7 January 2013 - GEOFFREY ROBERTSON QC

Quote of the day:


"Good, better, best, never let it rest,
until your good is better and your better is best."

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GEOFFREY ROBERTSON QC

Born September 30 1946
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 G'day guys,

Apologies. Have had some major problems with Blog.com. Thus, I'm using a new blog.

Today I am featuring a man I have followed for many years - Geoffrey Robertson QC. So, who is he?  

Geoffrey Ronald Robertson QC is a human rights lawyer, academic, author and broadcaster. He holds dual Australian and British citizenship. Robertson is the founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers.Geoffrey Robertson QC has been counsel in many landmark cases in constitutional, criminal and media law in the courts of Britain and the commonwealth and he makes frequent appearances in the Privy Council and the European Court of Human Rights. His recent cases include: appearing for the Wall Street Journal in Jameel v WSJ, the landmark House of Lords decision which extended a public interest defence for the media in libel actions; representing Tasmanian aborigines in the novel action which stopped the Natural History Museum from experimenting on the remains of their ancestors; defending the Chief Justice of Trinidad at impeachment proceedings; arguing the Court of Appeal case (R v F) which first defined “terrorism” for the purpose of British law; arguing for the right of the public to see royal wills and representing a trust for the education of poor children in litigation in Anguilla over a billion dollar bequest. He has maintained a wide advisory practice and has served part-time as a UN appeal judge at its war crimes court in Sierra Leone. In 2008 the UN Secretary General appointed him as one of the three distinguished jurist members of the UN’s Internal Justice Council.


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Mr Robertson is the author of Crimes against Humanity – The Struggle for Global Justice, published by Penguin and the New Press (USA), now in its third edition; of a memoir, The Justice Game (Vintage), which has sold over 100,000 copies, and of Robertson and Nicol on Media Law (Sweet & Maxwell). He writes and broadcasts regularly on international legal issues and creates Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals for television and for ethics education. His most recent publication is The Tyrannicide Brief, the story of how Cromwell’s lawyers produced the first trial of a Head of State – that of Charles I. It traces the memorable career of John Cooke, the radical barrister and visionary social reformer who had the courage and intellect to devise a way to end the impunity of sovereigns. The book is published by Chatto & Windus in the UK, after Australia (where it rose to second in the non-fiction bestseller list) and is pubished by Anchor Books in the U.S., where it won a “Silver Gavel” Award from the American Bar Association. Mr Robertson has written an extensive introduction to Geoffrey Robertson presents The Levellers – The Putney Debates (Verso, 2007); the foreword to Torture (Human Rights Watch/ Macmillan) and A Question of Zion (Professor Jacqueline Rose/ Melbourne University Press) and is a contributor to Human Rights in the War on Terror (Cambridge University Press). His paper Ending Impunity: How International Criminal Law Can Put Tyrants on Trial has been published in the 2005 Cornell Law Journal (issue 3, Volume 38). In 2006 he chaired a Commission of Inquiry into the United Nation’s internal justice system. A copy is available on this website: see “Recent Articles”.

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Geoffrey Robertson is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers, the UK’s leading human rights practice, which comprises some 80 barristers and 30 staff. He is a Bencher of the Middle Temple; and a Recorder (part-time judge) in London; an executive Member of Justice, and a trustee of the Capital Cases Trust. He is visiting Professor in Human Rights at Queen Mary College, University of London. He lives in London with his wife, author Kathy Lette, and their two children.

 Biography

Born:
30 September 1946; married with two school-age children. British and Australian national.

Education:
Sydney University BA, LLB (Hons); Honorary Doctor of Laws
Oxford University BCL (Rhodes Scholar, 1970)

Professional:
- Admitted as a barrister, Middle Temple, 1973
- Queens Counsel, 1988
- Founder and Head, Doughty Street Chambers, 1990 - present
- Assistant Recorder, 1993; Recorder, 1999 - present
- Master, Middle Temple, 1998 - present
- Appeal Judge, UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2002-2007
- President of Court, December, 2002 - March, 2004
- Distinguished Jurist Member, United Nations Internal Justice Council, 2008-2012

Practice:
Appearance as leading counsel in over 200 reported cases, many in the European Court of Human Rights, the House of Lords, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Privy Council, with appearances in the Courts of Appeal of Singapore, Trinidad, the Eastern Caribbean, Malawi, Florida and appearances in various courts in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius and Malaysia Anguilla, Antigua, in the World Bank Arbitration Court (ICSID) and in the Revolutionary Military Tribunal of Mozambique. These cases have usually involved human rights and relate to international, constitutional and media law.

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Academic:
Visiting professorships at Universities of Warwick and New South Wales; currently visiting professor in human rights law at Queen Mary College, University of London. (Inaugural Lecture, 2004) Media law lectures include Bernard Simons Lecture (1997), Kapila Lecture (1997), Goodman Lecture (1999), World Bank Lecture on media and judiciary (Washington, 2000), Commonwealth Legal Conference (1999, 2003 and 2005), September 11 memorial symposium, University of Connecticut (2004); International Judicial Colloquy, Stanford University (2005), Keynote address at Cornell Law School symposium, “Milosevic and Saddam on Trial” (February, 2005) published in Cornell Law Journal (Issue 3, Volume 5), "Nuremburg : The legend and the legacy", Jackson Centre / Fridonia University, New York. HIs lecture on Human Rights Fact-Finding: Some Legal and Ethical Dilemmas (2010) is publishedf by the International Bar Association.

