Professor Nicole Barrett

Nicole Barrett, B.A. (Stanford University); M.I.A., cum laude (School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University); J.D., cum laude (Columbia Law School, Columbia University) is Executive Director of the Allard Prize Initiatives and Director of the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic at Allard School of Law. She was previously a Trial Lawyer and a Legal Officer for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague and a Senior Scholar in Residence at New York University Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, where she directed clinical projects with international criminal courts and tribunals. From 2013-2014, Nicole was a member of the National Task Force on the Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada convened by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She has directed major projects on human trafficking prevention for the Canadian government and has presented on human trafficking, international criminal law, human rights and corruption in international fora. Nicole has testified before government ministers and international human rights bodies on gender discrimination and anti-human trafficking laws and practices in many countries.

Before moving to Vancouver in 2009, Nicole served as an international humanitarian law advisor for the defense of several Guantanamo detainees and monitored military commissions in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for Human Rights First. She began practicing law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City in 2003, where she specialized in complex criminal litigation and was a member of the Human Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association. From 2001-2003, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (then U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York) and the Honorable John T. Noonan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Nicole was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar at Columbia Law School and Articles Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. She received an Honors certificate from Columbia University's Harriman Institute for her graduate work on Eastern Europe and human rights. Before law school, Nicole directed programs to promote democratic reform in Eastern Europe for the Soros Foundations in both Prague and New York City.


Melissa McKay is the Junior Supervising Lawyer at the IJHR. She is an international lawyer, specialised in the integration of feminist legal theory and international criminal law as a means of developing stronger accountability measures for sexual violence in conflict and transitioning societies. Before joining the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic, she gained a diverse range of international legal experience, focusing primarily on gender equality and international criminal law. Most recently, she worked in the Office of the Co-Prosecutors at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, following the completion of her LL.M. at New York University. Prior to her LL.M., she gained field experience as a gender equality consultant in Rwanda and the Philippines. She additionally worked at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she focused on the development of strategies for broadening women’s human rights in new democracies through collaborative programming with activists, lawyers, and members of the judiciary. She began her international legal career as an intern in the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where she assisted in drafting the Vojislav Šešelj decision. She completed her articles of clerkship at a civil litigation firm in Ontario, where she appeared on matters before the Ontario Superior Court.

Melissa has also worked on a pro bono basis with the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Global Legal Program, UN Women’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda, Advocates Abroad, and Champion Women. She is a qualified barrister and solicitor in the province of Ontario, and holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from New York University, a J.D. from Queen’s University, and a B.A. (first class honours) in Human Kinetics from St. Francis Xavier University. Melissa speaks English and French fluently, and is proficient in basic Polish.