Activist Lawyer

The Activist Lawyer podcast offers a platform for lawyers to share their story and journey into law and activism. Guests will discuss the challenges and highlights of their work as well as important cases, opinions on legal and political matters and will offer advice and tips for anyone interested in pursuing a career in human rights law, public interest law or criminal justice. The Activist Lawyer Podcast is brought to you by the Granite Podcast Studio.

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3 days ago

ūüď£ Episode 82: Harriet Wistrich ūüď£In this week's episode, Sarah is joined by¬†Harriet Wistrich¬†who is the founder and director of the¬†Centre for Women's Justice. Harriet previously worked as a solicitor with renowned civil liberties firm Birnberg Pierce for many years.Harriet talks about her work,¬† primarily focusing on violence against women cases including the case of Emma Humphreys and Sally Challen as well as victims of serial rapist, John Worboys. Harriet‚Äôs new book, Sister in Law provides us with a fantastic in-depth look into Harriet‚Äôs legal career touched on in today‚Äôs recording.Harriet‚Äôs book features as part of the Activist Lawyer Book Club and is available to purchase now!
Harriet is the founder and director of the Centre for Women’s Justice and a solicitor of 25 years experienced who worked for many years with renowned civil liberties firm, Birnberg Peirce Ltd. She is the winner of the Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award 2014, Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2018 for public law and Law Society Gazette personality of the year 2019.  She has acted in many high-profile cases around violence against women including on behalf of women who challenged the police and parole board in the John Worboys case, women deceived in relationships by undercover police officers and on behalf of women appealing murder convictions for killing abusive partners, most recently Sally Challen. She is also founder member of the campaign group, Justice for Women and trustee of the charity, the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize. 
Among her notable cases are:
acting for eight women who brought claims against the metropolitan police arising from being deceived in relationships with undercover police officers ‚Äď recently resulting in an unprecedented apology and substantial compensation payments Dil & Ors v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 2184 (QB) (02 July 2014)
Acting for a vulnerable constituent of former Lib Dem member of parliament, Mike Hancock, who held him to account over sexually inappropriate conduct.
acting for two rape victims of the notorious taxi driver John Woboys, and establishing the precedent at Court of Appeal level whereby the police failure to investigate was held to be a violation of Article 3 ECHR Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis v DSD and NBV and Alio Koraou v Chief Constable of Manchester [2015] EWCA Civ 646.
acting for two women detained at Yarl’s Wood who alleged they were sexually abused by detention centre employees
acting for a victim of sex trafficking who was unlawfully removed to her home country Moldova where she was re-trafficked
acting in inquest proceedings for the father of Eleanor de Freitas who killed herself on the eve of a trial where she was accused of perverting the course of justice by allegedly making a false allegation of rape
acting for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot dead by Metropolitan police in July 2005
acting for a number of men in claims arising from Britain’s complicity in their rendition and torture at Guantanamo Bay.
acting for a number of women in successful appeals against their murder convictions including, Stacey Hyde, Christine Devaney, Diane Butler, Kirsty Scamp and Emma Humphreys

