His criminal defence litigation in the 1990s contributed to the greater protection of the rights of people detained under terrorism provisions. Having forged his reputation in fighting miscarriages of justice in cases including The Ballymurphy 7 and the Beechmount 5, he went on to co-found Kevin R Winters and Co in 2001 which in time has become the largest criminal law and human rights practice in Ireland.
The practice changed its name to KRW LAW LLP in 2012 and in each year of the past decade the firm as Kevin R Winters & Co and subsequently KRW Law has been included the widely regarded global Chambers and Partners Law Directory. This is an affirmation of both the status and reputation of Kevin personally, and of the practice as one of the leading firms of defence practitioners in the country.
Kevin has also been at the cutting edge of niche criminal appeal work and has been regularly instructed in high profile appeal cases including Hazel Stewart (double murder appeal proceedings), Karen Walsh (appeal against murder conviction) and historic miscarriage of justice cases including John Boyle (miscarriage conviction for murder), Terry Laverty (40 year conviction arising out of Ballymurphy Massacre 1971 resulting in the British army killing of his brother in 1972 overturned in 2015), James Martin and Others (1991 convictions overturned following revelations about use of state agents), and Angeline Mitchell (achieving a retrial on a murder conviction).
A new political climate in the jurisdiction following the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998 has brought new challenges resulting in the deployment of Kevin’s skills set to a wider range of human rights issues. Not the least of which has been Conflict related Legacy litigation on behalf of the families of the victims and the survivors from across the community including former members of the security forces. The KRW LAW LLP Legacy Litigation Department is unique in this respect and its work on behalf of victims of survivors is informing engagement with other post-conflict transitional justice jurisdictions.
In particular this form of litigation being undertaken by Kevin and his colleagues challenges the failures of the British government to discharge its obligations following breaches of the right to life during the Conflict. Kevin has pioneered the use of bespoke Conflict related Legacy litigation strategies to address the ongoing truth recovery deficit for many bereaved families across the religious and political divide and to call the British government to account for its failure to undertake independent investigations into the human rights violations suffered during the conflict. The range and breadth of instructions is testimony to his status as a leading advocate of an apolitical approach to what remains a serious human rights deficiency.
In addition to judicial review applications, Kevin is using civil litigation against state agencies to secure the discovery of information for clients and findings of tortious liability on the part of those agents of state responsible for causing or failing to prevent human rights violations throughout the Conflict.
Evidence of the impact of this approach is the instruction received recently on behalf of the families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings in 1974. This has resulted in a process to resume the inquests into the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 with the support of the Birmingham Six; similarly the families of the victims in the Republic of Ireland, including the family of Seamus Ludlow and the victims of the Dublin Monaghan Bombings 1974 have sought his advice in the absence of the Irish government being able to provide satisfactory answers to their questions.
Kevin is a visiting speaker at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) of Queen’s University Belfast, focusing on the management of a legal aid practice in fiscally straightened times; he is regularly requested to address human rights forum including in the USA having been nominated by the New York Senate for his contribution to human rights work and more recently finds time from his busy schedule to assist as a legal advisor to the makers of BBC television drama series The Fall.