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Melanie Jacques

Chartered legal executive

Melanie Jacques is a chartered legal executive in the human rights department.

Melanie Jacques is a Chartered Legal Executive specialising in international human rights claims, with a particular focus on claims arising out of war and armed conflict.

Since 2012, Melanie has assisted Sapna Malik on a number of high-profile actions against the British government, including:

  • The case of an Afghan man who was detained by British troops in 2010 and held by them without charge and without access to a lawyer for 110 days, before being handed over to the Afghan Security Services, whom he alleges brutally tortured him. On 17 January 2017, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had a duty, under Article 5(4) of the European Convention of Human Rights to provide adequate procedural safeguards to detainees at all times, as also required by international humanitarian law, during the conflict in Afghanistan in order to prevent the detention of prisoners becoming arbitrary.

  • Claims on behalf of Iraqi and Afghan citizens against the British Ministry of Defence for their alleged unlawful detention and/or mistreatment by British Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • A case against the UK security Services on behalf of a former Libyan dissident and his pregnant wife, illegally rendered to Gaddafi’s Libya in 2004. The Defendants had sought to strike out the claims on the grounds of Foreign Act of State and State Immunity. However, in a landmark judgment on 17 January 2017, the Supreme Court unanimously the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the Defendants’ appeal and held that the claims must be allowed to proceed in the English courts. 

Melanie has worked on several environmental claims, including a large group claim on behalf of around 30,000 nationals of Cote d’Ivoire against the oil trading company, Trafigura, and a group action against Shell on behalf of a fishing community in the Niger Delta who suffered the environmental and economic impacts of two substantial oil spills in 2008.

Melanie has a PhD in international humanitarian law. Her thesis, “Armed conflict and displacement: the protection of refugees and displaced persons under international humanitarian law” was published as a monograph by Cambridge University Press in 2012. Prior to joining Leigh Day, Melanie was a visiting research fellow and teaching associate at Queen Mary, University of London, where she taught public international law and international law of armed conflict.