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UK Bar Guide 2022

Ranked in 1 Practice Areas

About

Provided by Gillian Higgins

Practice Areas

Gillian is Head of the International Practice Group at 9 Bedford Row. Her courtroom advocacy is of the highest class. Gillian's practice areas include UK and international fraud, international criminal law, extradition and Interpol Red Notice removal work. At 9 Bedford Row with Steven Kay QC, she has established the Interpol Red Notice Desk to deal with the increasing number of international arrest warrants requested by states against perceived enemies of a regime that may be politically or financially motivated.

In the field of international criminal law, Gillian has represented heads of state, leading military figures and civilians in high profile international criminal trials. Her notable cases include Prosecutor v Kenyatta (ICC); Prosecutor v Cermak (ICTY); Prosecutor v Milosevic (ICTY); Prosecutor v Nahimana (ICTR); Prosecutor v Musema (ICTR) and Osmanoglu v Turkey (ECHR). Gillian’s expertise is not only in courtroom advocacy but also in drafting the complex legal submissions that are a feature of this type of litigation. In 2019, Gillian was appointed Independent Commissioner to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Currently, she is engaged as an international consultant in the criminal investigation in Sweden against the Swedish company Lundin Energy for war crimes in Sudan 1997-2003 brought under laws of universal jurisdiction. This complex work involves not only issues of international and national laws but also analysis of the factual backgrounds of the politics and social history of a state.

Gillian’s international practice includes providing submissions to international agencies, including the ‘Algeria Human Rights Abuse Alert – 2019’; reports to the UN investigation into the 30-year internal conflict in Sri Lanka and a series of reports to the Egypt State Litigation Authority. She has led sensitive investigations into alleged financial misconduct and advised government-level clients on the potential impact of international criminal proceedings. Gillian’s work includes submissions on behalf of interested parties to the ICC, the UNHCR and various NGOs, some of which are not in the public domain and are necessarily confidential.

Gillian has also been engaged in international fraud and corruption cases involving whistle-blowers. Most recently, she acted for two ex-Metropolitan police officers who were sued in the Commercial Court by the owners of FBME bank. The litigation concerned an alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement by the former police officers in relation to the provision of information to the Central Bank of Cyprus and US FinCEN of serious criminal conduct and regulatory breaches revealed within the accounts held by the Cyprus branch of the bank. She was also instructed by Vincent Tchenguiz in relation to a portfolio of Hilton hotels bought by Top Zinc for sale and leaseback to Hilton and eventually put into a contested administration upon default of a loan scheme hedged by Bayerische Landesbank.

In the field of extradition, Gillian is list counsel for the Crown Prosecution Service and to date has represented the interests of judicial authorities across Europe.

Gillian is trained as an investigative interviewer who is able to handle sensitive witnesses and complex situations. She also works as an accredited civil and commercial mediator and has a particular interest in the use of mediation to resolve international conflict situations. Gillian teaches civil and commercial mediation as a member of the faculty of the London School of Mediation.

Gillian is also actively involved in promoting wellbeing at the Bar in her role as a mindfulness meditation teacher. In recent years, she has designed and delivered courses on mindfulness for members of the legal profession and her first book “Mindfulness at Work and Home” was published in September 2019.

Career

Called to the Bar 1997, Gray’s Inn, Founder of the International Criminal Law Bureau. Independent Commissioner to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon; CPS extradition List counsel; accredited civil and commercial mediator; member of the Faculty of the London School of Mediation; investigative interviewer (accredited course by Intersol Global)

Professional Memberships

Gray’s Inn, List Counsel at the International Criminal Court and the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Criminal Bar Association, Founding member of the International Criminal Law Bureau

Publications

“Mindfulness at Work and Home”, Published by Reddoor Press, 2019; Blog editor and publisher for the International Criminal Law Bureau and 9 Bedford Row International websites

Personal

Educated at Exeter University (LLB) and Cambridge University, Trinity Hall (LLM), Inns of Court School of Law

Chambers Review

Provided by Chambers

UK Bar

Crime: International Criminal Law - London (Bar)
Spotlight Table

Gillian Higgins
Gillian Higgins is an experienced junior who is particularly adept at defending those charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Strengths

"The most experienced junior doing this type of work, who is utterly methodical and has the full respect of her peers both for the international criminal law work she does and her efforts in highlighting the issue of mental health at the Bar."

Recent work

Acted for Lundin Energy and Ian Lundin in proceedings initiated by the Swedish prosecutor, concerning alleged war crimes committed in Sudan in 1997-2003.

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Crime: International Criminal Law

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