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Head of Doughty Street Chamberss, London
Visiting Professor, Birkbeck College
Geoffrey Robertson QC is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers. He serves (part-time) as an Appeals judge of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone.
He has argued many landmark cases in media, constitutional and criminal law in the European Court of Human Rights, the House of Lords, the Privy Council and Commonwealth courts. He has recently appeared in the Court of Final Appeal for Hong Kong, the Supreme Court of Malaysia, the Fiji Court of Appeal, the High Court of Australia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
He has appeared before Old Bailey juries in some of the most celebrated trials including Oz, Gay News, The ABC Trial, "The Romans in Britain", the Brighton bombing, and at Appellate level in leading cases on abuse of process and identification and expert evidence. He led for the Defence in the Matrix Churchill trial and for The Guardian in the Hamilton / Greer libel action, and at appellate level in Re F (the first case to define "terrorism") and Jameel v Wall Street Journal, where the House of Lords endorsed a public interest defence for investigative journalism. In 2007 he conducted the groundbreaking indigenous rights case which stopped the National History Museum from experimenting on aboriginal skulls. At the European Court, Geoffrey Robertson argued Goodwin v UK (which established the right of journalists to protect their sources); Bowman v UK, which forced changes to election law, and the Hauschildt case - the court's first finding against Denmark. In the ICTY he represented Washington Post reporter Jonathan Randall in the case that established testamentary privilege for war correspondents. As a UN Appeal judge he has delivered internationally important decisions on the illegality of conscripting child soldiers and the invalidity of amnesties for war crimes.
He has conducted a number of missions on behalf of Amnesty International to South Africa and Vietnam, and led the 1992 Bar Council / Law Society Human Rights mission to Malawi. In 1990 he served as counsel to the Royal Commission investigating traffick in arms and mercenaries to the Columbian drugs cartels. He was made a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1997.
He is the author of Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice (3rd edition, 2006); Media Law (with Andrew Nicol QC, 5th edition, 2007); Freedom, the Individual and the Law (8th edition, 1993); and a memoir, The Justice Game (1999). His latest book, The Tyrannicide Brief, tells the dramatic story of how Cromwell's lawyers challenged the monarchy. It won a "Silver Gavel" award from the American Bar Association for its literary and educational excellence.
Geoffrey Robertson's other published works include Reluctant Judas (1976), Obscenity (1979), People Against the Press (1983), Does Dracula Have Aids? (1989) and Geoffrey Robertson's Hypotheticals. His play, The Trials of Oz, won a BAFTA "Best Play" nomination for 1991, and he was the recipient of a 1993 Freedom of Information Award.
He is a Recorder, a Master of the Middle Temple, Council Member of Justice, Trustee of the Capital Cases Trust and a Visiting Professor in Human Rights Law at Birkbeck College and Queen Mary College, University of London.
Robertson, Geoffrey. 2006. Crimes Against Humanity. New York: The New Press. Ch. 1, pp. 1-40.
Robertson, Geoffrey. 2006. Crimes Against Humanity. New York: The New Press. Ch. 10, pp. 419-467.