Books:
- The Case of The Pope:  Vatican Acountability for Human Rights Abuses, (Penguin 2010)
- The Statute of Liberty: How Australians can take back their rights (Vintage, 2009)
- Media Law (first published 1984; 5th Edition, Penguin, 2002 Sweet & Maxwell 2007, Penguin 2008)
 - Crimes Against Humanity - The Struggle for Global Justice (Allen Lane, 1999; US edition, New Press, 2000; 3rd edition 2006; published in six foreign language editions)
- The Justice Game (Chatto 1999, Vintage paperback, over 100,000 copies sold)
- Freedom, the Individual and the Law (Penguin 1989;1993)
- People Against the Press (Quartet, 1983, a Report of a committee on the investigation of public complaints against newspapers)
- Obscenity (Wiedenfeld, 1979: analysis of standards of taste and decency in the media)
- Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals
- More Geoffrey Robertson Hypotheticals
- Does Dracula Have AIDS? (three books published between 1985 and 1990 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, containing transcripts of television programs)
- The Tyrannicide Brief (Chatto, 2005), Vintage paperback, 2006
- Geoffrey Robertson presents – The Levellers (Verso, 2007)
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NGO’s:
- Executive Member of JUSTICE
- Director, Institute of Contemporary Art (1989-97)
- Trustee, Capital Cases Trust; Bianca Jagger Foundation

Appointments:
- Consultant to Australian Government on defamation law reform, 1984
- Led human rights missions for Amnesty International to South Africa (1983, 1986, 1988), Vietnam (1989) and for Jan Hus Foundation to Czechoslovakia (1984, 1987). - Led British Bar and Law Society mission to Malawi (1990).
- Retained by Commonwealth Secretariat to draft new constitution for Seychelles (1989)
- Appointed by President of Antigua as Counsel assisting Royal Commission into gun-running to Medallin Drugs Cartel (1990); in consequence called to assist the U.S. Senate enquiry into illegal traffic in conventional weapons (1991)
- Retained by Government of Malawi to advise on prosecution of Hastings Banda and others, and to lead for Crown in Malawi Court of Appeal (1996-7)
- Appointed by Government of Trinidad to draft green paper on Reform of Media Law (1998)
- Appointed by Government of Mauritius to draft new media laws (1999, 2010)
- Appointed as counsel to lord Mackay of Clashfern, Inquiry into the Commission into the Administration of Justice, Trinidad and Tobago (2000)
- Appeal Judge, UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-2007)
- United Nations Internal Justice Council (2008-present)

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Media:
Writer and presenter, ‘Tree of Liberty’ (Granada, 1981); chairman, ‘You the Jury’ (BBC Radio 4, 1982-7); presenter of many ‘Hypotheticals’ for programs Granada, BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation; CBS and TV New Zealand; Presenter of “The World this Week” (Channel 4, 1987); writer and narrator of several television and radio documentaries for BBC and of 44 Days (ABC Television, 1992)

In recent years, clients represented in court include: Julia Assange (extradition) the Chief Justice of Trinidad (impeachment proceedings); CBS “Sixty Minutes” (police demand for evidence); Rockstar (attempt to ban Manhunt II); Wang Yam (Old Bailey murder trial); Dow Jones (The Wall Street Journal v Jameel libel action); The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (against the Natural History Museum); The Sunday Telegraph (the Gaddafi libel action), Forbes Magazine (the Berezovsky libel actions), the New York Times, Time and Fortune Magazines and Barrons magazine. Since 1986, Commonwealth counsel for Dow Jones Inc. representing the European and Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia and UK. Significant cases include Jameel v Wall Street Journal (public interest defence to libel), Gutnik v Dow Jones (jurisdiction over internet defamation) ex parte Randall (Washington Post: war reporter’s privilege) Goodwin v UK (European Court upholds right of journalists to protect sources), Bowman v UK (European Court requires liberalising of UK election law restrictions on media), Gay News (Blasphemy), National Theatre (Romans in Britain Prosecution), Salman Rushdie (Sedition), Shayler (House of Lords decision on official secrets), Represented ITV at Hutton enquiry.
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In 1992 received a BAFTA award nomination for play ‘The Trials of Oz’ (BBC2, “Performance” series) and in 1993 a ‘Freedom of Information’ award for writing and broadcasting. Delivered the Grierson lecture on perceptions of reality in film and television (1987). Devised the National Film Theatre season ‘Court on Screen’ (October 2000). Various lectures for Royal Television Society and at Edinburgh Television Festival.


Now, you may wish to see Geoffrey Robertson interviewed about Julian Assange:
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Clancy's comment:  What an amazing scholar, character, jurist and humanitarian. Sitting beside my bed is one of his books: 'The Case Against The Pope'. It is an amazing insight into the Catholic church, and portrays the legal mind of an extraordinary barrister.

I'm ... 

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