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Isabella Kirwan
Guernica 37

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Called: 2022


Qualified to accept Public Access Instructions.


Isabella is a Barrister specialised in public law, human rights and international law.


Isabella provides a highly-tailored service to her clients. Her breadth of expertise enables her to give strategic legal advice on a range of complex issues. 


She is known for her ability to work with particularly vulnerable clients, including survivors of torture and slavery. 


One recent client commented: "A highly professional barrister [Isabella] saved my life. I appreciate you having faith in me and my case. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for all of your hard work on my behalf”.

International instructions

Isabella works on cases before international courts and tribunals, including the International Criminal Court and the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC). Her specialisms are Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law and Transitional Justice. She is currently instructed as an Associate on a defence team in pre-trial proceedings before the KSC. 


Isabella is currently engaged in work on niche areas of international law, including being at the forefront of the representation of groups advocating for the repatriation of cultural heritage, reparations for slavery, accountability for violations of international law by mercenaries/PMSCs and the regulation of automated weaponry systems. She is also developing a specialism in diplomatic and state immunity. She has a particular interest in transitional justice and peacebuilding in post-conflict states.


She has also worked on matters before the UN Human Rights Council and UN Special Mechanisms, including the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Committee Against Torture. Isabella advises individuals and organisations on international law issues, including engagement and advocacy before United Nations treaty bodies and mechanisms.

Domestic instructions 


Public Law/Judicial Review


Isabella represents clients in claims against public authorities on behalf of individuals, including claims under the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Equality Act 2010. Examples of her work include:


  • Delays in decision-making

  • Fresh claim refusals

  • Immigration detention, removals and deportation

  • Human trafficking and modern slavery claims

  • Sanctions


Immigration and Asylum


Isabella has extensive experience representing individuals in immigration and asylum cases, including:


  • International protection claims, including asylum, political asylum and humanitarian protection

  • Nationality and citizenship law

  • Appeals against refusals of visa applications, including family applications and applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain

  • High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) cases

  • Human trafficking and modern slavery claims

  • Immigration bail


Crime and Extradition


Represents clients in the Magistrates Court and Crown Court for both crime and extradition matters.


Before transferring to the Bar, Isabella was a qualified Solicitor before the Senior Courts of England and Wales. Isabella also worked at the United Nations’ Migration Agency, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR, Human Rights Council) in Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in London, and as a Trainee Lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. She has also worked for various non-governmental organisations, both as an employed lawyer and consultant. Notably, in 2022, the Equal Rights Trust appointed her to a team of specialist human rights lawyers to analyse the issues surrounding the realisation of the legal right to non-discrimination. In 2019, Isabella was on Amnesty International UK’s Children’s Human Rights Committee.


During her studies, Isabella specialised in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. She received the highest mark in her cohort for criminology of mass violence (war crimes, crimes against humanity, transitional justice) and was awarded an award for her distinguished contribution to international criminal law for her work on the effectiveness of late transitional justice measures in post-conflict states.


Isabella studied part of her law degree in France, at the University of Lorraine in Nancy, where she received the highest grade in her cohort. She studied French law, European law and international law. Isabella was also awarded a scholarship to study at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.


Isabella is an elected member of the prestigious Executive Committee of the ‘Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales’ (BHRC), where she serves as a specialist in international human rights law. 


She is also on a Fellowship at the Refugee Law Institute in London from February 2024-February 2025 where she is engaged in research and advisory work on current issues in domestic and international refugee and asylum law.


The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

The Law Society (Roll of Solicitors)

Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC)

International Law Association (British Branch)

Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)


LLB Law (Hons.) & LLM in Public International Law, The University of Manchester 

Study abroad at the University of Lorraine, France; French, European Law & International Law

LPC, BPP Law School



English (Mother Tongue)

French (C1)

Italian (B2)

German (B1)

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