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‘An innovative and progressive set that continues to be instructed in high-profile and often law-defining cases.’Chambers and Partners 2014
Kirsten Sjøvoll

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Kirsten Sjøvoll has been a full member of Matrix since October 2012, following the successful completion of her traineeship. She practices predominately in media, public and international law.

Approximately half of Kirsten’s practice comprises media and information law, although she has a particular interest in cases with both a media and public law component. She is currently instructed as common costs counsel for the claimants in the phone hacking litigation against News Group Newspapers, as well as for individual claimants in cases arising out of Operation Elveden (the payment by newspapers to public officials for information). In addition to phone hacking, Kirsten undertakes a range of defamation, data protection, and privacy related matters and accepts instructions on behalf of both claimants and defendants. Kirsten is also a regular contributor to the Inforrm blog.

Kirsten’s public law practice covers a variety of areas, in particular, human rights, administrative, inquest, immigration, prison, and education law. She is also on the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s list of approved counsel.

Kirsten has experience before a range of courts and tribunals, both led and on her own. Kirsten recently acted as counsel for the family in a complex, three week inquest concerning the death of an individual suffering from alcohol withdrawal. This inquest resulted in the coroner indicating that he would issue two prevention of future death reports aimed at SERCO’s blanket policy of handcuffing detainees, without any risk assessment of the necessity or appropriateness of restraints in light of their ill health, and one to be issued at the national level asking for consideration of whether individuals suffering from alcohol withdrawal can be safely managed in a custodial environment. The Family was also successful in extending the scope of an Article 2 ECHR compliant verdict to cover circumstances where the deceased is not in custody at all times and suffers the “fatal” injury but does not die while in custody.

In addition to media and public law, Kirsten retains a keen interest in public international law. Prior to coming to the Bar, Kirsten worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague, both for the Defence and later as an Associate Legal Officer for the judges of the Appeals Chamber. She maintains a keen interest in all areas of public international law, particularly questions of jurisdiction and prior to the handing down of Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum by the US Supreme Court last year, published an article in the Georgetown Journal of International Law arguing that the Alien Tort Statute in its current form is not fit for purpose and does not extend to cover wrongs committed overseas where there is no jurisdictional link with the United States (a view ultimately shared by the US Supreme Court in Kiobel).

Kirsten completed her undergraduate degree in law from Durham University in 2007, and received an LLM, with distinction, in International Legal Studies, with a Certificate in International Human Rights Law from Georgetown University in 2008. While at Georgetown, Kirsten won the Thomas Bradbury Chetwood, SJ, prize for the most distinguished academic performance leading to a Master of Laws Degree (International Legal Studies) and was awarded prizes for achieving the highest marks in both International Human Rights Law and Contemporary Issues in Human Rights. She is a member of the American Society of International Law and the Bar Council Human Rights Committee.

Kirsten accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

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