Professional practice

Described in Chambers and Partners as ‘a sensational advocate’ with ‘killer litigation instincts’ and ‘an intellectual giant’ who ‘works incredibly hard [and] is very cool under pressure’, Alison has an extensive practice in arbitration, public international law, criminal law and human rights, in both domestic and international courts and tribunals. She is experienced at working in teams of lawyers and experts across jurisdictions, in complex, document-heavy litigation involving States, corporations and individuals. She is singled out as ‘one of the very few barristers who works at the confluence between criminal, public and commercial law.’

Early in her career, Alison was named as one of the ‘Future Stars of the Bar’ by The Times (2008); in 2015 she was nominated as Human Rights and Public Law Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards, and on appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2017 she was selected as a ‘star silk’ by The Lawyer. In 1999 she was elected a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Alison is recommended in the leading UK legal directories in five areas: (1) public international law; (2) business and regulatory crime; (3) administrative and public law; (4) civil liberties; and (5) police law. She is also listed in Chambers Global as a leader in the field of public international law, and is named in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration – Future Leaders, most recently in 2019.

 

What Others Say

‘Extraordinarily impressive advocacy and her rapport-building capabilities with witnesses and the tribunal alike are second to none. She is an absolute delight to work with, a true team player, and has an incredible brain.’

‘I was blown away by her advocacy. She’s so calm and persuasive; she knows the best points and gets them across in a way that really instils confidence.’

‘She’s very good on both legal argument and advocacy, and I’ve been really impressed with her innovative approach.’

‘She has a very well-judged style and wins the confidence of the court.’

Chambers and Partners, 2020

 

‘A brilliant oral advocate who performs exceptionally well before the most prestigious international courts and arbitral tribunals.’

‘She is incredibly bright and comes up with innovative solutions at every turn.’

‘One of the key advocates in complex appeals raising novel points of law.’

Legal 500, 2019

 

“An asset to the Bar. She is extremely approachable, intelligent and always quick to help out where she can. She gets the issues and delivers a first-class service.”

“Simply amazing, fantastically bright, personable, approachable and delivers a truly outstanding and effective service.”

“She is ferociously clever.”

Chambers and Partners, 2019

 

“Her knowledge of the area is vast and her experience is blatantly obvious. She has an excellent advocacy manner which is compelling and effective and perfectly judged, and she is brilliant with the client. An impressive operator.”

“Able to take complex legal arguments and present them in a very simple and straightforward way”

“She is excellent, her written work is brilliant.”

“A very clever, smart advocate.”

Chambers and Partners, 2018

“An excellent barrister – responsive and a true team player”

“A valuable asset in the litgation team”

Legal 500, 2017

 

“She’s first rate, incredibly bright and capable of dealing with complex issues by turning them into understandable concepts”

“She has a relaxed and measured style that is compelling.”

Chambers and Partners, 2017

 

‘She is an intellectual giant, works incredibly hard, is very cool under pressure and will never back down when she knows she is right on an issue’

‘She’s a brilliant lawyer. She works incredibly hard and is very cool under pressure’

‘She is a fantastically good tactical leader who combines a strong knowledge of international law with killer litigation instincts’

Chambers and Partners, 2016

 

‘Extremely good and one of the very few barristers who works at the confluence between criminal, public and commercial law’

Chambers Global 2016, Public International Law

Financial Crime

Alison is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. Many of her cases involve an international dimension, arising out of cross-jurisdictional investigations or prosecutions, or raising points of international law. Her expertise is often sought out where a case raises parallel criminal and civil issues, for example extradition or mutual assistance requests arising out of litigation in the Commercial Court. The Legal 500 lists her as a leading silk in business and regulatory crime, saying that ‘She is incredibly bright and comes up with innovative solutions at every turn.’

She regularly advises on legal issues arising out of investigations abroad, including extradition and mutual assistance requests and Interpol Notices. She has advised a number of prominent business and political figures who have been subjected to Red Notices, often arising out of politically-motivated prosecutions, and has defended a number of extradition cases raising issues of human rights and political motivation.

