Nick has a BA in Law with a Language (French) and a PhD in International Law, both from Kent, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Before returning to Kent in 2010, he taught at Bournemouth University (1998-2009, including 8 years as Head of School) and the University of Exeter (1979-1997, including 2 years as Head of the Law Department). He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and is a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton.
In 2007 Nick gave evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee on the legal implications of the White Paper on ‘The future of the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear deterrent’. In the 1990s he was closely involved in the World Court Project (notably as the author of a legal memorandum entitled ‘The World Court Project on Nuclear Weapons and International Law’) which led to the ICJ's Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons in July 1996.
For many years Nick delivered EU law training for the Government Legal Service, the Financial Conduct Authority and the National Assembly for Wales, and from 1999 to 2008 he was joint editor of the European Human Rights Reports. He is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Human Rights (Routledge).
Nick is collaborating with Kent colleague and internationally acclaimed visual artist Shona Illingworth (School of Music and Fine Art) on a major international project, the Airspace Tribunal, advocating the recognition of a new human right to protect the freedom to exist without physical or psychological threat from above.
Nick practises as a barrister from Doughty Street Chambers, London (https://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/barristers/profile/professor-nick-grief). From April 2014 to October 2016 he was a member of the legal team which represented the Marshall Islands before the International Court of Justice in nuclear disarmament cases against India, Pakistan and the UK. Other notable cases in which he has appeared as counsel include R v Margaret Jones and Paul Milling, Bristol Crown Court, September 2006 (in which the defendants were charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage at RAF Fairford on the eve of the Iraq war), R v Jones and others  UKHL 16 (on whether the crime of aggression was capable of being a crime in domestic law) and A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2)  UKHL 71 (on the admissibility of evidence procured by torture of a third party by foreign agents). He has also been instructed as an expert witness on International law and EU law.