Kirsty Sutherland

Called 2010.


Kirsty specialises in international criminal law and military law. She is particularly interested in international humanitarian law and continues to develop her academic expertise and practical experience, both in the international criminal tribunals and before UK Courts Martial. Kirsty is frequently instructed to provide advice on highly sensitive and strictly classified matters of public international law.

Comfortable dealing with the most complex issues, Kirsty is adept at drafting incisive arguments and working with the vast volumes of evidence that are typical of international cases. Kirsty is also experienced in conducting in-country investigations in hostile conditions, and can be relied on to produce work of the highest standard under the most difficult circumstances.


International Criminal Law

Inquiry into Crimes against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons


Kirsty recently appeared as counsel before the International Bar Association’s Inquiry into Crimes against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons. This innovative mechanism presents a new model for seeking accountability for the gravest crimes, even in situations of international political deadlock.

Case 004 – Defence for Yim Tith
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

Senior Legal Consultant for Yim Tith

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, was established to bring to trial senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime and ‘those most responsible’ for alleged serious violations of international criminal law and Cambodian penal law during its 1975-1979 rule. Its nature as a hybrid domestic and international court makes the ECCC a complex and fascinating tribunal.

Kirsty worked with the Defence for Yim Tith in the politically contentious Case 004 from February 2015 until March 2016, during the judicial investigation. Kirsty’s work in Cambodia was extremely demanding and required fluency in both adversarial and inquisitorial law and procedure.

The Prosecutor v Uhuru Kenyatta
International Criminal Court

Kirsty was a member of the team defending the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, in the proceedings against him at the International Criminal Court.  Mr Kenyatta faced charges of crimes against humanity in connection with Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. Following consistent admissions as to the failure of its case, the Prosecution withdrew the charges against Mr Kenyatta in December 2014. The proceedings were terminated on 13 March 2015. Kirsty regularly drafted arguments pertaining to complex and novel points of law and intricate evidentiary issues, especially concerning the Prosecution’s handling of its investigation. In 2012, she spent several months working closely with the Defence’s investigation team in Kenya, during which she conducted her own interviews with both dangerous and extremely vulnerable witnesses. The conditions were unpredictable and often hostile, requiring sensitivity, alertness and pragmatism.

Before commencing her pupillage at 9 Bedford Row, Kirsty worked as an intern with the defence at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and with the Defence for Assad Sabra at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.  Prior to that, she undertook a wide range of work focusing on Burma, including researching alleged violations of international criminal and humanitarian law and drafting submissions to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. While studying, Kirsty worked for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and retains strong links with both these organisations.



R v Greaves et al
Kirsty was recently led by Peter Glenser in a court martial in which a number of Royal Military Police faced charges relating to the alleged practice of initiation ceremonies. Peter and Kirsty’s client was acquitted of GBH at ‘half time’ following the successful argument that the Prosecution had not demonstrated that he did not hold an honest belief in the complainant’s consent to the possibility of incurring serious bodily harm.

R v Blackman (‘Marine A’)
Sergeant Blackman, known as ‘Marine A’, was convicted of murder for shooting a severely injured insurgent in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He appealed his conviction on the basis that the possibility that he was convicted by simple majority rendered his conviction inherently unsafe, and sought a declaration that this aspect of the court martial system was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Sgt Blackman’s sentence was also appealed, and the Court Martial Appeals Court reduced his minimum term to reflect properly the level of psychological stress that he had been under at the time in question. Kirsty assisted Anthony Berry QC and Peter Glenser with the preparation of this case.



  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Human Rights Lawyers Association
  • Association of Military Court Advocates
  • Peace and Justice Initiative
  • Human Rights Watch London Network
  • ECCC List of Legal Consultants



  • Legal Aspects of Detention in Military Detention, Encyclopaedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 2nd Edition, Elsevier (2015)


Associated Work

  • Legal Officer – ARC
  • Lecturing on international criminal law, international humanitarian law and fair trial rights



  • BVC, College of Law, 2010 (Outstanding)
  • GDL, College of Law, 2009 (Commendation)
  • MSc Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh 2007 (Distinction)
  • BA (Hons) Philosophy, University College London 2006



  • Buchanan Prize for Outstanding Achievement on the BVC
  • Lincoln’s Inn Lord Denning Scholarship
  • Members CV
  • 9BRi Lobbying Forum
  • Expertise
  • Events & Calendar