Geoffrey Bindman

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Professor Sir Geoffrey Lionel Bindman QC (born 3 January 1933)[1] is a British solicitor specialising in human rights law, and founder of the human rights law firm Bindmans LLP, described by The Times as "never far from the headlines." He has been Chair[2] of the British Institute of Human Rights since 2005.[3] He won The Law Society Gazette Centenary Award for Human Rights in 2003,[4] and was knighted in 2006 for services to human rights.[5] In 2011 he was appointed Queen's Counsel.[6]

Family and early professional life[edit]

Bindman was born and brought up in Gateshead to a family descended from Jewish immigrants.[3] His father Gerald was a GP. Bindman attended the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, and then graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, with a law degree in 1956, qualifying as a solicitor three years later. He became a legal advisor to the Race Relations Board in 1966, a job he retained for seventeen years.[1][3] He also served as a legal advisor to Amnesty International[4] and represented satirical magazine Private Eye.[7] In the late 1980s, Bindman visited South Africa as part of an International Commission of Jurists delegation sent to investigate apartheid[8] and subsequently became editor of a book on the topic, South Africa and the Rule of Law.[9]

Bindmans LLP[edit]

In 1974, Bindman established Bindmans LLP as a firm with the aim of "protecting the rights and freedoms of ordinary people."[10] Since then, he has personally acted as lawyer for numerous high-profile people including James Hanratty,[11] Keith Vaz[12] and Jack Straw.[13] Bindman also continued his international human rights work, acting as a United Nations observer at the first democratic election in South Africa[14] and representing Amnesty International's interests in the British litigation regarding Augusto Pinochet in the late 1990s.[15]

In 2001, Bindman was fined £12,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for acting despite having a conflict of interest, as well as for breach of confidentiality. It was remarked at the time that he was the "most eminent" lawyer ever to be brought before such a tribunal.[16]

In 2012, Andrew Hopper QC, who was a leading prosecutor before the Tribunal until 2002, reviewed Bindman’s case. He found the main charge was at worst “a ‘bare conflict’ having no adverse consequence” and said the Tribunal's verdict on its seriousness was "incomprehensible". He also suggested the decision to prosecute and the level of the fine were reactions to Bindman’s “robust” defence to the charges against him. Hopper sympathised with the view that Bindman was treated “disproportionately because of his stature in the profession”.[17]

In September 2012, Bindman told BBC Radio 4 he agreed with Desmond Tutu that British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be prosecuted on the basis that starting the Iraq War was a "crime of aggression" in breach of the United Nations Charter.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BINDMAN, Sir Geoffrey (Lionel). Who's Who 2011 (in English). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "BIHR Trustees". United Kingdom: British Institute of Human Rights. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Carmen, Dominic (30 January 2007). "The legal profession used not to be so self-seeking...". The Times (United Kingdom). Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "A War on Terror or a War on Justice?". United Kingdom: London South Bank University. 9 February 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "2007 New Years' Honours List". Cabinet Office Ceremonial Secretariat. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Appointed Queen's Counsel". The Telegraph (United Kingdom). 3 March 2011. p. 28. 
  7. ^ Robins, Jon (13 November 2001). "Forty years old and fighting fit". The Independent (in English) (United Kingdom). Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Milne, Seumas (21 June 1988). "Final knock at the door of Downing Street". The Guardian (United Kingdom). 
  9. ^ Brittain, Victoria (19 August 1988). "Books: third world". The Guardian (United Kingdom). 
  10. ^ "Bindmans: about us". United Kingdom: Bindmans LLP. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Bennetto, Jason (27 January 1997). "I'm dying tomorrow, please clear my name". The Independent (in English) (United Kingdom). p. 8. 
  12. ^ Watson, Roland (17 March 2001). "Lawyer claims human rights were breached". The Times (United Kingdom). 
  13. ^ Wintour, Patrick (4 January 1998). "Named, but not shamed". The Observer (United Kingdom). p. 19. 
  14. ^ "Geoffrey Bindman: Profile". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Bindman, Geoffrey (21 May 2009). "The bigger picture". The Law Gazette (in English) (United Kingdom). Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Mendick, Robert (2 December 2001). "Top Labour lawyer fined over breach". Independent on Sunday. p. 6. 
  17. ^ "Hopper puts the case against “overly aggressive” SRA". Legal Futures. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Desmond Tutu calls for Blair and Bush to be tried over Iraq". BBC.co.uk. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.