• An astute and determined tactician and formidable advocate, Nicholas Griffin QC is a leader in Public Law and Corporate and Financial Crime; his eye for the detail and effortless, unflappable approach make him a favourite in his chosen fields.

    Nicholas was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2011.

    Corporate & Financial Crime

    Nicholas advises widely in the field of corporate and financial crime, appearing in large and complex cases. Specialist areas within this field include offshore tax evasion and the implications of the laws governing surveillance. He has a particular interest in human rights due diligence in the corporate context, for example in relation to the operation of the supply chain provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The skills that have placed him at the top of the Public Law field make him exceptionally well placed to deal with internal investigations for institutions and corporates concerned about irregular activity; he is especially recognised for his ability to lead a team.

    Public Law

    With his intelligence, integrity, commitment and astute, tactical problem solving, Nicholas Griffin QC is highly sought-after in this field of law. He provides expert advice and advocacy in respect of public inquiries of all types and in relation to other inquisitorial proceedings, including coroners' inquests. He is currently instructed in two major public inquiries and has recently acted as an independent expert witness in another. He advises and appears in the full range of public law matters, often where there is a connection with a criminal law issue, for example in relation to investigatory powers and surveillance law or the protection of Articles 2, 3 and 8 ECHR in the context of special measures or defendant anonymity applications. He is recognised as a true expert in this field. Nicholas holds various senior and minister appointed positions. He is an expert commentator, speaking on the Today Programme and other news broadcasts. He founded and leads the QEB Hollis Whiteman Public Law Group and he is the head of Chambers’ Business and Human Rights Group.

    Reviews

    Nicholas has been consistently featured in Chambers & Partners and is currently listed in its 2020 edition as an expert in Inquests & Public Inquiries. He is also listed in the Legal 500 2020 as an expert in Inquests and Inquiries.

    ‘Highly intelligent, outstanding thorough and industrious, with sound judgment and impeccable integrity.’ Legal 500 Inquests and Inquiries (2020)

    ‘Regularly involved in significant public inquiries … His inquiries practice extends beyond England and includes significant instructions in Jersey and Northern Ireland … "He's thorough and able to grapple with complex issues quickly." "He gets to grips with instructions and understands public law on top of his criminal background."’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2020)

    ‘He's very approachable, thorough and knowledgeable. He's always able to tackle the most complex points in a case.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2019)

    ‘He is extremely experienced in public inquiries and provides excellent advice.’ ‘He is practical and conscientious beyond belief. Also, he delivers and is pretty much unflappable.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2018)

    ‘Great intelligence, integrity and commitment. He brings an astute, tactical approach to problems as well as a determination to solve them.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2017)

    ‘He is the best leader of a large team, is an incredibly persuasive advocate and has a great breadth of range in his expertise.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2016)

    Appointments

    • Board Member (and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee) - UK Anti-Doping, appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
    • Security Vetting Appeals Panel member, appointment by the Prime Minister
    • Chair, Bar Council Surveillance and Privacy Working Group (to 2015)
    • Authorised counsel for both the International Criminal Court and Kosovo Specialist Chambers
    • Assistant Commissioner, Boundary Commission for England (2013 review of electoral constituency boundaries), appointment by the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform
    • Assistant Commissioner to the Northern Ireland District Electoral Areas Commissioner (2013), appointment by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    • Bencher, Inner Temple
    • Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review Legal Steering Committee
    • Trustee of Anti-Slavery International

    Professional Membership

    • Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
    • Criminal Bar Association

    Education

    • LLB in European Legal Studies, University of Bristol
    • Inns of Court School of Law Bar Vocational Course

    Privacy Notice

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaking at JUSTICE Human Rights Conference this week

      Nicholas will be speaking on a panel discussing inquests and inquiries alongside other practitioners in this field.The event programme is here, and includes this description of the session: “Inquests and inquiries serve as society&rsquo...

      ...
    • Covid-19: A Public Inquiry

      Calls for a public inquiry into the government and state reaction to Covid-19 are mounting. But is there actually a need for an inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and what should it investigate?  QEB Hollis Whiteman's Nicholas Griffin QC

      ...
    • Calls for coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore - Nicholas Griffin QC writes for The Times

      Nicholas Griffin QC co-authors with Richard Spafford of Reed Smith LLP in an article for The Times.Together they consider that calls for a coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore; those who have suffered most deserve answers but the shaping and timing ...