Episode 81: Ciaran Moynagh

Thursday May 16, 2024

Thursday May 16, 2024

Sarah sits down with solicitor Ciaran Moynagh from Phoenix Law in Belfast.¬† Ciaran talks about how he became a lawyer specialising in human rights, equality, family law and specialist criminal defence.¬† Listeners might be familiar with some of Ciaran‚Äôs high-profile cases including Lee v Asher's Bakery Company (the ‚Äėgay cake‚Äô case) as well as his work around advancing same sex marriage and transgender rights in Northern Ireland.¬†
Ciaran Moynagh is an experienced Solicitor Advocate with a diverse caseload that points to his passion for human rights & equality, family & matrimonial law and specialist criminal defence. 
Ciaran is a multi-award-winning solicitor with a reputation for both challenging public bodies and the decisions they make, and also representing the interests of his clients in family courts and criminal trials.
Ciaran acted in the same sex marriage legal challenge known as Petition X and also advised on the legislation ultimately used to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. As part of the Love Equality Consortium he was instrumental in the campaign for equal marriage including talks with NI’s political leaders. 
He represented the couple, Laura Lacole and Eunan O’Kane in the legal challenge which secured the right for couples in Northern Ireland to register humanist marriages. Other successful judicial reviews resulted in greater protection of the privacy of transgender people in the UK and access to fertility treatment for same sex couples.
Ciaran also acts for a number of charities mainly around potential interventions into legal challenges. He was instructed by the AIRE Centre in an immigration case before the European Court of Justice as well as for the Royal College of Midwives in JR 76 which challenged the prosecution of a mother for purchasing abortion pills online.
More recently he has advised and assisted with an application by Mr Lee to the European Court of Human Rights¬†in the internationally debated matter of Lee -v- Asher‚Äôs Bakery, the so-called ‚Äúgay cake‚ÄĚ case.
Ciaran also has a passion for family and matrimonial law and regularly appears before Family Courts at all tiers. He is the Northern Ireland representative of the UK & Ireland LGBT Family Law Institute as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Children Order Panel.  In 2021 he was made a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers as well as being added to the solicitor panel for the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency. In his family work, Ciaran deals with private law contact / residence disputes that include complex issues such as emotional abuse commonly called parent alienation. He also regularly deals with public law family matters that have social services involved due to allegations of abuse, neglect or non-accidental injury.
Ciaran has specialist knowledge and expertise on same sex family’s creation and representation. Ciaran is one of the few lawyers in NI giving expert advice on both domestic and international surrogacy arrangements.
In a criminal context, Ciaran has been a long-standing member of the Belfast duty solicitor scheme. He has particular expertise in cases involving online legal issues, for example, social media harassment, revenge porn and so-called ‚Äėpaedophile hunters‚Äô stings. Ciaran retains a criminal defence caseload exclusively dealing with complex fraud, terrorism and sexual offences providing robust representation right from police station right through to the Crown Court.

Episode 80: Enda McGarrity

Thursday May 02, 2024

Thursday May 02, 2024

Sarah is joined in the studio by solicitor Enda McGarrity who works with law firm P.A. Duffy & Co Solicitors. Enda talks about his work on the UK Covid-19 Inquiry and environmental actions arising because of the ecological disaster occurring in Northern Ireland’s Lough Neagh. 
Enda joined PA Duffy & Company as a paralegal in 2018 having graduated from Queens University Belfast with honours. After completing his apprenticeship with PA Duffy and Company Enda qualified as a solicitor and is now leading the Human Rights and Public law department within the firm.
Enda’s caseload consists of Public Inquiries, Inquests, Judicial review and complex litigation against State agencies including wrongful death claims and environmental actions. He is currently instructed by Northern Ireland Bereaved Families for Justice (NICBFFJ) in the ongoing UK Covid-19 Inquiry which is considered to be the largest public inquiry in UK history. In addition, Enda is instructed by bereaved families in the Republic of Ireland to seek a public inquiry to investigate the State's handling of Covid-19 as well as acting in multiple ongoing wrongful death actions in respect of deaths related to major outbreaks of Covid-19 in nursing homes.
Enda has a passion for helping the most vulnerable people in society to seek justice. His work with bereaved families, the elderly and disabled reflects his commitment to pursuing answers and accountability for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. He also has a keen interest in environmental issues and is instructed by various individuals and groups seeking to address damage caused to the environment by pollution, including cases in relation to the ongoing blue green algae crisis in Lough Neagh.
During his training Enda took part in a 5-week human rights internship in Cape Town, South Africa where he provided legal assistance to refugees and members of the LGBTQI community who were being subjected to discrimination. He continues to carry these values in his current workload and regularly accepts instructions on pro bono cases which have a public interest dimension.
Enda is a keen Gaelic footballer, he has represented County Tyrone at Minor level and continues to play for his club Galbally Pearses GAC. Enda has received an Ulster Colleges All-star award, A Gaelic Life All-star award and was a member of the Elite Athlete Programme at Queens University Belfast. He is also an active member of a charity called St Ciaran’s Peregrini who provide aid to a small town in Zambia and he has visited Zambia on four occasions to assist on various community and education projects. 