She regularly provides legal and strategic advice in relation to criminal prosecutions in other jurisdictions: recent examples include Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Jordan, Yemen, Nigeria and the UAE. She has also acted in a number of Strasbourg claims arising out of flawed prosecutions in other jurisdictions.

Her international law practice complements her criminal work, and includes war crimes, aggression, issues of state and diplomatic immunity and extraterritorial jurisdiction (including the first extraterritorial prosecution in the UK). She has provided legal and strategic advice to clients facing investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court, as well as appearing before that Court as an amicus curiae in the case against Saif Gaddafi.

She is also expert in the field of international business risk and corporate governance, including corporate human rights obligations, modern slavery, bribery, money laundering and sanctions.

Cases include:

Financial and other serious crime

·         Representing a State in litigation in the English courts seeking the return of assets frozen in the UK on the application of another State, as the alleged proceeds of crime.

·         Advising a Nigerian businessman in relation to criminal proceedings in Italy arising out of the sale of an oil concession.

·         Representing the former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, in the criminal prosecution relating to alleged phone hacking and payments to a public official, including appeal to the Court of Appeal on the scope of the ‘phone hacking’ offence under RIPA.

·         Representing Robert Tchenguiz in his damages claim against the Serious Fraud Office, arising out of his high-profile arrest and search in connection with the investigation into Kaupthing.

·         Advising a State in relation to alleged fraud in the enforcement of an arbitral award.

·         Yukos v Russia: Representing Yukos in its damages claim before the European Court of Human Rights, arising out of alleged non-payment of taxes in Russia: awarded €1.5bn.

·         Advising Libyan individuals in connection with allegations of rendition and torture.

·         Representing Liechtenstein companies charged with money laundering on behalf of the Abacha family.

·         Advising a multinational company charged with bribery of a foreign official.

·         Advising on alleged fraud in the context of football transfers.

·         Advising a Jersey company director in connection with a money-laundering investigation by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

·         Representing businessman charged with fraud in connection with the trade in carbon credits.

·         Advising professional advisers on (1) the scope of legal professional privilege, and (2) compliance with, and challenges to, search warrants and production orders, in the context of SFO and other investigations into their clients.

·         Advising prominent political and business figures on challenges to politically-motivated Interpol Red Notices.

·         Fetisov v Russian Federation: extradition request relating to substantial alleged misappropriation of funds from Russian bank; parallel to substantial damages proceedings in the English Commercial Court.

·         Shahidian v United States: extradition request raising issues relating to US sanctions on Iran.

·         Extradition requests from France, raising issues of the compatibility of prison conditions with human rights standards, and the independence of the French public prosecutor.

·         Advising on mutual assistance requests from a foreign State, arising out of Commercial Court litigation.

·         Advising company directors on mutual assistance requests arising out of the Icelandic Special Prosecutor’s investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing Bank.

·         Jersey money laundering prosecution arising out of the Nigerian Abacha investigation: instructed on international law and mutual assistance issues.

State and diplomatic immunity

·         Advising a number of prominent individuals on diplomatic immunity in the context of ongoing or pending criminal or extradition proceedings.

·         Advising on the immunities of political and military officials alleged to have committed serious international crimes, and on the availability of arrest warrants.

·         Strasbourg case relating to the importation of two tonnes of cocaine into France under cover of diplomatic immunity, in the context of parallel DoJ investigation.

International criminal law

·         The Prosecutor v Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi: Appeared before the Appeals Chamber of the ICC as amicus curiae on the issue of amnesties in international law (for REDRESS and Lawyers for Justice in Libya).

·         Legal and strategic advice to clients facing investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

·         Special Court for Sierra Leone: amicus brief on the question of whether Charles Taylor enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

·         R v Zardad: defended in the first prosecution in the UK for crimes committed wholly abroad (torture and hostage-taking in Afghanistan).

·         House of Lords case on the status of the international crime of aggression in domestic law (R v Jones (Margaret)).

Death penalty work

·         Numerous Caribbean death row appeals to the Privy Council, raising issues including provocation, diminished responsibility, joint enterprise, admissibility of confessions, and the constitutionality of imposing the death sentence on mentally disordered offenders.