      ...
    • Inquiry reports on Westminster abuse

      The public inquiry into child sexual abuse published its Report into allegations of abuse linked to Westminster this month. It considers the institutional responses to allegations of abuse and exploitation involving persons of public prominence, such as M...

      ...
    • Kosovo Specialist Chambers

      David Spens QC and Nicholas Griffin QC have been added to the official List of Counsel of lawyers eligible to practice before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in the Hague.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC to assist "When things go wrong" JUSTICE Review

      Nicholas Griffin QC will assist JUSTICE working group considering the conduct and procedure of inquests, inquiries and other proceedings that may arise in the wake of a disaster.JUSTICE has recently set up a Working Group to consider the issue of “W...

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC and Kyan Pucks reconsider Impact Statements for Business

      “Impact Statements for Business”, the corporate equivalent of “Victim Personal Statements” (impact statements made by victims of crime) have been around for a while. But they have now been reconsidered by Nicholas Griffin QC and Ky...

      ...
    • Zoe Johnson QC and Nicholas Griffin QC: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

      The Inquiry investigation into “Children Outside the UK” started on 11 February.

      ...
    • QEB Hollis Whiteman helps organise Public Inquiries Training Weekend

      Three members of Chambers involved with annual Inner Temple training session at Cumberland Lodge.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC comments on The Supreme Court judgment on Diplomatic Immunity in Trafficking Case

      The Supreme Court handed down judgment in Reyes v Al-Malki & Another (2017) UKSC 61, a decision on diplomatic immunity.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC appointed to UK Anti-Doping Board

      Nicholas was appointed to the Board of UKAD by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC is ranked as a Leader in his Field Inquests & Public Inquries in Chambers UK Bar Directory 2018

      Details of the rankings and commentaries will be published in November 2017 in the Chambers UK Bar Directory 2018.

      ...
    • Independent Jersey Care Inquiry reports - expert evidence of Nicholas Griffin QC

      The Inquiry was set up to establish what went wrong in Jersey's care system over many years. 

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC interviewed on BBC Today Programme

      Nicholas spoke about public inquiries after the decision to hold a public inquiry into the disaster at Grenfell Tower.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaks on Modern Slavery Act 2015 at Eversheds' Seminar

      Nicholas Griffin QC explores the implications of the Modern Slavery Act on business one year after the Act’s reporting duty began to take effect.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaks at the Covert Policing RIPA 2000 conference

      Nicholas addressed current powers to spy on/access communications between lawyers and their clients.

      ...
    • Nicholas Griffin QC joins QEB Hollis Whiteman

      Mark Ellison QC comments: ‘We are delighted to welcome Nicholas'.

      ...

    Articles

    • Covid-19: A Public Inquiry

      Calls for a public inquiry into the government and state reaction to Covid-19 are mounting. But is there actually a need for an inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and what should it investigate?  QEB Hollis Whiteman's Nicholas Griffin QC

    • Calls for coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore - Nicholas Griffin QC writes for The Times

      Nicholas Griffin QC co-authors with Richard Spafford of Reed Smith LLP in an article for The Times.Together they consider that calls for a coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore; those who have suffered most deserve answers but the shaping and timing ...

    • Using impact statements for business in corporate and financial criminal cases

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Kyan Pucks outline the benefits of corporate crime practitioners utilising ISBs in the interest of their clients.The article which was published by LexisNexis can be viewed here.  

    • No safe havens? Pt2. Corporate facilitation of tax evasion: the new frontier

      Part 2 of a special two part analysis by Nicholas Griffin QC, Jason Mansell, Tom Broomfield and Rhys Meggy.

      View Article

    • No safe havens? Part1. Corporate facilitation of tax evasion: the new frontier

      Part 1 of a special two part analysis by Nicholas Griffin QC, Jason Mansell, Tom Broomfield and Rhys Meggy.

      View Article

    • Offshore Tax Evasion - civil and criminal sanctions (Lexis (R) PSL Practice Note)

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Tom Broomfield have worked with Lexis®PSL to provide two Practice Notes on tax evasion.

    • Nicholas Griffin QC and Tom Orpin-Massey comment on key European privacy ruling

      Nicholas and Tom respond to the Court of Justice of the EU's landmark ruling in the joined cases of Sverige AB v Post-och telestyrelsen, and SSHD v Tom Watson and Others.

