Steven Kay QC
Call to Bar 1977
Year appointed Queen’s Counsel 1997
Practice areas: International Criminal Law, Criminal Law, Commercial Fraud
Summary of practice
Steven Kay QC is Head of Chambers at 9 Bedford Row and a leading international and UK criminal lawyer. He has a global reputation and has been in many of the landmark cases that have established modern international criminal law. He has represented Heads of State, leading Military figures and Civilians in high profile and complex international trials. His cases demonstrate his depth of experience and the quality of the work for which he has been hired. In the case of President Kenyatta at the ICC, he produced a result that changed the shape of African politics. Steven’s international practice includes advising Governments and organisations upon international legal issues, many of them with a political aspect: see submissions to the OISL upon the conflict in Sri Lanka with the LTTE; reports upon the Muslim Brotherhood for the Egypt State Litigation Authority. Certain advisory work is not in the public domain and is necessarily confidential.
Steven started his practice at the bar as a common lawyer and in his early years practiced in both civil and criminal law, developing a specialised criminal and international criminal law practice in the 1990’s. Having been in practice for 40 years he has acquired great experience in many areas of law and is now taking on national and international fraud cases with multi-disciplinary teams. Recent instructions include: 2015 instructed to deal with the criminal issues arising in the complex commercial fraud case of Vincent Tchenguiz and Rawlinson & Hunter in claims in the BVI and London against Grant Thornton (UK) and Kaupthing bank (Iceland) for damages amounting to £2.2bn; 2017 expert witness in an international arbitration for a commercial fraud involving the BVI, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and the UK; 2017 embezzlement and fraud involving a Liechtenstein trust for a high value family fund with litigation in Cayman Islands, US, Israel, Switzerland, UK, Liechtenstein. He has founded with experts from financial services, intelligence, security and commerce a company named Oculus Financial Intelligence Ltd that investigate cases of financial fraud for which 9BR provide the legal services (see www.oculus.financial).
Steven is used to leading multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams that need to deploy effective strategies to deal with complex situations and cases. He is experienced in advising clients in crisis and setting out their options and guiding their responses, whilst also making the preparations necessary for future litigation. Cases that are complex and demanding require a careful exercise of judgment and a thorough understanding of the issues involved so that a case is ready for effective negotiations or litigation. Experience has shown that good systems for the collection and management of evidence are necessary and he assembles highly able team members to perform these tasks. The effective presentation of a case in oral or written form is crucial and it is here where his advocacy and presentational skill are able to make the difference for clients in a clear, understandable and accurate presentation of a case.
Quotes from directories
Chambers UK 2016: Steven Kay QC “Has significant experience before the International Criminal Court in matters involving crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is also sought after to counsel governments, corporations and membership organisations on best practice and compliance matters”.
Chambers UK 2017: Steven Kay QC “Leading silk with a vast depth of experience of handling ICC proceedings, particularly those involving significant and high-profile political figures”.
Expertise: “He has a stellar international criminal law practice and he is great in court.”
Notable International Cases
The allegations against Unaoil relate to claims of corruption and bid-rigging in the global oil and gas industry. Unaoil came to the attention of authorities in a range of jurisdictions as a result of press reports drawing on a massive document leak. The SFO announced that it was conducting an investigation “into the activities of Unaoil, its officers, its employees and its agents in connection with suspected offences of bribery, corruption and money laundering”. The SFO made a mutual legal assistance request to the Monégasque authorities and carried out a raid of Unaoil’s premises. Extradition from Monaco of S. Ahsani was refused as the offences charged were not crimes at that time in the principality.
Perry v LOPAG, Dieter Neupert 2017-
A family trust of high value based in Liechtenstein with global assets and allegations of embezzlement and fraud against the Trustees and Protector leading to proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. Ms Perry and her family have been unable to gain access to their fortune in the trust that was settled by her late father, an Israeli tycoon.
IBA WCC Inquiry into the Political Prisons of Democratic Republic of North Korea 2016
In Washington DC took part with Kirsty Sutherland of 9BR, Federica D’Alessandra and Greg Kehoe in the Inquiry into the Kwanliso (political prisons) arranged by the IBA North American Office and heard by International Judges. See here
The Prosecutor v Uhuru Kenyatta 2010-2015
International Criminal Court proceedings commenced in December 2010 against President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, and son of the first President of the nation, Jomo Kenyatta, alleging a leading role in the post-election violence of 2007 – 2008 for which he was charged with crimes against humanity.
To read a report on the work of the 9 Bedford Row Defence team in that case go to:
- Steven Kay QC delivers opening statement for Uhuru Kenyatta, 21 September 2011
- Steven Kay QC presents Defence evidence for Uhuru Kenyatta, 28 September 2011
- Steven Kay QC examines Uhuru Kenyatta in chief, 29 September 2011
- Steven Kay QC presents closing argument for Uhuru Kenyatta, 5 October 2011
The Prosecutor v Ivan Čermak 2007-2011
Trial of General Cermak at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia which undertook the prosecution of three Croatian Generals arising from the conduct of military forces in Operation Storm in August 1995 that resulted in the liberation of territory from the RSK. Gillian Higgins of 9BR was co-counsel in this case that has been described as the most important trial in the history of the State of Croatia.
- Steven Kay QC presents arguments on Article 98bis in The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al, ICTY, 2009
- Steven Kay QC cross-examines an Expert Witness in The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al, 2009
- Steven Kay QC presents closing argument for the Cermak Defence, The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al
Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal 2010
January 2011 instructed with John Cammegh of 9BR by Jamaat E Islami to represent their members prosecuted by the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal for war crimes alleged to have taken place in the conflict to create the state of Bangladesh in 1971.
