Biography

Sir Nicholas Blake graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge where he read History and the Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1974 and joined Garden Court Chambers.

He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1994, and in that capacity has argued a great many leading cases on immigration, refugee and EU free movement law, and human rights  before the most senior Courts in the United Kingdom in international tribunals in Europe including the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Inter American Court of Human Rights in San Jose Costa Rica, and some Commonwealth courts including the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal and the Court of appeal of Fiji. In 1997 he was appointed one of the first Special Advocates under the UK’s Special Immigration Appeals Act and performed that role in a number of cases from 1998 to 2006.

He was the Chairman of Immigration Lawyers Practitioners Association from 1994 to 1997. He is a member of Administrative Law Bar Association and Justice (the British affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists). He was a founder member and first chair of Matrix Chambers in 2000 and was appointed a Recorder in 2000; a Deputy High Court Judge in 2002 and became a Bencher of the Middle Temple in the same year.

In November 2007 he was appointed to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division He was a nominated judge of the Administrative Court that deals with challenges to decisions of public authorities. Sir Blake was then appointed first President of the newly created Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the United Kingdom Upper Tribunal with effect from 15 February 2010 and served until  October 2013..   

From October 2013 he returned full time to the Queens Bench Division to undertake the full range of work of a High Court judge: criminal trials and appeals, civil actions for damages and other relief, public law cases involving extradition, EU law, human rights, disciplinary proceedings and related work. He has been a participant at many international conferences and seminars on immigration, asylum and free movement law and written extensively on issues of asylum, immigration, and human rights. From January 2014 until May 2017 he represented the judiciary of England and Wales in the International Association of Judges and its regional affiliate the European Association of Judges.

A member of the Franco-British-Irish Judicial Colloque from 2013  to 2017, he then retired from the High Court in October 2017 and returned to Matrix Chambers as a consultant.

In October 2017 he was appointed a part time Judicial Commissioner of the Investigatory Powers Commission (IPCO). Since then he has visited Colombia, Slovenia and Georgia giving advice on criminal and civil justice issues.

Research projects