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Home > Areas of law > Garden Court International > International human rights

International human rights

Over 40 years ago, Garden Court Chambers was founded on a commitment to promote fundamental human rights and freedoms. These principles are reflected throughout our international and transnational work, and embodied in our motto, ‘Do right, fear no-one’.

Our work places us at the forefront of international human rights practice, and we are skilled at managing the complex interplay between domestic and international law. Our pioneering human rights work was recently recognised when we won the Human Rights Set of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2016. Garden Court Chambers also has top rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides for civil liberties and human rights work.

Our barristers appear regularly before major international and regional human rights bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, and the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Our cases have overturned injustices in landmark decisions of international importance. Our experience includes ground-breaking work around the application of human rights law in armed conflict; the responsibility of states for human rights violations overseas; and challenging the immunity of states and international organisations. Other areas of expertise include challenging discrimination, anti-trafficking, children’s rights and women’s rights.

Members have acted and advised in a range of pioneering cases concerning the responsibility of international organisations for breaches of human rights, such as Balaj et al v The United Nations Mission in Kosovo, KK & ors v AML and Chiragov v Armenia.

What we do

Areas of work include:

  • Investigations into and claims arising out of deaths and serious ill treatment
  • Trafficking and modern slavery
  • Discrimination
  • Women’s rights
  • Romani, Gypsy and Traveller rights
  • Children’s rights
  • Rights of disabled persons
  • Prisoners’ rights
  • Economic, social and cultural rights
  • Business and human rights

Our barristers carry out advisory work, consultancies, research and report writing – including for Amnesty, UNICEF UK and UNHCR – and are in demand for public speaking engagements on human rights issues.

Members of our team teach on international human rights and social justice issues, including at the London School of Economics and Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy.

Who we work for

We provide advice and representation to:

  • Individuals
  • Charities
  • Organisations
  • Governments

Cases

We have worked on numerous cases involving international human rights issues, including:

Balaj et al v The United Nations Mission in Kosovo
This case arose from the fatal shooting of civilians by United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) police during a demonstration in 2007. The United Nations Human Rights Advisory Panel found that the UNMIK police had violated the right to life and the right to peaceful assembly of civilian protestors.

Amicus Brief to Colombian Constitutional Court
An amicus curiae brief led by Garden Court International helped to ensure that the Colombian military will continue to be accountable for any human rights abuses they commit. The Colombian Constitutional Court accepted our submissions, ruling that both international humanitarian law and human rights law apply to the investigation and prosecution of criminal acts by the military.

Kaytan v Turkey (ECHR)
The European Court of Human Rights accepted our submissions that the imposition of a whole life sentence on the applicant – following his conviction for seeking to destroy the unity of the Turkish state – was incompatible with his Article 3 right not to be subjected to inhuman punishment.

Chiragov v Armenia (Grand Chamber of ECHR)
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the rights of Kurdish Azerbaijani refugees were violated when they were unable to return to their homes, from which they had fled during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in 1992.  We were involved in the case on behalf of Kurdish Azerbaijani refugees.

KK & ors v AML (High Court)
Garden Court Chambers is representing 142 villagers who live near a large iron ore mine in West Africa. The claimants are seeking damages for personal injury, death and other damage allegedly caused by the actions and negligence of African Minerals Ltd, the British company that owns the mine.

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