Thursday Apr 11, 2024

In this episode Sarah meets Leslie Thomas KC with Garden Court Chambers and Professor of Law at Gresham College.
We discuss some of Leslie’s impressive portfolio of work as a barrister taking on the state on behalf of his clients through inquests and public inquiries representing many bereaved families as a result of police brutality and deaths in custody.
Leslie has expertise across a wide range of civil wrongs, civil litigation and human rights and has worked on the Hillsborough Inquiry, Covid-19 Inquiry as well as representing residents and bereaved family members of the Grenfell Tower fire. ¬†Do Right and Fear No One ‚Äď A life Dedicated to Fighting for Justice is the title of Leslie‚Äôs thoughtful and fascinating book detailing his career and the challenges he faced as a black lawyer starting off his career in 1980‚Äôs London.¬† We have recommended this book as part of our Activist Lawyer Book Club.
Leslie is a leading expert in claims against the police and other public authorities, and claims against corporate bodies, with expertise across the full spectrums of civil wrongs, civil litigation, human rights, data and privacy claims.
He is an expert in all aspects of inquests and public inquiries, having represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been abuse of state or corporate power.
Leslie acts for claimants in judicial review proceedings and other public law proceedings. He regularly acts for clients in the Caribbean region on constitutional law challenges. He has represented claimants in clinical negligence and personal injury claims for the last 20 years. Leslie is ranked in Band 1 in Chambers & Partners and Tier 1 in Legal 500 for Inquests & Public Inquiries and Police Law (Claimant). He is also ranked by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 in Civil Liberties & Human Rights.
Leslie is currently Professor of Law at Gresham College delivering his lecture series
Hard Choices: The Law's Struggle with Ethical Dilemmas

Episode 78: Khaled Quzmar

Thursday Mar 21, 2024

Thursday Mar 21, 2024

As part of our series focusing on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Palestine, Sarah is joined by Khaled Quzmar, human rights lawyer and General Director of Defense for Children International ‚Äď Palestine (DCI-P). ¬†The organisation has been working to promote and protect the human rights of Palestinian children for decades.¬† Khaled talks about the extreme challenges in documenting current violations of international law in respect of children due to the sheer volume of cases as a result of the ongoing aggression on the region by Israeli forces. ¬†¬†
Khaled Quzmar joined DCI- P in 1995 as a lawyer representing Palestinian children in Israeli military courts. He rose through the ranks to become administrative and legal affairs director.  Khaled specializes in issues of juvenile justice and grave violations against children during armed conflict. He earned a Master of Laws degree in international human rights law from the Irish Center for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Episode 77: Liam Herrick

Thursday Mar 14, 2024

Thursday Mar 14, 2024

Today‚Äôs episode features Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Liam Herrick.¬† Liam and Sarah discuss the history of the ICCL and its place in the development of human rights and social justice, not only in Ireland, but globally.¬† They look at the ‚ÄėEnforce‚Äô unit within the ICCL which aims to challenge the ‚Äėtech threat‚Äô posed to democracy and human rights.¬†
Liam Herrick is the Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. Liam was appointed in November 2016. Prior to his appointment, he was the Advisor to President Michael D. Higgins. Liam was Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) between 2007 and 2014. He has also worked as the first Head of Legislation and Policy at the former Irish Human Rights Commission, with the Law Reform Commission and at the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is a former member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the Minister for Justice and Equality’s Strategic Review Group on Penal Policy. Liam is a sought-after commentator and appears regularly before parliamentary committees and in the media.  
Liam says “I have worked in human rights for most of the last 20 years. I believe that fighting for human rights protections in law and in policy can make a real difference to peoples’ lives and to the type of society we live in. “