    • Privacy v Security

      Nicholas Griffin QC considers the CJEU Watson decision on UK surveillance law. 

    • Nicholas Griffin QC has been interviewed by Legal Business as a prominent name in the field of public inquiries.

      He notes that 'Increasingly now you get a group of lawyers who have become inquiries specialists'.

    • DRIPA left out to dry

      Nick Griffin QC comments on the implications that the CJEU decision in the case of MP Tom Watson has for UK surveillance law.

      View Article

    • Public Inquiries: getting at the truth

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Peter Watkin Jones assess the Inquiries Act 2005 ten years on in the Law Society Gazette.

      View Article

    • Abolitionists at the Inn

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Celia Pilkington consider the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Inner Temple Yearbook 2015-2016 on the topic of slavery.

      View Article

    • Access all areas?

      Nicholas Griffin QC, Robert O’Sullivan QC and Gordon Nardell QC consider legal professional privilege in the context of state surveillance - New Law Journal 27 February 2015

      View Article

  • Corporate and Financial Crime

    A silk recognised for his keen intellect and astute strategic judgement, Nicholas Griffin QC is sought-after for his unfailing commitment to a case outside of the court room as much as he is for his fluent, charming and persuasive advocacy in it.

    Overview 

    Nicholas advises widely in the field of corporate and financial crime, appearing in large and complex cases. Specialist areas within this field include offshore tax evasion and the implications of the laws governing surveillance. He has a particular interest in human rights due diligence in the corporate context, for example in relation to the operation of the supply chain provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The skills that have placed him at the top of the Public Law field make him exceptionally well placed to deal with internal investigations for institutions and corporates concerned about irregular activity; he is especially recognised for his ability to lead a team.

    Experience

    An incisive advocate, Nicholas advises across the spectrum of corporate and financial crime, often on niche and complex points of law. He has appeared in some of the most prominent cases of recent years; in 2014 he successfully defended the former News of the World managing editor in the high-profile trial concerning allegations of conspiracy to a) intercept voicemails of celebrities, members of the Royal Family and others and b) commit misconduct in public office.

    Nicholas brings his background in criminal law and expertise in the conduct of inquiries to undertake internal investigations for institutions concerned about irregular activity and to provide specialist advice to state bodies, corporates and others on the operation of laws governing surveillance and related activities, arising from the operation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. He heads the QEB Business and Human Rights Group and writes and lectures in human rights due diligence in the corporate context. He has extensive knowledge of recent offshore tax evasion legislation having provided advice on the topic in Jersey and in the UK to various firms specialising in corporate crime.

    He is a contributor to LexisNexis Butterworths’ Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure and writes on matters of interest within the corporate and financial crime field, also including the recent legislation concerning offshore tax evasion. His vast knowledge and legal acumen place him amongst the best in this area of law.

    Notable Cases 

    Advice Re: A Major Delivery Service
    Advising major delivery service company in relation to its powers and obligations under privacy and surveillance law.

    Protection of Article 2 rights in criminal proceedings
    Representing individuals seeking anonymity in the context of ongoing serious criminal proceedings.

    R v Brooks, Coulson & Others
    Successfully defended former News of the World managing editor in trial involving allegations of conspiracy to a) intercept voicemails of celebrities, members of the Royal Family and others and b) commit misconduct in public office.

    News

    • Nicholas Griffin QC and Kyan Pucks reconsider Impact Statements for Business

      “Impact Statements for Business”, the corporate equivalent of “Victim Personal Statements” (impact statements made by victims of crime) have been around for a while. But they have now been reconsidered by Nicholas Griffin QC and Ky...

    Articles

  • Extremely experienced in public inquiries, Nicholas Griffin QC impresses with his conscientious, imperturbable and authoritative approach; he is a natural leader.

    Overview 

    With his intelligence, integrity, commitment and astute, tactical problem solving, Nicholas Griffin QC is highly sought-after in this field of law. He provides expert advice and advocacy in respect of public inquiries of all types and in relation to other inquisitorial proceedings, including coroners' inquests. He is currently instructed in two major public inquiries and has recently acted as an independent expert witness in another. He advises and appears in the full range of public law matters, often where there is a connection with a criminal law issue, for example in relation to investigatory powers and surveillance law or the protection of Articles 2, 3 and 8 ECHR in the context of special measures or defendant anonymity applications. He is recognised as a true expert in this field. Nicholas holds various senior and minister appointed positions. He is an expert commentator, speaking on the Today Programme and other news broadcasts. He founded and leads the QEB Hollis Whiteman Public Law Group and he is the head of Chambers’ Business and Human Rights Group.

