brought by the ‘Hooded Men’ in order to secure an investigation into UK ministerial authorisation of their torture in the early 1970s. R (Campaign against the Arms Trade) v. Secretary of State for Business:intervened on behalf of Oxfam in a challenge to the UK’s continuing export of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the context of the war in Yemen. INEOS v. Persons Unknown:challenge to the grant of an unprecedented, wide-ranging injunction to a fracking company to restrain anti-fracking protests across the UK. JM (TPIM):challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a notice under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011.

Protest Law

Blinne is described in the legal directories as the “doyenne of protest law”.  The directories highlight her “encyclopaedic knowledge of the law” and state that “[n]o one can come anywhere close to her on protests”. She is an expert on the rights to freedom of conscience and belief, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, guaranteed under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and how they apply in a protest-related context. Blinne acts and advises individuals and NGOs in protest-related criminal trials, injunction proceedings and civil actions. She is also instructed in the ongoing Undercover Policing Inquiry, investigating the systematic targeting and abuse of activists by undercover police officers. Blinne was instructed in the trial of the “Colston 4”, acquitted for their role in toppling the statue of a slaver in Bristol, and the “Stansted 15”, acquitted on appeal for having blocked a deportation flight at Stansted Airport. She was also instructed in DPP v. Ziegler, the seminal Supreme Court case on the approach to Articles 10 and 11 in a protest context. Cases include: Colston 4 (R v. Graham and others): successful defence of one of the Colston statue topplers “Rhian Graham” in relation to criminal damage charges following the removal of the statue of a slaver in Bristol on 7 June 2020; Blinne advanced a number of defences on behalf of her client, including: (a) that she used reasonable force to prevent a crime, (b) that her actions were a proportionate exercise of her protest-related rights, and (c) that the people of Bristol, for whom the statue was held in trust by the Council, would have consented to any damage to the statue. The jury acquitted. Palestine Action (ongoing): currently acting in a number of trials of activists charged with criminal damage and conspiracy in relation to protests at firms involved in the supply of weaponry to the Israeli military. Undercover Policing Inquiry: currently acting for a number of individuals and organisations targeted by undercover police officers for their activism around campaigns for peace, anti-racism, Palestine, weapons, the Iraq War, anti-capitalism, animal rights and fox hunting. DPP v. Ziegler: successful appeal on behalf of a number of anti-arms fair activists in relation to a deliberately obstructive protest outside one of the largest arms fairs in the world, in London; the seminal judgment establishes that restrictions on protest rights at the time of arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing must be proportionate, and that in a Crown Court trial, the question of proportionality is one for the jury. R v. Kingston and others (“DLR 2”): successful defence of a number of Extinction Rebellion climate activists who climbed on top of a DLR train to protest government inaction over climate change; the case was the first jury trial after Ziegler where the question of proportionality was left to the jury. R v. Brown: appeal against sentence and conviction on behalf of a blind former Paralympian, sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for climbing on top of an airplane at City Airport, as part of a climate change protest. Insulate Britain Injunctions: provided detailed advice in relation to a number of injunctions prohibiting protests on various roads around Britain. R v. Thacker and others (“Stansted 15”): successful appeal against conviction on behalf of 15 protestors convicted of a terrorism-related offence for preventing a charter deportation flight from taking off from Stansted Airport. INEOS v. Persons Unknown:successful challenge to the grant of an unprecedented, wide-ranging injunction to a fracking company seeking to restrain anti-fracking protests across Britain. R v. Walton and Woodhouse: successful “lawful excuse” defence of a Methodist minister and Quaker charged with criminal damage following their break into BAE Systems to disable war planes bound for Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. R v. Ammori and others:successful defence of a number of protestors charged in relation to their obstruction of one of the largest arms fairs in the world, held in London.