Friday Mar 08, 2024

To mark International Women‚Äôs Day 2024¬† we are joined by Dr Maebh Harding and Professor Aoife O‚ÄôDonoghue to discuss the network Doing Feminist Legal Work. DFLW connects legal scholars across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain addressing emerging issues of gender and law. This is an exciting and innovative project and you can find out how you can become involved in the network.¬† We also discuss the meaning of adapting a ‚Äėfeminist approach‚Äô to work and to teaching as well as the position of western feminism in the context of the ongoing crisis in Palestine.
Professor Aoife O’Donoghue of Queen’s University Law School, works extensively on projects relating to utopia, feminism and international law and tyranny, in particular taking a law and humanities perspective that incorporates history, literature and theory.  Aoife was co-director of the Northern Ireland Feminist Judgements Project and is co-direct of the Feminist Constitutional Futures Project. 
Dr Maebh Harding works at University College Dublin, Sutherland School of Law.  Dr Harding is Assistant professor in Family and Child Law at UCD and her research combines a critical feminist perspective with empirical, historical and doctrinal rigour to challenge legal regulation of family life.  She takes a particular interest, not only in law and gender but in how family justice systems actually work.  Her work has been widely citied and has significantly impacted policy and practice.

Thursday Feb 29, 2024

Continuing with our series focusing on events unfolding in Palestine we speak to Professor Shane Darcy, Nadeen Yousef and Ramez Hayek from the Irish Centre for Human Rights in the School of Law at University of Galway.
The panel discuss events subsequent to the ICJ ruling on provisional measures in the case of South Africa v. Israel in relation to the Genocide Convention, 1948.  We discuss the action of state parties to the Convention in light of the ruling, the validity of international legal institutions as well as touching on other important legal actions taken on both an international and domestic level in an effort to hold Israel and its allies accountable for their actions and contraventions of international law. 
Professor Shane Darcy is the Deputy Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights in the School of Law at the University of Galway, where he teaches business and human rights, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. He is the author of Judges, Law and War; The Judicial Development of International Humanitarian Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and To Serve the Enemy: Informers, Collaborators and the Laws of Armed Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2019). He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Business and Human Rights Journal, the Irish Yearbook of International Law and Criminal Law Forum.
Nadeen Yousef, a Palestinian human rights advocate, and a full-time LLM student specializing in International Human Rights Law at the University of Galway. She has previously worked as an Advocacy Coordinator at several Palestinian civil society organizations including the Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and the Palestinian Vision. Along her studies, Nadeen is currently working as a Research Assistant for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the OPT, Francesca Albanese. 
Ramez Hayek is a legal researcher from Palestine. He holds a dual-BA degree in International Law & Human Rights from Bard College in New York and Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, as well as an MA degree in Human Rights from Central European University in Vienna. He is currently pursuing an LLM in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law, and Conflict at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway. Professionally, he has worked with several Palestinian and international organizations, including UNICEF, PEN America, Amnesty International, the Swedish Development Aid Organization, etc. He is currently a member of the research team helping Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, with her upcoming thematic report, focusing on the question of genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Episode 74: Maryam

Thursday Feb 22, 2024

Thursday Feb 22, 2024

This episode of Activist Lawyer sheds light on the horrific circumstances facing women in Afghanistan. As we approach International Women’s Day, we ask everyone to listen to this episode where our guest Maryam, explains what is happening in Afghanistan since the Taliban enforced their oppressive regime in August 2021. Maryam discusses education, employment, mental health and women in law. Afghan women and girls face a truly harrowing future if the international community does not act urgently and intervene. 
Maryam is an activist lawyer and mental health advocate for women in Afghanistan.
*Mistake in recording: Sarah notes the Taliban regime ran between 1996 and 2021¬†‚Äď it should be 2001

Episode 73: Cristina Stamatescu

Thursday Feb 08, 2024

Thursday Feb 08, 2024

Sarah is joined by Dublin based solicitor Cristina Stamatescu to talk about her unique journey to becoming a human rights practitioner. Cristina discusses the importance of balancing her day-to-day role as managing solicitor with networking, pro-bono work and opportunities to develop and learn more about the law and making change happen outside of the office!

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