    Experience

    Nicholas’ involvement in the field of public law has included every possible role in all types of public inquiry and inquisitorial proceedings, frequently at the very highest level.

    His experience has included inquiries on the largest scale and public law litigation of the utmost sensitivity and complexity.” He represented defendants in linked cases concerning allegations of UK collusion in rendition and torture in Guantánamo Bay (Al Rawi & Others v Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service, Attorney General, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Home Office). This was an unprecedented case in terms of the combination of scale, sensitivity and complexity. Nicholas had primary responsibility for disclosure for the Government, leading 25 junior barristers. 

    Nicholas was also instructed in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry where he represented a large number of soldiers of all ranks, including several who were alleged unlawfully to have killed demonstrators at a civil rights march in 1972. Instructed by the Treasury Solicitor between 1998 and 2010, it was the longest public inquiry in UK legal history.

    Nicholas is currently representing corporate core participants at the ongoing inquiry into the June 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in London. He is also representing a government department in the ongoing Inquiry into allegations of inappropriate activity by undercover officers and units. Nicholas is also representing the Home Office in the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. 

    He gave evidence at the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry as an independent expert witness; he provided evidence about police investigations into allegations of sexual abuse in care homes and similar institutions on the island.

    He never fails to impress the market with his knowledge, experience and approach; he is justifiably one of the first choices in this field.

    Notable Cases

    Independent Jersey Care Inquiry
    Giving evidence as independent expert witness about police investigations into allegations of sexual abuse in care homes and similar institutions on the island.

    Al Rawi & Others v Security Service, SIS, Attorney General, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Home Office
    The Guantánamo Bay litigation concerning allegations of UK collusion in illegal rendition and torture, acting for the defendants.

    The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry
    Representing chief constable and large number of police officers involved in investigation of Mrs Nelson’s death, in an inquiry considering allegations of state collusion in this terrorist murder.

    The Bloody Sunday Inquiry (1998 - 2010)
    Nicholas Griffin QC represented a large number of soldiers of all ranks - involving allegations of murder.

    Boundary Commission for England / District Electoral Areas Commissioner (Northern Ireland)
    Sitting as Assistant Commissioner on public inquiries concerning the siting of electoral boundaries.

    Reviews 

    Nicholas has been consistently featured in Chambers & Partners and is currently listed in its 2020 edition as an expert in Inquests & Public Inquiries. He is also listed in the Legal 500 2020 as an expert in Inquests and Inquiries. 

    ‘Highly intelligent, outstanding thorough and industrious, with sound judgment and impeccable integrity.’ Legal 500 Inquests and Inquiries (2020)

    ‘Regularly involved in significant public inquiries … His inquiries practice extends beyond England and includes significant instructions in Jersey and Northern Ireland … "He's thorough and able to grapple with complex issues quickly." "He gets to grips with instructions and understands public law on top of his criminal background."’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2020)

    ‘He's very approachable, thorough and knowledgeable. He's always able to tackle the most complex points in a case.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2019)

    ‘He is extremely experienced in public inquiries and provides excellent advice.’ ‘He is practical and conscientious beyond belief. Also, he delivers and is pretty much unflappable.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2018)

    ‘Great intelligence, integrity and commitment. He brings an astute, tactical approach to problems as well as a determination to solve them.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2017)

    ‘He is the best leader of a large team, is an incredibly persuasive advocate and has a great breadth of range in his expertise.’ Chambers UK Inquests & Public Inquiries (2016)

    Recent Cases

    News

    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaking at JUSTICE Human Rights Conference this week

      Nicholas will be speaking on a panel discussing inquests and inquiries alongside other practitioners in this field.The event programme is here, and includes this description of the session: “Inquests and inquiries serve as society&rsquo...