·         Ongoing challenges to the mandatory death penalty in Sierra Leone.

·         Death penalty cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Inquests/Inquiries

·         Numerous inquests into deaths in custody and at the hands of the state, including the inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed (represented Mohamed Al Fayed); Ian Tomlinson (represented the Tomlinson family); and Alexander Litvinenko (represented Andrey Lugovoy).

Human rights & civil liberties

Alison’s domestic public law and human rights practice centres on two areas: cases arising out of the criminal justice system and criminal investigations, and cases involving issues of public international law. She is singled out as “one of the very few barristers who works at the confluence between criminal, public and commercial law.” The directories state that Her knowledge of the area is vast and her experience is blatantly obvious. She has an excellent advocacy manner which is compelling and effective and perfectly judged, and she is brilliant with the client. An impressive operator.’

She is regularly instructed by NGOs to intervene in significant human rights cases, and has also acted in numerous cases before the European Court of Human Rights, including the Grand Chamber. 

Cases include:

·         Advising the family of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian citizen held in Iran since 2016 on charges of espionage.

·         Represented Liberty in the judicial review claim brought by David Miranda about his detention under anti-terrorism powers while carrying journalistic material relating to Edward Snowden.

·         Represented Liberty in the judicial review relating to the impact of police stop and search powers: Roberts v Metropolitan Police.

·         Represented a number of public figures, including John Prescott, Chris Bryant and Brian Paddick, in their judicial review of the failure of the Metropolitan Police Service to investigate tabloid phone hacking.

·         Catt v Metropolitan Police: Represented 90-year old peace protester in his Supreme Court case about the retention of his personal data on a ‘domestic extremism’ database.

·         Austin v UK: Strasbourg challenge to the lawfulness of police “kettling”.

·         G v Metropolitan Police: represented a prominent businessman in his successful challenge to the erroneous grant of a warrant to search his home for child pornography.

·         Hindawi v Secretary of State for Justice: challenge to refusal of Secretary of State to order the release of Nezar Hindawi, convicted of attempting to blow up a passenger plane in 1986.

·         Adams v Secretary of State for Justice: Supreme Court decision on the meaning of “miscarriage of justice”: represented JUSTICE, the intervener.

·         Roberts v Parole Board: House of Lords decision on the use of special advocates before the Parole Board.

·         Hanscombe v UK: representing the partner of Rachel Nickell in connection with the failure of the police to catch her killer.

International Arbitration

Alison has extensive international arbitration experience. She has acted in a number of significant investment arbitrations and annulment proceedings, and advises companies, individuals and States on arbitration and enforcement issues. She is experienced at acting in teams with international law firms, firms local to the State of the dispute, and in-house corporate and State advisers. She is recommended in this field for her ‘Extraordinarily impressive advocacy, and her rapport-building capabilities with witnesses and the tribunal alike are second to none. She is an absolute delight to work with, a true team player, and has an incredible brain.’

Current and recent work includes advising investors on potential claims against EU and ASEAN States in the mining and telecommunications sectors, and acting for Kazakhstan in an ICSID arbitration in the mining sector, for Mauritius in an ICSID arbitration raising issues of environmental regulation, for Jordan in an ICSID arbitration in the telecommunications sector, and for Bangladesh in an ICSID arbitration in the oil and gas sector.

Alison has a particular interest in the application of international law in the domestic courts, and has advised in a number of cases relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards against State assets, including questions of State immunity.

She is experienced in the cross-over between commercial, human rights and international law issues, and represented Yukos in Yukos v Russia, in which the European Court of Human Rights awarded €1.5bn in damages to Yukos for violation of its rights in the tax enforcement process (the largest ever Strasbourg damages award).

Cases include:

·         Mauritius v United Kingdom: UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal: arbitration arising out of UK’s declaration of a “marine protected area” around the Chagos Archipelago.

·         Ireland v United Kingdom, OSPAR Arbitral Tribunal: acted for Ireland in this inter-state arbitration relating to the scope and nature of the right of access to environmental information.

