Lionel Blackman

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Lionel Blackman is an English solicitor advocate and senior partner of a criminal litigation practice.[1][2] He has an interest in human rights, and is the current chairman of the Solicitors' International Human Rights Group (SIHRG), a group he co-founded in 2005.[3][4]


Blackman qualified as a lawyer in 1986, opening his own criminal defence practice three years later.[2] He was among the first solicitors, along with Sir David Napley, to take part in higher court advocacy after the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 was passed.[5] In 1999 he was the second solicitor, after Laurence Collins of Herbert Smith LLP who represented the Chilean government against Pinochet in 1998, to appear and the first to lead and win a case in the House of Lords.[6] He has been lead defence counsel in several homicide trials at the Old Bailey and elsewhere.

In December 2009 he defended Paul Clarke who was charged after handing in to the police a shotgun he found in his garden. Clarke was found guilty because strict liability applies to possession of a gun, intention is not important. Clarke received a twelve-month suspended sentence. The case was covered by the media because of the controversy over the inflexibility of the law on illegal gun possession.[7][8]

In October 2012 he successfully defended Kai Taliana at the Central Criminal Court against a murder charge and his firm issued a press release drawing attention to failures in the investigation and expertise involved.[9]

In December 2012 Mr Blackman successfully defended Daniel Janik who was accused of murdering his friend Przemek Lepkowski in May 2012 in Tooting. The case was a rare instance of sudden and unexpected death from "vagal nerve inhibition combined with intoxication" following an incident of mutual squeezing of necks.[10]

He is the elected chairman of the Solicitors International Human Rights Group 2009 - 2015.[11]

He has an interest in human rights, co-founding the Solicitors' International Human Rights Group in 2005. He was part of a group of delegates who were commissioned by "Justice for Colombia" to visit Colombia in 2006 to write a report on how law in that country compared with international law.[12] He was one of over 200 groups or individuals who endorsed an open letter sent to EU Foreign Minister Baroness Ashton by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.[13] When he was vice-chair in 2007, SIHRG was part of a joint statement, along with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Bar Human Rights Committee, expressing concern about reports of poor treatment of solicitors in Zimbabwe who took part in a march to deliver a petition regarding the arrest of two lawyers.[14] He was part of a group who in February 2010 visited Syed Mustafa Kamal, mayor of Karachi in Pakistan.[15]

In October 2010 he submitted to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Legality of the War in Iraq a submission on the lack of an humanitarian justification for the intervention[16] alongside other legal submissions from the Solicitors International Human Rights Group.[17]

He visited Syria in February 2011 as a member of a delegation sent by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network to observe disbarment proceedings convened by the State controlled Bar of Aleppo against leading human rights lawyers in the region.[18]

In November 2012 he published a trial observation report on the politically controversial trial of opposition figure Vladimir Kozlov that took place in Aktau, Kazakhstan between August and October 2012.[19]

In July 2015 his report on the trial of Egyptian civil society activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah was published ("the face of the Tahir Square revolution")[20]

In March 2016 his report on the trial of two Myanmar migrant workers accused of the murders of David Miller and Hannah Witheridge on the Thailand island of Koh Tao was issued. Several recommendations were made for improvements to the Thailand criminal justice system.[21]

Lionel Blackman is a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University in Criminal Litigation at Masters level and lectures internationally on various aspects of the English legal system and the use of high technology in criminal trials.[22][23]

Political activities[edit]

In 2005 Blackman was elected as a councillor in the ward of Woodcote, in Epsom and Ewell, representing the Liberal Democrats.[24] He stood down in 2009.

At the 2010 general election he stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Esher and Walton constituency in Surrey. This is a safe seat for the Conservative Party, and Blackman came a distant second.[25]

Blackman stood as an independent candidate for the Epsom and Ewell constituency in Surrey in the 2015 General Election. [26] His candidature drew attention to comments from the incumbent MP, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who stated that he wants to "scrap the Human Rights Act." [27] This became a promised commitment in the Conservative Manifesto for the 2015 General Election.[28] As a result, Blackman explained in an article for the Solicitor's Journal, he felt compelled to stand against the Lord Chancellor as an independent candidate.[29]


  1. ^ "Doughty Street Chambers".
  2. ^ a b "Lionel Blackman (Lionel Blackman Solicitors)". Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  3. ^ "Front and inside front covers.pmd - Powered by Google Docs". Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  4. ^ "Solicitors International Human Rights Group".
  5. ^ "Criminal Legal Aid Cuts Examined" - LegalAction Archived 2012-03-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Sole practitioner scores first in House of Lords" - The Lawyer
  7. ^ "U.K. Ex-Soldier Faces 5 Years in Jail for Turning in Discarded Gun" - Fox News Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ ""Shotgun man faces years in jail" - Channel 4 News".
  9. ^ "Teenagers cleared of murder of Vitalijs Janovics in Bermondsey".
  10. ^ "Hospital worker cleared of killing his friend". Your Local Guardian.
  11. ^ "Solicitors International Human Rights Group".
  12. ^ "Lawyers' Delegation to Colombia" - Rule of Law Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Open Letter to EU Foreign Minister Baroness Ashton" - Stop the Wall Archived 2010-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Joint Statement on Recent Events in the Republic of Zimbabwe" - CLA Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "News Details". Retrieved 2010-03-27.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ ""Iraq Inquiry Digest"".
  17. ^ "Iraq Inquiry Submission - Solicitors International Human Rights Group".
  18. ^ "EMHRN". Archived from the original on 2014-03-28.
  19. ^ "Kazakhstan Bureau for Human Rights". Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  20. ^ "EuroMed Rights Egypt no fair tial for Alaa Abd El Fattah".
  21. ^ "SIHRG Koh Tao murders trial report".
  22. ^ ""Proof and Evidence Conference" - University of Cambridge" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Lionel Blackman - Lionel Blackman Solicitors".
  24. ^ "Lionel Blackman wins Woodcote Ward By-election (Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats)". Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  25. ^ "Esher and Walton: Constituency". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
  26. ^ "GENERAL ELECTION 2015: Independent candidate standing for election "to save the world from Chris Grayling's human rights regression"". Epsom Guardian. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  27. ^ "The Conservatives' plan to scrap the Human Rights Act will be applauded by dictators around the world". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  28. ^ "Fighting crime and standing up for victims" (PDF). The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  29. ^ "Independent menace". The Solicitor's Journal. Retrieved 2015-04-30.

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