    • Covid-19: A Public Inquiry

      Calls for a public inquiry into the government and state reaction to Covid-19 are mounting. But is there actually a need for an inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and what should it investigate?  QEB Hollis Whiteman's Nicholas Griffin QC

    • Calls for coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore - Nicholas Griffin QC writes for The Times

      Nicholas Griffin QC co-authors with Richard Spafford of Reed Smith LLP in an article for The Times.Together they consider that calls for a coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore; those who have suffered most deserve answers but the shaping and timing ...

    • Inquiry reports on Westminster abuse

      The public inquiry into child sexual abuse published its Report into allegations of abuse linked to Westminster this month. It considers the institutional responses to allegations of abuse and exploitation involving persons of public prominence, such as M...

    • Nicholas Griffin QC to assist "When things go wrong" JUSTICE Review

      Nicholas Griffin QC will assist JUSTICE working group considering the conduct and procedure of inquests, inquiries and other proceedings that may arise in the wake of a disaster.JUSTICE has recently set up a Working Group to consider the issue of “W...

    • Nicholas Griffin QC and Kyan Pucks reconsider Impact Statements for Business

      “Impact Statements for Business”, the corporate equivalent of “Victim Personal Statements” (impact statements made by victims of crime) have been around for a while. But they have now been reconsidered by Nicholas Griffin QC and Ky...

    • Zoe Johnson QC and Nicholas Griffin QC: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

      The Inquiry investigation into “Children Outside the UK” started on 11 February.

    • QEB Hollis Whiteman helps organise Public Inquiries Training Weekend

      Three members of Chambers involved with annual Inner Temple training session at Cumberland Lodge.

    • Nicholas Griffin QC comments on The Supreme Court judgment on Diplomatic Immunity in Trafficking Case

      The Supreme Court handed down judgment in Reyes v Al-Malki & Another (2017) UKSC 61, a decision on diplomatic immunity.

    • Independent Jersey Care Inquiry reports - expert evidence of Nicholas Griffin QC

      The Inquiry was set up to establish what went wrong in Jersey's care system over many years. 

    • Nicholas Griffin QC interviewed on BBC Today Programme

      Nicholas spoke about public inquiries after the decision to hold a public inquiry into the disaster at Grenfell Tower.

    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaks on Modern Slavery Act 2015 at Eversheds' Seminar

      Nicholas Griffin QC explores the implications of the Modern Slavery Act on business one year after the Act’s reporting duty began to take effect.

    • Nicholas Griffin QC speaks at the Covert Policing RIPA 2000 conference

      Nicholas addressed current powers to spy on/access communications between lawyers and their clients.

    Articles

    • Covid-19: A Public Inquiry

      Calls for a public inquiry into the government and state reaction to Covid-19 are mounting. But is there actually a need for an inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and what should it investigate?  QEB Hollis Whiteman's Nicholas Griffin QC

    • Calls for coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore - Nicholas Griffin QC writes for The Times

      Nicholas Griffin QC co-authors with Richard Spafford of Reed Smith LLP in an article for The Times.Together they consider that calls for a coronavirus inquiry will be hard to ignore; those who have suffered most deserve answers but the shaping and timing ...

    • Nicholas Griffin QC and Tom Orpin-Massey comment on key European privacy ruling

      Nicholas and Tom respond to the Court of Justice of the EU's landmark ruling in the joined cases of Sverige AB v Post-och telestyrelsen, and SSHD v Tom Watson and Others.

    • Privacy v Security

      Nicholas Griffin QC considers the CJEU Watson decision on UK surveillance law. 

    • Nicholas Griffin QC has been interviewed by Legal Business as a prominent name in the field of public inquiries.

      He notes that 'Increasingly now you get a group of lawyers who have become inquiries specialists'.

    • DRIPA left out to dry

      Nick Griffin QC comments on the implications that the CJEU decision in the case of MP Tom Watson has for UK surveillance law.

      View Article

    • Public Inquiries: getting at the truth

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Peter Watkin Jones assess the Inquiries Act 2005 ten years on in the Law Society Gazette.

      View Article

    • Abolitionists at the Inn

      Nicholas Griffin QC and Celia Pilkington consider the history of the anti-slavery movement in the Inner Temple Yearbook 2015-2016 on the topic of slavery.

      View Article

    • Access all areas?

      Nicholas Griffin QC, Robert O’Sullivan QC and Gordon Nardell QC consider legal professional privilege in the context of state surveillance - New Law Journal 27 February 2015

      View Article