·         Ireland v United Kingdom (The MOX Plant Case), ITLOS: acted for Ireland in this application for provisional measures relating to the commissioning of the Sellafield MOX facility.

·         Alhambra Resources v Kazakhstan: Representing Kazakhstan in an ongoing ICSID claim arising out of a gold mining concession.

·         Gosling v Mauritius: Representing Mauritius in an ongoing ICSID claim raising issues of environmental regulation.

·         Alghanim v Jordan: ICSID claim arising out of a disputed taxation measure in the telecommunications sector.

·         Niko Resources Ltd v Bangladesh: ICSID claim arising out of a project to revive marginal and abandoned gas fields.

·         ATA v Jordan: advised Jordan on post-award remedies in this ICSID arbitration, arising out of a construction dispute.

·         Siemens v Argentina: ICSID annulment proceedings arising out of the Siemens corruption scandal.

·         Vivendi v Argentina II: ICSID claim and subsequent annulment proceedings arising out of the privatisation of the water services of a province of Argentina.

·         Azurix v Argentina: ICSID annulment application relating to the privatisation of the water services of Buenos Aires.

·         CMS v Argentina: ICSID annulment application relating to the application of the defence of necessity to the Argentine fiscal crisis, and the standard of review on annulment.

·         Salini v Jordan: ICSID arbitration arising out of the construction of a dam in Jordan by an Italian company.

Public international law

Alison has acted in a number of significant inter-State cases, and is recognised in this field as ‘a brilliant oral advocate who performs exceptionally well before the most prestigious international courts and tribunals.’ She is experienced at providing advice and advocacy at all stages, from strategic advice on an emerging dispute, to working as a team to frame the claim and manage the production of written pleadings and exhibits, to acting as advocate at the eventual hearing. She works closely with State clients, experts, and lawyers across jurisdictions.

Cases include:

·         Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (Request for Advisory Opinion): Representing Mauritius in relation to the UN General Assembly’s request to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion.

·         Mauritius v Maldives: Maritime boundary delimitation claim in front of a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

·         Ghana v Côte d’Ivoire: Maritime boundary delimitation claim in front of a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

·         Mauritius v United Kingdom: UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal: arbitration arising out of UK’s declaration of a “marine protected area” around the Chagos Archipelago.

·         Ireland v United Kingdom, OSPAR Arbitral Tribunal: acted for Ireland in this inter-state arbitration relating to the scope and nature of the right of access to environmental information.

·         Ireland v United Kingdom (The MOX Plant Case), ITLOS: acted for Ireland in this application for provisional measures relating to the commissioning of the Sellafield MOX facility.

Career

1999-2006: Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

1999-2000: Visiting Lecturer in Public Law, King’s College London

2000: Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn)

2017: Appointed Queen’s Counsel

Education

BA (Law), Queens’ College, Cambridge, 1998: starred first; came top of year and was awarded the Slaughter & May prize for the best performance in law finals and the George Long prize for jurisprudence

BCL, Wadham College, Oxford, 1999 (first class)

Gray’s Inn Bedingfield Scholarship 1999-2000

Bar Vocational Qualification, 2000

Awards

1998: Slaughter and May Prize for best performance in law finals, University of Cambridge.

1998: George Long Prize for Jurisprudence, University of Cambridge.

2000: Bedingfield Scholarship, Gray’s Inn.

Publications

Contributing author, Canons of Construction and other Interpretive Principles in Public International Law (Kluwer, 2018)

“Doing business with states: recent lessons learned”, Journal of International Banking and Financial Law (2018)

Co-author, with Tim Owen QC, Prison Law (5th ed, Oxford University Press, 2015)

Contributor to Fox and Webb, State Immunity (Oxford University Press, 2013)

General Editor, with Ben Emmerson QC and Professor Andrew Ashworth QC, Human Rights and Criminal Justice (3rd ed, Sweet and Maxwell, 2012)

Contributing author, Blackstone’s Guide to the Serious and Organised Crime Act (Oxford University Press, 2005)