The Prosecutor v Slobodan Milosevic 2001-2006
U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia appointed Steven in September 2001 as amicus curiae with responsibility for defence issues in the trial of the ex-President of Serbia. In September 2004, he was appointed the Court Assigned Defence Counsel with Gillian Higgins of 9BR for Slobodan Milosevic in this historic case that was the first international trial of a Head of State. The trial was upon 3 joined indictments concerning the wars of the 1990s waged in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia by the Serbian forces and was the largest international criminal trial in its scope.
- Steven Kay QC presents submissions as Assigned Defence Counsel before the ICTY on the right to self-representation
- Steven Kay QC presents submissions as Amicus Curiae before the ICTY
The Prosecutor v Alfred Musema 1998-2001
U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. This was the first trial of a civilian alleging command responsibility for genocide and it took place in Arusha, Tanzania. The Defence team included Gillian Higgins of 9BRi and they were the first U.N. Defence counsel to enter Rwanda to conduct investigations in the field. These investigations produced important and critical evidence for the case that had been overlooked by Prosecution investigators who had been established in the field.
The Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic 1996-1997
U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. This was the first international war crimes trial since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of the 1940s. This landmark trial in 1996 established the foundation for modern international criminal law.
In the International Court of Justice
Application of the Republic of Liberia concerning an international arrest warrant for President Charles Taylor, issued on 7 March 2003 by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Advised suspects held in US Army captivity on ways and means to exercise their human rights.
With John Traversi of 9 BRi training Defence and Prosecution counsel in Kazakhstan how to deal with the introduction of jury trials into the criminal justice system in January 2007.
August 2008 – 2009 advisor to the government of Sudan re: referral by UN Security Council of Darfur situation to the International Criminal Court and the arrest warrant issued for President Bashir.
December 2005 – 2007 advisor to the Syrian Government and individuals concerning the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier, Rafik Hariri and 14 related terrorist explosions that are the subject of the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Beslan Victims Complaint v Russia ECtHR 2011
Steven Kay QC and Eeva Heikkila undertook pro bono the case of the siege at the school in Beslan by Chechen terrorists in September 2004 and in 2013 received notice from the European court of Human Rights it had been referred to the Russian Government for observations.
Drafting with David Hammond of 9BRi the 100 Series Rules for the Use of Force for a Flag State and SAMI for submission to the IMO. Advising upon the liabilities of security companies, insurers, charterers and individuals in the use of force to protect a vessel and all aboard from piracy or armed robbery at sea. Advising upon the impact of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 upon companies employing armed guards or providing armed guards for the protection of merchant vessels. The 100 Series RUF has now received international recognition.
Drafting a report for the ABA ROLI on the effectiveness of the Defence in the criminal justice system of the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of the programme aimed at implementing internal justice reforms. Devising an 8-stage training programme manual to improve the quality of the Defence counsel which was followed by delivery of the training programme to lawyers and trainers in 2013.
Sri Lanka 2014
Providing submissions to the OISL of the UNHCHR on behalf of 3 Sri Lankan NGO’s upon the 30 years conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) that resulted in the final defeat of the LTTE in 2009.
Virunga National Park Democratic Republic of Congo 2012
Pro-bono project to challenge on behalf of the Virunga National Park in DRC a UK FTSE 200 company, prospecting for oil and gas in the famous UNESCO Heritage site and home to the last species of mountain gorillas. This matter involved consideration of international environment law, the national laws of DRC and national laws of the company. Steven’s team at 9BR were determined to protect the local people and wildlife under threat from the commercial activities of the company.
Leader of the team that wrote significant reports for the Egyptian State Litigation Authority upon the relationship of the State with the Muslim Brotherhood that were distributed internationally see www.Egyptevidence.com
Notable UK Cases
- Rawlinson & Hunter, Vincent Tchenguiz and others v Grant Thornton and others: Commercial fraud claim for damages of £2.2bn
- R v Winzar: An allegation of murder by insulin injection.
- R v Lomas: A European agricultural regulations fraud referred to the EEC Court of Justice, Luxembourg.
- R v Hannon: An international time share fraud involving the companies of John Palmer tried at the Old Bailey in London.
- R v Clemente: An international money laundering case involving the U.S, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Austria. It was the largest case of its type tried in the U.K.
- R v Dass: A revenue fraud involving corruption of an HM Customs Officer.
- R v Simmonds: The manufacture of pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong listed as controlled drugs in the UK and their illegal import and export through the UK to the Middle East and Africa.
- R v Amani: A murder within a prison.
- R v Harrington: Money laundering through a police sting operation involving a fake bureau de change.
- R v Munshi: Arson of a dwelling by a group of young people in which 3 children died.
- R v Shakespeare: A case involving multiple sexual attacks by the use of a date rape drug.
- MPS v. Dariye : Civil and criminal proceedings against the Governor of Jos State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and England for corruption and money laundering.
Recorder 1997; Chair ABA Task Force International Criminal Justice Standards 2016- ; Co-Chair IBA War Crimes Committee 2012-16; Advisor IBA WCC 2017- ; Secretary Criminal Bar Association 1993-96; Member Prime Minister’s Special Committee on Victims 1995-96.
Leeds University 1973-76; Inns of Court School of Law 1976-77.
IBA; CBA; IDCA ICC.
Other activities and interests
Lectures on International Law; Conference speaker/mediator; Media commentator
Publications: Contributor to: Commentary on The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, OUP 2002; International Criminal Justice, Westlaw UK Insight; Cases That Changed Our Lives: The Nuremburg Trials And Their Enduring Legacy That Even Rulers Are Under God And The Law, Lexis Nexis.