Kate Cook - Matrix Chambers
Kate Cook

Kate Cook

"She really gets into the detail of a case and is very easy and smooth to deal with."

Chambers & Partners 2016
Called: 1990

Kate has specialist and wide-ranging expertise in environmental law. She also practises generally in public internationalEuropean Union and human rights law. She has appeared as counsel before the International Court of Justice in cases relating to environmental issues and genocide. Her recent work includes advising states, NGOs and international organisations on climate emergency issues and advising UN agencies and NGOs on a range of fisheries related issues. She is currently advising on compliance with international standards relating to the protection of small scale fisheries and respect for rights impacted by large scale land acquisitions as well as the implications of the Paris Agreement for the agricultural sector. She regularly publishes and lectures on international and environmental issues, most recently on the best available science standard and on the progressive approach under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

  • ICJ Croatia v Serbia (2014)
  • ICJ Australia v Japan (“Antarctic Whaling”, 2013)
  • ICJ Argentina v Uruguay (2009)

Before joining Matrix, Kate worked for six years as a lawyer in the former Department of the Environment (International & EC Division), where she gained extensive experience of European litigation and international negotiations.

She lectures and publishes widely on environmental law, the international law of development and human rights law. She is the sole author of Wildlife Law: Conservation and Biodiversity (Cameron May, 2004). Kate is a contributor to Human Rights Practice, ed. Simor (Sweet & Maxwell).

In 2009 Kate was involved in setting up the Legal Response Initiative (LRI) with a number of law firms and NGOs. The LRI provides pro bono support to Least Developed Countries at the UN Climate Change negotiations. Kate was appointed as Chair of the LRI in March 2015.

Represented the UK at the following treaty negotiations (either as sole representative or as legal advisor):

  • The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (trade in genetically modified organisms) including chairing the working group on liability
  • The Liability Protocol to the Basel Convention (transboundary movement of hazardous wastes) Vice Chair of the ad hoc Working Group
  • The revision of the FAO International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources
  • The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of the Environment Through the Criminal Law
  • The UN/ECE Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making

Represented the UK at the following conferences of the parties:

  • CITES (trade in endangered species) – seconded to the Secretariat
  • Basel Convention (hazardous waste)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • IUCN: World Conservation Congress
  • Berne Convention (wildlife) Standing Committee

Advised the Government on these and other international instruments, including the Bonn Convention (migratory species) and the International Whaling Convention.

2012 Solidarity as a Basis for Human Rights (published in two parts in EHRLR issues 5 and 6)

Wildlife Law: Conservation & Biodiversity (Cameron May, 2004)

Contributor, The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (publication 2001)

‘Environmental Rights as Human Rights’ in EHRLR (2002)

2009-2015: Member of the Legal Response Initiative Steering Committee (providing support to Least Developed Countries at the climate change negotiations)

2007: Appointed as an Association member of Oxfam GB and as a member of Oxfam’s Trustee, Audit and Finance Group

2006: Appointed to the ICUN (World Conservation Union) commission on Environmental Law

1993 – 2000: Legal Advisor, Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, International & EC Legal Division

Sabbatical 1999 to 2000: LLM at New York University Law School (International Legal Studies)

1993: Research officer with Industrial Relations Law Bulletin (IRS)

1991-1992: Stage (Middle Temple: Bristow Award) with the Legal Service of the EC Commission (with Karen Banks: social affairs, discrimination and employment) and at the European Court of Justice (in the chambers of A-G Francis Jacobs)

In order order to provide legal services to her clients, including advice and representation services, Kate needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes her client’s personal data and personal data about others who feature in the matter on which she is instructed. This Privacy Notice describes the personal information Kate collects, how it is used and shared, and your rights regarding it.

Kate accepts instructions under the Bar Council 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.


"She is calm, unflappable, and her previous experience enables her to provide clear and consistently incisive advice."

Chambers & Partners 2021, Environment

"A specialist in environment, climate change and biodiversity matters, she is calm and unflappable and she provides clear and consistently incisive advice."

Legal 500 2021, Environment

"Understands the principles and practice of international environmental law and provides cogent and focused advice."

Legal 500 2019, Environment

"Extensive experience on a range of climate change-related issues at the international and national levels."

Legal 500 2018, Environment

"She is a specialist in international environmental law."

Chambers & Partners 2018, Environment

"She really gets into the detail of a case and is very easy and smooth to deal with."

Chambers & Partners 2018, Environment.

"Strong on environment matters involving international and EU law."

Legal 500 2015, Environment

"A real depth of experience in environmental law."

Legal 500 2014, Environment