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Blinne Ni Ghralaigh
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Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh

"An exceptionally talented lawyer"

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

Blinne is a human rights and international law expert with a broad criminal, civil and public law practice. She advises and acts for individuals, States, NGOs and other national and international bodies, appearing in domestic courts and before international courts and tribunals. Blinne is recommended as a leading junior in the legal directories, which describe her as an “exceptional lawyer” and a “stellar practitioner”, highlighting her “eagle eye” for issues and arguments, and the “passion” with which she approaches cases on behalf of her clients.

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

Blinne specialises in judicial review and administrative law. Her public law practice is focused primarily on cases raising questions of human rightsdiscriminationenvironmentalinternational and national security law, including cases concerning State involvement in torture and extra judicial killing. She has a particular specialism in legacy cases raising historic allegations against the State and State institutions, and is experienced in closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013. Recent cases include:

  • 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
  • In Re McGuigan: judicial review brought by the ‘Hooded Men’ in order to secure an investigation into UK ministerial authorisation of their torture in the early 1970s
  • JM (TPIM): challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a notice under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011

Blinne practices in all areas of criminal defence and criminal justice, including prison lawactions against the police and other State authorities. She has particular expertise in free-speech and protest-related cases raising justification defences, and criminal cases raising questions of international law. She also acts on behalf of defendants charged under anti-terrorism legislation and in death penalty appeals to the Privy Council. Blinne also has a particular specialism in cases involving fair trial rights, both domestically and internationally, and is routinely requested to observe at criminal proceedings overseas. Internationally, she 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. Her recent cases include:

  • R v. MacKeith and others (Stansted 15): currently acting for one of 15 protestors facing terrorism-related charges 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
  • 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 recognised in the legal directories as a leading junior in public international law. Her practice covers the full spectrum of public international law, including international human rights, humanitarian law, international criminal law, boundary delimitations, environmental law, immunities, and treaty drafting. She has appeared in 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. Blinne is also instructed as amicus in cases in foreign national jurisdictions raising matters of international law. She is also expert in drafting submissions to the various United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty bodies. 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 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.

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, 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.

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.

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 certificates from the London School of Economics in Law, War and Human Rights, and International Human Rights Law and Practice.

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

"An exceptionally talented lawyer, who has the ability to distil and deal effectively with the key issues in a case."

"Recommended for the crossover between public law and public international law."

"Always willing and available to offer support and provide a thorough analysis."

"A stellar practitioner with an eagle eye."

"Cares passionately about the cases she works on."

Legal 500

"She’s very approachable, excellent with clients and on top of the brief."

"She has great ideas on how to build a case and present matters."

Chambers & Partners
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Blinne Ni Ghralaigh
Called: 2005 | Called (Northern Ireland): 2013 | Called (Ireland): 2017

"An exceptionally talented lawyer"

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
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Commercial Public Law

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


Blinne is a human rights and international law expert with a broad criminal, civil and public law practice. She advises and acts for individuals, States, NGOs and other national and international bodies, appearing in domestic courts and before international courts and tribunals. Blinne is recommended as a leading junior in the legal directories, which describe her as an “exceptional lawyer” and a “stellar practitioner”, highlighting her “eagle eye” for issues and arguments, and the “passion” with which she approaches cases on behalf of her clients.

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

Public law and human rights

Blinne specialises in judicial review and administrative law. Her public law practice is focused primarily on cases raising questions of human rights, discrimination, environmental, international and national security law, including cases concerning State involvement in torture and extra judicial killing. She has a particular specialism in legacy cases raising historic allegations against the State and State institutions, and is experienced in closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013. Recent cases include: 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 In Re McGuigan: judicial review brought by the ‘Hooded Men’ in order to secure an investigation into UK ministerial authorisation of their torture in the early 1970s JM (TPIM): challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a notice under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011

Criminal justice

Blinne practices in all areas of criminal defence and criminal justice, including prison law, actions against the police and other State authorities. She has particular expertise in free-speech and protest-related cases raising justification defences, and criminal cases raising questions of international law. She also acts on behalf of defendants charged under anti-terrorism legislation and in death penalty appeals to the Privy Council. Blinne also has a particular specialism in cases involving fair trial rights, both domestically and internationally, and is routinely requested to observe at criminal proceedings overseas. Internationally, she 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. Her recent cases include: R v. MacKeith and others (Stansted 15): currently acting for one of 15 protestors facing terrorism-related charges 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 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

Public International Law

Blinne is recognised in the legal directories as a leading junior in public international law. Her practice covers the full spectrum of public international law, including international human rights, humanitarian law, international criminal law, boundary delimitations, environmental law, immunities, and treaty drafting. She has appeared in 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. Blinne is also instructed as amicus in cases in foreign national jurisdictions raising matters of international law. She is also expert in drafting submissions to the various United Nations Special Procedures and Treaty bodies. 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 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.

Appointments and Publications

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, 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. 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)

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. 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 certificates from the London School of Economics in Law, War and Human Rights, and International Human Rights Law and Practice. 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

"An exceptionally talented lawyer, who has the ability to distil and deal effectively with the key issues in a case."

"Recommended for the crossover between public law and public international law."

"Always willing and available to offer support and provide a thorough analysis."

"A stellar practitioner with an eagle eye."

"Cares passionately about the cases she works on."

Legal 500

"She’s very approachable, excellent with clients and on top of the brief."

"She has great ideas on how to build a case and present matters."

Chambers & Partners