‘A Practical Guide to International Crimes in Domestic Proceedings Before UK Courts’ by Kathryn Howarth

Paperback: 978-1-914608-34-6
Publication due: August 2022
Price: TBA


“A Practical Guide to International Crimes in Domestic Proceedings Before UK Courts” will examine how international criminal law and international crimes have been, are, and can be litigated in domestic proceedings before courts in the United Kingdom. It will examine the applicable law and practice in relation to the prosecution of international crimes before the Crown Court in England and Wales and the developing case law in this area from the UK Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

The book will set out the jurisdiction to try international crimes in our domestic courts, focussing on war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture. It will address the substantive law that applies in relation to these crimes, bringing together and summarising the relevant domestic and international legislation, including the International Criminal Court Act 2001, which must be read in conjunction with materials from the International Criminal Court. It will set out and explain the elements of these international crimes, including the contextual elements of these crimes e.g. the elements that make murder as a crime against humanity a crime against humanity, rather than an ordinary domestic homicide. The book will refer to the relevant case law, including the decision of the UK Supreme Court in relation to the interpretation of torture as an international crime under the United Nations Convention against torture (R v TRA [2019] UKSC) as well as case law from the Court of Appeal and examine some of the cases that have proceeded before the Central Criminal Court under section 124 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Geneva Conventions Act 1957.

The book will provide useful practical guidance for a range of practitioners in private practice, in Government, in UK and international NGOs, as well as judges and legal advisers in domestic and international courts and mechanisms. The book will be of benefit both to those prosecuting and defending in this niche and evolving area of the law. It will address various discrete topics which have particular resonance pre-trial and during the trial, including how cases can be referred to the relevant UK prosecuting authorities and disclosure. The book will also consider the relevant legislation and case law in relation to extradition requests to the UK authorities for international crimes.


Kathryn Howarth is a barrister at Temple Garden Chambers. She practices in public international law, including international criminal law, public law and extradition. Her work in the field of international criminal over the last two decades has taken her to The Hague, as well as countries including Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her expertise in international criminal law and extradition is consistently recognised in the Legal 500.

Kathryn is instructed in leading cases involving international crimes, both domestically and internationally. She spent four years in The Hague where she was prosecution counsel during the trial and appellate proceedings in relation to Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In the domestic jurisdiction, she has appeared in cases before the UK Supreme Court (R v TRA [2019] UKSC) and Court of Appeal (R v KL [2014] EWCA 1729) examining torture as an international crime under the s.134 Criminal Justice Act 1988. She has appeared at the Central Criminal Court in cases involving the prosecution of international crimes and at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the High Court in extradition proceedings involving requests in relation to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kathryn also advices Government departments and NGOs in relation to potential prosecutions of international crimes in the UK.