Criminal Law

Blinne is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. She practices in all areas of criminal defence and criminal justice, including prison law, actions against the police and other State authorities. She is recognised in this field as a “supremely clever, diligent and hard working barrister”, with a “brilliant mind” who is “utterly committed to her clients”, and leaves “no stone unturned in considering possible defences”. The directories note, in particular, that she “can handle the most challenging of clients”. She was nominated for Crime Junior of the Year in 2020 and 2021. Many of her cases have an international dimension, including cases raising points of international law. She is expert in free-speech and protest-related cases raising lawful excuse or justification defences, including the prevention of crime, consent and questions of proportionality and necessity under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She also acts on behalf of defendants charged under anti-terrorism legislation and in death penalty appeals to the Privy Council, and on behalf of victims in the International Criminal Court. Blinne’s criminal practice is complemented by her international law practice, including her focus on war crimes, on questions of State and diplomatic immunity, and on extraterritorial jurisdiction. It is also complemented by her human rights law practice, in particular challenges to the police and other investigatory bodies for failures to undertake effective criminal investigations into deaths caused by State agents. Her cases include: R v. Graham and others (“Colston 4”): successful defence of one of the Colston statue topplers “Rhian Graham” in relation to criminal damage charges following the removal of the statue of a slaver in Bristol on 7 June 2020. Palestine Action (ongoing): currently acting in a number of trials of activists charged with criminal damage and conspiracy in relation to protests at firms involved in the supply of weaponry to the Israeli military. DPP v. Ziegler: successful appeal on behalf of a number of anti-arms fair activists in relation to a deliberately obstructive protest outside one of the largest arms fairs in the world, in London; the seminal judgment establishes that restrictions on protest rights at the time of arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing must be proportionate, and that in a Crown Court trial, the question of proportionality is one for the jury. R v. Kingston and others (“DLR 2”): successful defence of a number of Extinction Rebellion climate activists who climbed on top of a DLR train to protest government inaction over climate change. R v. Brown: appeal against sentence and conviction on behalf of a blind former Paralympian, sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for climbing on top of an airplane at City Airport as part of a climate change protest. R v. Thacker and others (“Stansted 15”): successful appeal against conviction on behalf of 15 protestors convicted of terrorism-related offences for preventing a charter deportation flight from taking off. R v. Walton and Woodhouse: successful defence of a Methodist minister and Quaker charged with criminal damage following their break into BAE Systems to disable war planes bound for Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. R v Anjem Choudary: high profile case before the Court of Appeal concerning freedom of speech and freedom of conscience in the interpretation of terrorism legislation. R v. Ammori and others:successful defence of a number of protestors charged in relation to their obstruction of one of the largest arms fairs in the world, held in London.

International Criminal Law

Blinne is a specialist in international criminal law, and is on the International Criminal Court’s list of counsel. She routinely acts and advises individuals and NGOs on matters of international criminal law, including in relation to complaints to the International Criminal Court regarding alleged war crimes, contrary to the Rome Statute. Blinne has particular experience and expertise in relation to the situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory. Her research as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School focused in particular on the Israeli Military Court system for Palestinian civilians, an issue of particular specialism, alongside the Arms Trade Treaty and the domestic regulation of arms exports. Blinne also specialises in cases involving fair trial rights, and is routinely requested to observe at criminal proceedings overseas where concerns regarding due process have been raised. Work in this field includes: Situation in Palestine: responsible for drafting submissions concerning the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over crimes committed in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza; ongoing representation of a number of victims in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Situation in Palestine by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Israeli Military Courts in Palestine: advised a European NGO on the compliance of the Israeli military courts with humanitarian law, and fair trial standards under international law. Mohammed Nasheed trial: observed at the trial of the former President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, prosecuted for having allegedly supported a coup in the country. Ahed Tamimi trial: observed at the trial in the Israeli Military Court in the West Bank of a young Palestinian teenager charged with hitting an Israeli soldier.

Nominations and Appointments

Blinne was shortlisted for Chambers & Partners’ Crime Junior of the Year in 2021, and for the Legal 500’s Crime Junior of the Year in 2020. She was also shortlisted for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year’s Barrister of the Year award in 2021. Blinne was appointed a visiting fellow to Harvard Law School in 2016. Her research focused on the Arms Trade Treaty and on Israeli military courts in occupied Palestine, drawing on her extensive expertise regarding military courts under international humanitarian law and regarding the law of armed conflict and international criminal law more generally. She was Vice Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, the international human rights arm of the Bar Council, between 2014 and 2019, and continues to serve on its Executive Committee, in which capacity she 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. In 2013, she was appointed a Pegasus Fellow to the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York, where her work and research focused on claims against corporations for human rights violations, including under the Alien Tort Statute.

