Michael Mansfield QC

QC, Mansfield Chambers

Michael Mansfield was called to the Bar in 1967 and established Tooks Chambers in 1984, achieving the esteemed Queen’s Counsel title in 1989.

He has represented defendants in criminal trials, appeals and inquiries in some of the most controversial legal cases the country has seen, particularly where issues of Civil Liberty have arisen. Barry George, accused of killing TV presenter Jill Dando; the family of Stephen Lawrence both in the private prosecution for murder and the Public Inquiry and the families of victims at the on-going Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Derry and London. He also chaired an Inquiry into the “Shoot to Kill” policy in the North of Ireland at Cullyhanna.

More recently he has successfully represented, Fatmir Limaj, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague; successfully represented clients in the notable “Ricin” Trial, and “Shaken Baby” Appeals and Nabeel Hussain in the so-called “Fertiliser plot” trial; is acting for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, shot by the Metropolitan Police in 2005 and Mohammed Al Fayed in his pursuit of the truth surrounding the death of his son, Dodi, and Princess Diana in 1997.

Michael has represented many families at inquests, including Tom Hurndall and James Miller, two British journalists killed in the Middle East, the Marchioness Disaster, the Deptford/New Cross Fire; the Lockerbie/Omagh/Dublin Monaghan bombings, and Michael Barrymore.

Michael’s past clients include: Angela Cannings, the acquitted ‘cot death’ mother; Tahira Tabassum, acquitted widow of the first British suicide bomber in Israel; the Orgreave miners who were unjustly accused of riot during the miner’s strike in 1984; the Birmingham Six, who were released in 1991, nearly sixteen years after being wrongly convicted; those in the ABC Official Secrets case and the Operation Julie drugs trial; James Hanratty, hanged in 1962 for murder; ‘spy’ Michael Bettany; Frank Critchlow and the Mangrove; the Bradford 12 and the Newham 7 against the National Front; robbers in the Knightsbridge Heist; Colin Wallace; the ‘Camberwell’, ‘Torso’, ‘Big H’ and M25 murder trials; Judith Ward; Iraqi dissidents fleeing Saddam Hussein; Turkish and Kurdish exiles; Palestinians charged with the Israeli Embassy bombing in London and Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain and Superintendent Ali Dizaei in two Trials and an Appeal.

Michael Mansfield has presented a number of television documentaries and series, including Presumed Guilty for BBC1. He is a regular contributor to television and radio current affairs programmes and has published numerous articles for all the major broadsheets and law journals.

Kirsty Brimelow QC

QC, Doughty Street Chambers

Kirsty practices in criminal law, public international, constitutional, human rights law and international criminal law. She is an experienced advocate and legal advisor before courts and Tribunals around the world.

In 2014, Kirsty successfully judicially reviewed a decision by the DPP that Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain was protected from prosecution for alleged torture by state immunity. She represented Amnesty International before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in its complaint that the data collection programmes Prism, Upstream and Tempora – as revealed by the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden – were in breach of Articles 8, 10 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kirsty has represented the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago and the Chief Justice of Gibraltar and acted for the former President of the Maldives. In 2010 she was appointed by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as Counsel to a Commission of Inquiry into international fraud. In 2012 she was appointed legal advisor to the Constitution Commission of Fiji.

Between 2011 and 2014, she led 6 training delegations of UNICEF’s Child Protection Networks in Nigeria and the National Human Rights Commission in child rights and case management, In 2014 Kirsty submitted proposals to the Home Affairs Committee to combat Female Genital Mutilation. These proposals were adopted and passed into legislation. She continues to advise cross-party peers and is part of the All Parliamentary Group on Human Rights. In 2014 Kirsty led a team of barristers taking witness statements from complainants of sexual violence in Sri Lanka. She presented the report at the UN. Currently Kirsty is working in Colombia facilitating dialogue between a peace community and the government.

Kirsty was a member of the inaugural Times Law Panel from 2007 -2009 (classified as being one of the “Top 100 Lawyers”) and nominated as The Times “Lawyer of the Week”.

Kirsty was twice listed in Management Today’s most influential 35 women under 35 (2003 and 2005). She was appointed a spokesperson for the Bar Council from 1998 – 2008 and remains a regular legal commentator in the media.

Kirsty is Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.

Rt Hon Jack Straw

Former Member of Parliament for Blackburn, former Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Justice

The Rt Hon Jack Straw is former Member of Parliament for Blackburn, having served in senior Cabinet positions in successive Labour governments from 1997 to 2010

Jack Straw is one of the most experienced British and European politicians. His long career including continuous Cabinet-level roles has featured many momentous political and economic decisions in national, European and wider international affairs.

He has a reputation for clear, pragmatic thinking and blunt good sense: the Guardian newspaper has described his policy interventions as “independent and searching”.

After a prominent radical role in national student politics in the 1960s he worked as a barrister, spent three years as adviser to two Cabinet Ministers (Barbara Castle and Peter Shore), and then worked on Granada TV’s flagship WORLD IN ACTION programme. He was a London borough councillor and deputy leader of the Inner London Education Authority.

He first entered Parliament as a Labour MP representing Blackburn in 1979 and had a number of Shadow Cabinet roles. After the Labour Party’s 1997 election victory he served as Home Secretary before becoming Foreign Secretary in 2001 and then Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal in 2006. He finally served as Lord High Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from 2007 until 2010.

Now again in Opposition, Jack Straw is a powerful and influential voice in British politics on a wide range of economic and foreign policy issues. He has been outspoken on strategic European questions including prospects for the Eurozone, car insurance sector reform and ‘multi-culturalism’ (his Blackburn constituency has a sizeable Muslim community).

Often criticized for his firm approach to civil liberties questions concerning suspected terrorists and his high-profile role in supporting the Iraq intervention, Jack Straw remains a popular figure in the UK and Europe, not least for his deft self-deprecating humour: as Home Secretary he joked that his large department was “full of civil servants working diligently on projects that might ruin my career”.

Matthew Parris

Journalist, broadcaster and former MP

Matthew Parris is one of the UK’s most highly respected journalists. From academia to politics, to print, TV and radio journalism, his interests are far-reaching and his analytical thinking is motivational, entertaining and educational.

Born in Johannesburg, Matthew Parris was educated in Britain, South Africa and the US, graduating from Clare College, Cambridge before going on to study International Relations at Yale.

Two years at the Foreign Office were followed by a spell at the Conservative Research Department. After a period in Margaret Thatcher’s office, Matthew was elected MP for West Derbyshire in the 1979 General Election. He gave up his seat in 1986 for a media career when he was offered the role of presenter of LWT’s political interview programme, ‘Weekend World’. Following this, he was the parliamentary sketch writer for The Times from 1988 to 2001.

Matthew is a frequent contributor to many other publications including The Spectator and has been named ‘Columnist of the Year’ at the British Press Awards on numerous occasions. He is also a frequent television and radio broadcaster.

Axel Threlfall

Editor at Large, Reuters

Axel Threlfall is Editor at Large for Reuters, based in London. He was previously Lead Anchor for Reuters Television and also hosts Newsmakers and other high-level special events for Reuters, such as the World Economic Forum morning news show in Davos.

Prior to joining Reuters, he spent four years as one of CNBC’s main presenters in London. Before that, he was a news reporter and editor with The Wall Street Journal in New York and Bloomberg in London. He has also advised businesses and NGOs on their dealings with the international media. Axel is frequently asked to moderate events for international organisations, including the United Nations and the OECD. He has a BA in History from Durham University and a postgraduate degree in journalism from City University, London.