Crimes of Universal Jurisdiction

"'...determined and very hard-working' Jonathan Grimes has experience in universal jurisdiction disputes.”

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

A small number of criminal offences, including certain war crimes and torture, can be prosecuted in the UK even though the alleged criminal acts may have occurred abroad and may not involve the UK - or a UK national - in any way. The principle that enables this is known as universal jurisdiction.

We are one of the few UK law firms with experience of these types of cases. Such cases are rare and require specialist legal advice.

How we can help

  • We can advise both individuals and governments on the risks that certain individuals may face if they travel to the UK. 
  • We also provide representation for those individuals if they find themselves subject to arrest or a criminal prosecution procedure while in the UK.
  • Equally we can advise victims or their representatives who may wish to use universal jurisdiction to bring cases in the UK.

Our approach

Simply understanding the law is not enough. A clear and effective strategy is needed from the outset whether the aim is to prevent or to bring about a case of this kind.

We understand that these cases come with their own unique legal and practical challenges. We use our experience of advising and litigating in this area to provide the best possible advice.

If you would like to discuss how we can assist on universal jurisdiction, please contact one of our specialist lawyers.


The 'very strong' team acts for individuals and corporations in cases concerning driving offences, extradition, sexual offences, fraud and matters with international elements."

Legal 500 UK 2020

A market leading extradition group that is certainly top of the tree."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Superb extradition team regularly handling sensitive and complex extradition matters, often with an international criminal law element."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession


Jonathan Grimes and Rebecca Niblock are both excellent."

Legal 500 UK 2022

They are very good at ensuring their clients get the best service while also being very realistic with them and managing what they can expect. The team acts with finesse and finds every angle on a case."

Chambers UK 2021

One of the standout firms for extradition."

Chambers UK 2020 – A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Crimes of Universal Jurisdiction Insights

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Torture charges dismissed against Agnes Reeves Taylor

Changes proposed by the Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill

International Criminal Court at 21: controversy still remains

Good reason to reconsider the benefit of the doubt accorded to Russia in extradition cases

ICC Crime of Aggression comes into force

Why the International Criminal Court should be supported

Celebrating 20 Years of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Tackling the big issues in International Criminal Justice

International Criminal Law – A Month in Review – April/May 2018

Genocide – Whether there exists an obligation in the UK to extradite or prosecute in such cases

Prosecuting companies for crimes against humanity

Justice and Security - A series on the EU, the UK, and the outlook post-Brexit: blog #3 - Looking at the EAW

Justice and Security - A series on the EU, the UK, and the outlook post-Brexit: blog #2

‘A very important time…in the security landscape of Europe’: director of Europol speaks to the Home Affairs Committee about the organisation’s future

Justice and security: A series on the EU, the UK and the outlook post-Brexit: blog #1

International Criminal Law – A month in review – February 2017

International Criminal Court asked to investigate corporate actors for crimes against humanity linked to Australia’s detention regime

Court Orders South African Government to Revoke ICC Withdrawal Notice

International Criminal Law – A month in review – January 2017

African Union encourages African nations to revoke jurisdiction of International Criminal Court

Could Trump be prosecuted for torture in UK?

Universal jurisdiction and the refugee crisis

International criminal law – a month in review September-October 2016

Brexit means Brexit but what about the European Arrest Warrant?

European Arrest Warrant: EU Court examines deduction of detention periods

Mutual Recognition, Mutual Trust? Detention conditions and deferring an EAW

Evidence Across Borders: The increasing use of mutual legal assistance in transnational investigations

Global Criminality and Mutual Legal Assistance

Considering business with Iran? Proceed with caution

Universal jurisdiction – cases in the UK

An EU view: Lords consider consequences of Human Rights Act repeal

Seeking assurances: House of Lords revisit debate on Extradition

International Criminal Law – A month in review – August 2015

Extradition of Rwandan General halted – why didn’t ‘universal jurisdiction’ apply?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – unless you get extradited to stand trial there

The arrest of General Karake – implications for the exercise of universal jurisdiction

Al-Bashir controversy: has standing of the ICC increased?

Private prosecutions for crimes of Universal Jurisdiction

Should terrorists be tried before the ICC?

Interpol Red Notices and how to deal with them

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