Publications

Blinne’s publications and conference notes include: Author of “Civilian Protections and the Arms Trade Treaty”, in The Grey Zone, Lattimer & Sands (eds) (Hart, 2018) Panelist at Chatham House’s event ‘Milestones in International Criminal Justice: The ICC and Palestine’ (2 December 2014) Co –author (with Philippe Sands QC) of ‘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) of ‘Human Rights, International Justice and the Rule of Law’ in Globalisation – A Liberal Response (CentreForum, 2007) Contributing author to Human Rights and Criminal Justice, Emmerson, Ashworth and Macdonald (2nd Ed., Sweet & Maxwell, 2007)

Educational and Professional Background

Prior to pursuing her legal studies, Blinne worked on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, for the legal team representing the wounded and the families of those killed, and for a civil action law specialist solicitors in London. She also spent three months in Trinidad & Tobago, working with prisoners on death row. She came to the Bar after an initial career working for a Washington-DC-based think tank. Blinne graduated from Queens’ College, Cambridge with First Class Honours in Modern and Medieval Languages, received a distinction on the Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded Outstanding on the Bar Vocational Course, placing fourth in her year. She holds an LLM in International Legal Studies (equivalent distinction) from New York University, where she specialised in international environmental law and climate refugees. She also holds diplomas from the London School of Economics in Law, War and Human Rights, and International Human Rights Law and Practice. She is fluent in French. Blinne’s scholarships and prizes include: Pegasus Scholarship, Inns of Court Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group International Scholarship, Centre for Capital Punishment Studies Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn Bairstow Scholarship, ICSL St Thomas More Bursary, Lincoln’s Inn Lord Bowen Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn Hardwicke Award, Lincoln’s Inn Foundation Scholarship, Queen’s College, Cambridge University
Blinne's Privacy Notice

Blinne is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Blinne needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which she is instructed. To read Blinne’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

“Blinne is an outstanding human rights lawyer; she is fiercely intelligent, passionate and has a strong sense of justice.”

Legal 500 2022, Civil Liberties and Human

“Frighteningly clever. Tactically brilliant and able to look at something from so many different angles.”

Legal 500 2022, Public International Law

“Blinne’s dedication, commitment and creative thinking are striking. She leaves no stone unturned in considering possible defences for her clients. She is a supremely clever, diligent and hard working barrister.”

Legal 500 2022, Crime

“Blinne has a very detailed knowledge of administrative law principles and human rights case law…. She is highly intelligent and quick to spot winning points in a case.”

Legal 500 2022, Administrative & Public Law

"She is really intelligent, hard-working and compassionate." "She is really tenacious, intellectually gifted and fights hard for her client." "No one can come anywhere close to her on protests.”

Chambers and Partners 2022, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

“The scope of her knowledge of international human rights and PIL is jaw-dropping. She goes above and beyond for her clients." "Her searches are thorough and meticulous, and she's clear and to the point in her drafts. Her advice is user-friendly. She's always responsive, committed and dedicated."

Chambers & Partners, 2022, Public International Law

"Blinne is a real doyenne of protest work - she is phenomenally well regarded and no one can come anywhere close to her on protest law." "She has been working at the coalface of protest law for years and is utterly committed; she is fantastic and a perfectionist in the best sense."

Chambers and Partners 2022, Protest Law

"She's a compelling oral advocate and writes incredibly well too." "You can rely on her to go the extra mile for clients and her work is always superb quality."

Chambers and Partners 2022, Administrative & Public Law:

"She is incredibly principled and does her work from the standpoint of believing in fighting for good causes.”

Chambers and Partners 2022, Crime

“Blinne is a brilliant lawyer. She is an expert in human rights and protest law and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. Her written advocacy is very persuasive. She has been involved in many cutting-edge cases involving protest law issues.”

Legal 500 2021, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

“She has a brilliant mind, and can handle the most challenging of clients.”

Legal 500 2021, Crime

“Blinne is a brilliant lawyer. She has a great understanding of public law and how to best use it to her client's advantage.” “She works very hard and will know a case inside and out. She is one of the best juniors I have ever worked with.”

Chambers and Partners 2021, Administrative & Public Law

“Utterly committed to her clients.”

Legal 500 2019, Crime

“An absolutely superb junior; completely on top of the detail.”

Legal 500 2018, Public International Law

“A strong junior who handles a growing PIL workload.” "She's very approachable, excellent with clients and on top of the brief."

Chambers and Partners 2018, Public International Law

“A strong up-and-coming junior” "carving a real niche for herself”. “She also has impressive academic credentials”. "She is always meticulous in her research and digs deep into the case."

Chambers and Partners 2017, Public International Law

“Clearly very bright, very good with clients, and excellent with law and strategy.” “An impressive junior, with expertise spanning public international law, criminal law and human rights cases. Her broad practice sees her handle judicial reviews and arbitrations and she regularly appears before the ICJ and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.” "She has great ideas on how to build a case and present matters."

Legal 500 2016, Public International Law