Nicole Barrett

Director, International Justice and Human Rights Clinic

Instructor (tenure-track)

B.A. (Int’l Relations) Stanford University, M.I.A. (cum laude) and J.D. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), Columbia University

Phone: 604 827 0678
Fax: 604 822 8108
Office Location: Allard Hall room 353


Nicole Barrett is the former Executive Director of the Allard Prize Initiatives, see, and Director of the International Justice and Human Rights Clinic, see at the 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 legal 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 and corruption topics 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 2001-2002, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (then on the Southern District of New York) and from 2002-2003, she clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

Nicole has a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the Articles Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.  She also has a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University, cum laude, and a Bachelor in Arts in International Relations from Stanford University. Before law school, Nicole directed programs to promote democratic reform in Eastern Europe for the Soros Foundations in both Prague and New York City.

Current Professional Activity

Directing One of the World’s Largest Anti-Corruption Prizes


Nicole is the former Executive Director of Allard Prize Initiatives, including a biennial $100,000 CAD prize awarded to leading anti-corruption advocates from around the world. This past year, the Allard Prize for International Integrity was awarded to:

  • John Githongo (Winner) – A prominent Kenyan human rights advocate and journalist who focuses on corruption issues;
  • Raphel Marques de Morais (Winner) A leading Angolan activist and journalist whose work in profiled in the Guardian, New York Times and elsewhere;
  • Sergei Magnitsky (Honourable Mention) – An important Russian whistleblower, now deceased, after whom US legislation is named;
  • Indonesia Corruption Watch (Honourable Mention) – A critical force for policy reform, transparency, and accountability of government in Indonesia.

Clinical Human Rights Lawyering

Nicole is also Director of Allard School of Law's International Justice and Human Rights Clinic.  Highlights of the Clinic’s work over the past two years include:

  • Trial Monitoring in Chad - The Clinic conducted a 10-day trial monitoring mission to N’Djamena, Chad for the mass criminal trial of 24 of former dictator Hissène Habré’s henchmen;
  • Grand Corruption Litigation - The Clinic is working with Transparency International’s Secretariat in Berlin on a case against a former President for grand corruption;
  • Supply Chain Transparency Legislation - The Clinic is proposing a Supply Chain Transparency law for Canada, based on existing US and UK legislation, but adapted for the Canadian context;
  • Report on Ending Impunity for Grand Corruption - This Clinic is preparing a detailed report on prosecuting corruption as an international crime, adding legal specificity to the debate surrounding the proposal for an international anti-corruption court;
  • ICC Sexual Violence Prosecutions - The Clinic researched and drafted thirteen confidential legal briefs for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on ongoing prosecutions;
  • Cambodian Tribunal Appeal Judgement - The Clinic worked for the Supreme Court Chamber of the Cambodian Tribunal (ECCC) on the case of two Khmer Rouge leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan (“Case 002”).

Leading Human Rights Debate

Over the past two years, Nicole has brought numerous leaders in international justice and human rights to give public talks at the Allard School of Law, including:

  • Ben Wizner, American Civil Liberties Union’s Director and Edward Snowden’s Legal Advisor;
  • Allard Prize Winners: Rafael Marques de Morais, John Githongo, Sely Martini for Indonesia Corruption Watch
  • Romeo Dallaire, retired Canadian General (in conjunction with Dean Catherine Dauvergne);
  • Arvind Ganesan, Director of Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch;
  • Mohamed Fahmy, former Al-Jazeera English bureau chief;
  • Alex Neve, Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada;
  • Femke Van Velzen, IF Productions (documentary film on sexual violence in the DRC);
  • Greg Constantine, Nowhere People photojournalist (on statelessness).

Recent Public Presentations

In the past two years, Nicole has presented on human rights and international criminal justice in numerous external venues, including:

  • delivered 2015 opening lecture to Osgoode Law School’s incoming class of over 300, entitled “Human Rights Lawyering”;
  • spoke on accountability for atrocities in Chad at an international justice roundtable, chaired by The Hon. Louise Arbour, at Simon Fraser University;
  • presented at DOXA International Film Festival on the Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay;
  • spoke on the Hissène Habré associates trial the Annual Law and Society conference in Seattle;
  • spoke on panel on sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo following screening of the film, Fighting the Silence;
  • presented at UBC Centennial Speakers Series in Victoria, British Columbia on research that is improving the world. Podcast at