Aarif is committed to assisting the disadvantaged and those unable to advance their own case.


Aarif, as a former solicitor, has particular expertise and interest in public and administrative law, civil and social rights, equality and discrimination law and international criminal law. As of April 2019, he is available for instructions in each of these areas.

Aarif is committed to assisting the disadvantaged and those unable to advance their own case. Prior to pupillage, Aarif was a practising public law solicitor (domestic and international) and international criminal lawyer. He conducted litigation, advocacy, research, mentoring and investigation work on human rights and international criminal law violations related to a number of countries. He continues to lecture and advise widely on these issues and, in particular, work relating to mass atrocity crimes. He is currently on the roster of candidates for instruction for a number of United Nations bodies.

Aarif graduated from the University of Oxford and the University of Bologna where he obtained a Master's degree in Human Rights. He originally qualified and practiced as a solicitor with the magic circle law firm, Slaughter and May, where he specialised in tax and litigation including public law (judicial review) claims. During his time at Slaughter and May, he was seconded as a Judicial Assistant to Sir John Mummery QC at the Court of Appeal. Aarif subsequently re-trained as a public law and international criminal law specialist. He worked with Public International Law and Policy Group in Bosnia-Herzegovina, United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (UNICTY), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Rights Watch (UK), Democratic Progress Institute, Accountability Unit and UNAIDS.

Aarif’s most recent international criminal law work was with the UNICTY, where he managed witness evidence and drafted decisions, orders and parts of eventual judgments following deliberations with judges in the trial and appeal chambers. With respect to public law, Aarif remains a consultant at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) advising widely on the application of human rights to public policy. He also continues to work (as a co-founder) with the consultancy, Accountability Unit, which advises practitioners on legal redress for gender-related harm in conflict settings, including on issues related to the right to life, sexual violence, discrimination, torture, unlawful detention, and unfair trials. Aarif was recently invited to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Pro Bono Lawyer’s Panel, which provides legal assistance to local practitioners representing British nationals imprisoned overseas.

International law

Aarif is an experienced policy and legal adviser on matters concerning international human rights law and international criminal law. He has a demonstrated history of working in courts, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. Aarif has advised widely on conflict resolution and the legal implications thereof in relation to conflicts in Turkey, Syria, the former Yugoslavia, Libya and others.

Aarif completed a Masters in Human Rights, with distinction, from the University of Bologna in 2013. He has extensive experience in drafting applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), United Nations Special Procedures, United Nations Treaty Bodies and other international courts and panels. He undertook a placement in the Office of the President and the UK division of the ECtHR where he assisted judges in an advisory and drafting capacity in relation to decisions/judgments issued by the Court.

Aarif regularly undertakes advisory and drafting work on international law matters both on a consultancy and pro-bono basis. Examples of Aarif’s international work, either as a member of a court chamber or as a solicitor can be found under the sub heading ‘Notable cases’.

Public law (judicial review)

Aarif has a long-standing interest in all types of public law challenge and has particular transferable expertise in cases involving international human rights law.

Aarif has advised individuals, companies, public interest groups and states in judicial review and civil claims, whether for claimants or respondents. This has included public law cases at Slaughter and May, the Court of Appeal (as a judicial assistant), the European Court of Human Rights, Accountability Unit, Public International Law and Policy Group and Democratic Progress Institute.

Aarif’s public law work has spanned a number of different practice areas: advising on judicial review of HMRC decisions; advising on international arbitration cases concerning public international law; applying for injunctions and disclosure orders; leading a seminar on state expropriation of property under public international law; advising on compliance with international sanctions (Iran, Cuba and Libya); advising on a variety of regulatory matters; advising on the new UK/European financial regulations; and litigating and advising widely on human rights matters in the UK and a number of other countries including issues arising from equality and anti-discrimination law.

Aarif is a former judicial assistant to Sir John Mummery QC at the Court of Appeal and a judicial assistant in the Office of the President and the UK Division of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Examples of decisions which were handed down when he was a judicial assistant (and on which he had substantive involvement) can be found under the sub heading ‘Notable cases’.

Civil and social rights

Aarif has a varied civil and social rights practice advising widely on domestic UK cases and international cases.

