Details of practice
A barrister and Queen’s Counsel whose specialist experience includes:
- war crimes
- bribery and corruption
- complex commercial crime
- criminal mutual assistance
- human rights
His international experience includes advising in cases in France, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Kenya, Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland, the United States, Venezuela, the Bahamas, India and Pakistan. He advised clients in connection with the Bhopal, Marcos and Bofors litigations, in the mani puliti trials in Italy, and in the ‘cash for honours’ scandal in England. He has acted as observer for Article XIX in a seditious libel in Zagreb.
He has advised and appeared in extradition cases since 1973 and given expert evidence in Ireland and the United States. He has appeared as leading counsel in Hong Kong and St Helena, and been permitted to address the court as an advocate in the United States.
In commercial crime, he has been instructed to lead teams of barristers, solicitors and accountants in cases involving up to two years’ preparation and trials lasting up to a year.
His general criminal experience includes defending and prosecuting in all types of criminal cases including many murders.
His recent cases include acting as amicus curiae in the appeal of the former Bosnian President, Momcilo Krajisnik agaiinst his conviction for crimes against humanity at the ICTY; and defending Daniel James, a British soldier and interpreter for General Richards for spying in Afghanistan.
‘a leading authority on corruption’ The Legal 500 2012: Fraud
MA (Legal Science); LL.B (Dublin University)
Called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn 1957 (Albion Richardson Scholar)
- Honorary Life President and former President of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association
- Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies
- Chatham House
- Bar European Group
- Criminal Bar Association
- Former Trustee of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
- Former Trustee of the Commonwealth Law Conference Foundation (Hong Kong)
- Former Governor of the Federation of British Artists
Chair of the Commonwealth Working Group of Experts on the Revision of the Model Law on Computer Crime, 2016-
Patron of the Cybercrime Practitioners Association 2016-
Chair of the Commonwealth Working Group of Experts on Virtual Currencies 2015-
Chair of the Commonwealth Working Group of Experts on Cybercrime 2012-2014
Member of the Commonwealth Expert Group on the Rule of Law 2011
Member of a UNODC Expert Group reviewing the draft Guide on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity in Bologna in 2009
Member of the SFO’s Queen’s Counsel List
Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn 1990
Recorder of the Crown Courts 1983-1998
Supplementary Treasury Counsel (Crown Prosecutors at the Central Criminal Court) 1972-1981
Admitted (for specific reasons) to the Bar of Hong Kong 1990-1991
ICTY Accredited Defence Counsel
Corruption and Misuse of Public Office (3rd edition) co-authored with Tim Daniel, Alan Bacarese, James Maton, John Hatchard, published by Oxford University Press 29 September 2017.
Cyber Security: The Threat Escalates, Counsel, published by Lexisnexis, February 2017.
Prevention of Corruption in Respect of Judges and Prosecutors, Group of States against Corruption: 55th Plenary Meeting, Strasbourg 14-16 May 2012
Corruption and Misuse of Public Office (2nd Edition) co-authored with Tim Daniel, Alan Bacarese and John Hatchard. Published by Oxford University Press.
Judicial Approaches to Corruption in Public Office, 2nd Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers, Nassau, Bahamas; October 2011.
The UK gets Tough with Bribery, The Commonwealth Lawyer, December 2010 vol 19 No 1.
The Developing Role of the Justice Minister in the Light of Challenges Facing the Rule of Law in the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Lawyer 2009, vol 16 No X.
The CLA: A Brief History, The Commonwealth Lawyer, August 2008, vol 17, No 2.
The Role of an Independent Legal Profession in Safeguarding Ethical Governance and Accountability, The Commonwealth Lawyer, vol 15, No 1 April 2006.
Corruption and Misuse of Public Office, co-authored with Tim Daniel, Martin Polaine and Professor John Hatchard, published by Oxford University Press on 23 March 2006 (800 pages). ‘The only dedicated work on this subject’ (OUP).
Combating Corruption with Much Tougher Laws, The Times, 13 September 2005.
Methods for Safeguarding Ethical Governance and Accountability: The Role of an Independent Legal Profession, Pan African Commonwealth Principles Forum, Nairobi, Kenya 4-6 April 2005.
Security Laws and Human Rights – Getting the Balance Right. 1 April 2005. Gibraltar Human Rights Symposium, September 2004.
Civil Society wins at CHOGM, The Times. December 2003.
The UK Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001; Too Much…Too Soon, published in CHRI News, vol 9, No 1, p 8, February 2002.
Extradition: Problems of Abuse, published in The Lawyer, Journal of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago vol 7, p 25, March 2001.
The Crisis in Pakistan: Supreme Court Asserts its Supremacy, published in The Commonwealth Lawyer, vol 9, p 32, September 2000.
Judges and Parliamentarians: The Public Perception, published in Parliamentary Supremacy and Judicial Independence: A Commonwealth Approach, edited by John Hatchard and Peter Slinn, Cavendish Publishing Limited, London 1999.
The Latimer House Guidelines on Parliamentary Supremacy and Judicial Independence, published in Judges and Judicial Accountability, edited by Cyrus Das and K Chandra, a CLA publication, Kuala Lumpur, 1999.
Extradition and Human Rights in the Commonwealth published in The Commonwealth Lawyer, vol 7, No 2 January 1996.
He has presented papers and acted as moderator at panels on extradition, mutual assistance, corruption and human rights at meetings of the International Bar Association, the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, the American Bar Association, the Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers (United States), the Conference of Caribbean Judicial Officers, and the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, meetings of Senior Officials and of Commonwealth Law Ministers. He spoke on terrorism at the Gibraltar Tercentenary Celebrations in 2004.
He participated in the Latimer House Colloquium in Buckinghamshire in 1998 and was closely involved in the work leading to the adoption of the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2003. He participated in the subsequent meetings in Nairobi in 2005 and Edinburgh in 2008 and is a founder member of the Latimer House Working Group. In 2008 he was a member of a High Level Panel at a Special Session of Commonwealth Law Ministers in Edinburgh where he presented a paper on The Developing Role of the Justice Minister in the Light of Challenges facing the Rule of Law in the Commonwealth. In October 2010 he presented a paper to Law Ministers of Small Commonwealth Jurisdictions entitled The Role of the Attorney General: Establishing an Independent Attorney General’s Office in Small Commonwealth States.
He was a member of a UNODC Expert Group reviewing the draft Guide on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity in Bologna in 2009, and of the Commonwealth Expert Group on the Rule of Law in Ottawa in 2011, was Chair of the Commonwealth Working Group of Experts on Cybercrime 2012-2014 and is chair of the Commonwealth expert Group on Virtual Currencies (Report published by Commonwealth Secretariat, 2014).
He was a member of a Working Group of the Law Commission on the UK’s Bribery Bill. He gave evidence to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill in 2009 and was a member of TI (UK)’s Advisory Group on the UK’s National Integrity System in 2011.
He is lead author of Corruption and the Misuse of Public Office, published by Oxford University Press in 2006. The 2nd edition (Colin Nicholls QC, Tim Daniel, Alan Bacarese and Professor John Hatchard) was published on 29 September 2011. The 3rd edition (Nicholls, Daniel, Bacarese, Maton, and Hatchard) was published on 29 September 2017.
He has been a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association since its foundation in 1986. He was President from 2003-2005 and was made Honorary Life President in September 2007 in recognition of his “contribution to the Association and lawyers in the Commonwealth”.