Aarif regularly undertakes advisory, drafting and advocacy work on civil and social rights matters. In his varied human rights practice prior to his move to the Bar, Aarif advised on a number of cases relating to both civil and criminal law covering a broad range of human rights law including the right to life, prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, rights to free assembly, association and expression, rights to privacy and family life, and rights to fair trial and legal remedies among others.

Examples of Aarif’s civil and social rights work, either as a member of a court chamber or as a solicitor can be found under the sub heading ‘Notable cases’.

Notable cases

International law

  • Mladić (IT-09-92) “Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Trial Chamber I, ICTY – Prosecution of Ratko Mladic, the wartime military commander of the Bosnian Serbs, for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. (Work involved substantive and procedural issues).
  • Prlić et al. (IT-04-74) “Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Appeals Chamber, ICTY – Prosecution of members of the Croatian Defence Council for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Work involved procedural issues).
  • Stanišić & Župljanin (IT-08-91) “Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Appeals Chamber, ICTY – Prosecution of members of the state security services of Serbia for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Work involved procedural issues).
  • Chiragov and others v Armenia (13216/05), Grand Chamber, European Court of Human Rights – Case regarding the rights to property (Article 1, Protocol 1) and rights to private and family life (Article 8) of Azeri nationals who were forcibly displaced from their home territory in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of former Soviet Azerbaijan.
  • Kaytan v Turkey (27422/05), European Court of Human Rights – Case concerning complaint that the applicant’s life sentence had no possibility of a review.
  • Tunc v Turkey (24014/05), European Court of Human Rights – Case that alleged effectiveness of investigation by respondent state into death was impaired on account of a lack of independence of the court upholding a decision to discontinue the proceedings.
  • Cerf v Turkey (12938/07), European Court of Human Rights – Case against respondent state for failure to investigate the murder of an activist suspected to have been carried out by state agents.
  • Yoyler and others v Turkey (10783/07) – Case concerning complaint that  proceedings before the national courts had not been concluded within a reasonable time and that there was no effective remedy under Turkish law.
  • Zelal Ozgokce v Turkey (29779/09) – Case concerns the alleged unfairness of the criminal proceedings due to the systemic restriction imposed on the applicant’s right of access to a lawyer during the pre-trial stage (communicated – pending).
  • Canpolat (3) v Turkey (26944/08) – Case concerning educational committees of certain prisons deciding not to allow the applicants to receive certain editions of miscellaneous periodicals and/or other publications (some of which were in the Kurdish language) on various different grounds.

Public law

Civil and social rights

  • O’Neill and Lauchlan v. the United Kingdom (nos. 41516/10 and 75702/13), European Court of Human Rights – Case concerning complaint about the excessive length of criminal proceedings brought against the applicants.
  • The Hospital Medical Group v Colin Westwood [2012] EWCA Civ 1005 – Challenge against a decision that the respondent was a “worker” for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996 s.230(3)(b).
  • Supervising and undertaking research on public international law, minority rights, gender and equality law, SGBV and applying that research in litigation and advocacy submissions.
  • Counselling and advising on issues relating to UK law enforcement authorities’ violations of human rights of individuals.
  • Advising, as a consultant, on how to conduct strategic litigation to advance the issue of constitutional reform in Bosnia and counselling litigants challenging discriminatory laws before the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and ultimately the ECtHR.


  • Member, Advisory Group, American Bar Association’s International Criminal Justice Standards (ICJ Standards) initiative;
  • Expert, Justice Rapid Response (JRR), International Criminal Law Justice Experts Roster & JRR-UN Women SGBV Justice Experts Roster;
  • Founding Member and Consultant, pro bono, Accountability Unit;
  • Faculty Member, Sir Geoffrey Nice Foundation;
  • Rostered for instructions, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals;
  • Rostered for instructions, UNAIDS and UNAIDS Technical Support Mechanism;
  • Member, Bar Human Rights Committee;
  • Member, Law Society of England and Wales as a former Qualified Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales (since 2011);
  • Member, Human Rights Lawyers Association; and
  • Member, Administrative Law Bar Association.


Related news


Sign up to our mailing list

Our mailing list is dedicated to professionals with an interest in our work.

Sign up