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Michael Mansfield

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Michael Mansfield
Born (1941-10-12) 12 October 1941 (age 82)
EducationUniversity of Keele
Occupation(s)Barrister, legal scholar
Organisation(s)Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Nexus Chambers
Known forRepresenting:
Spouse(s)Melian Bordes (divorced)
Yvette Vanson (divorced)
Yvette Greenway

Michael Mansfield KC (born 12 October 1941) is an English barrister and head of chambers at Nexus Chambers.[1] He was recently described as "The king of human rights work" by The Legal 500 and as a leading Silk in civil liberties and human rights (including actions against the police).

A British republican,[2] vegetarian, socialist[3] and self-described "radical lawyer",[4] he has participated in prominent and controversial court cases and inquests involving accused IRA bombers, the Birmingham Six, Bloody Sunday massacre, the Hillsborough disaster and the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes and Princess Diana[5] and the McLibel case.

Early life[edit]

Mansfield grew up in north Finchley, North London, and attended Holmewood Preparatory School (Woodside Park) before going to Highgate School and the University of Keele, where he graduated with a BA (Hons) in history and philosophy, and was Secretary of Keele's Students' Union.[citation needed]


Mansfield was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1967, became Queen's Counsel in 1989 and was elected as a Bencher of Gray's Inn in 2007.

He is currently the president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. Mansfield is an after-dinner and keynote speaker.[6]

Notable cases[edit]

Mansfield gives the first Gerry Conlon Memorial Lecture at St Mary's University College, Belfast, in January 2015

As well as representing those wrongly convicted of the IRA's Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings, Mansfield has represented: the Angry Brigade; Dolours and Marian Price; Brian Keenan; the Orgreave miners; Mahmood Hussein Mattan, Ruth Ellis and James Hanratty (in posthumous appeals); those involved in the Israeli Embassy bombing; Frank Crichlow, owner of the Mangrove restaurant; Stephen Lawrence's family; Michael Barrymore at the Stuart Lubbock inquest; Barry George both at the inquest into the death of Jill Dando and George's wrongful conviction; the gangster Kenneth Noye;[7][8] the Bloody Sunday families; Arthur Scargill; Angela Cannings;[9] Fatmir Limaj, a Kosovo-Albanian leader prosecuted in the Hague; Mohamed al-Fayed in the inquest into the deaths of his son Dodi al-Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales; the families of Jean Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan; the Tottenham Three and the Cardiff Five.[10] In March 2019 Mansfield was engaged by the family of footballer Emiliano Sala to represent their interests in the dispute over his death.[11]

Mansfield has been referred to as a "champagne socialist" though he has said that 95 per cent of his work comes from legal aid.[12]

Lockerbie bombing[edit]

Warning against over-reliance upon forensic science to secure convictions, Mansfield in the BBC Scotland Frontline Scotland TV programme "Silence over Lockerbie", broadcast on 14 October 1997, said he wanted to make just one point:

Forensic science is not immutable. They're not written in tablets of stone, and the biggest mistake that anyone can make—public, expert or anyone else alike—is to believe that forensic science is somehow beyond reproach: it is not! The biggest miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom, many of them emanate from cases in which forensic science has been shown to be wrong. And the moment a forensic scientist or anyone else says: 'I am sure this marries up with that' I get worried.

Personal life[edit]

Mansfield has been married three times. He was married for 19 years to Melian Bordes, with whom he had five children, and for 30 years to the artist/filmmaker Yvette Vanson, from whom he separated in 2014 and with whom he had a son. He has been with his current wife, Yvette Greenway, a well-known snooker player, since 2015.[13][14] His daughter, Anna, took her own life in May 2015.[15]

Political views[edit]

In November 2019, along with other public figures, Mansfield signed a letter supporting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, describing him as "a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world", and endorsed Corbyn in the 2019 UK general election.[16]

In December 2019, along with 42 other leading cultural figures, he signed a letter endorsing the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership in the 2019 general election. The letter stated that "Labour's election manifesto under Corbyn's leadership offers a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit and the vested interests of a few."[17][18]

Charity work[edit]

Mansfield is a patron of the animal rights organisation Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) and refers to animal production as "genocide".[19] He is also patron of Hastings Advice and Representation Centre, a charity providing free welfare benefit advice and representation for local people in Hastings, East Sussex and the surrounding area.[citation needed] He is a co-founder and trustee of the charity Silence of Suicide (SOS).[20]

He is an environmental and animal rights activist and has recently stated that meat may become banned in the future, and there should be a law made to criminalise ecocide, or destruction of the environment as a result of intensive animal agriculture.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nexus Chambers". nexuschambers.com.
  2. ^ Edemariam, Aida (19 July 2013). "'There is now a republican movement': anti-royal campaigners get organised". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2020. One of the things I thought staggering," says Michael Mansfield, QC, another republican, who acted for Mohamed al-Fayed in the inquest into the deaths of Dodi al-Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales, "was the increase of the Queen's sovereign grant. She's getting £5m more than she got last year. That was the day after Osborne outlined cuts of £11.5bn. Now, I know she's got expenses – I dare say the refurbishment of Kensington Palace is necessary but why does the public have to foot the £600,000 bill, rather than the Queen?
  3. ^ Dyer, Clare (8 April 2008). "The great defender?". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2020. No mere mouthpiece, Mansfield is a socialist who throws himself passionately into his clients' causes.
  4. ^ Mansfield, Michael, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.
  5. ^ Dyke, Thom (24 September 2009). "Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Oxford University – An audience with Michael Mansfield QC". Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Road rage killer's appeal rejected". BBC News. 10 October 2001.
  8. ^ "Noye hires Dando QC; HE GETS 'THE BEST' IN ROAD-RAGE APPEAL". thefreelibrary.com.
  9. ^ "Tooks Chambers". tooks.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Episode 3". Who Killed Jill Dando?. Season - Documentary miniseries. Episode 3. Empress Films; 42 M&P. 26 September 2023. Event starts at 16:24. Netflix.
  11. ^ Abbandonato, Paul (27 March 2019). "The Cardiff City Emiliano Sala contract dispute explained, the loopholes lawyers are exploring and the likely next steps". Wales Online.
  12. ^ "Law". The Times.
  13. ^ Pelling, Rowan (8 August 2015). "Michael Mansfield QC's most difficult case, his daughter's suicide". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Michael Mansfield". Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4. 22 October 2010.
  15. ^ "Mansfield on daughter's suicide: 'Why didn't you tell me it was that bad?", BBC News, 4 February 2016.
  16. ^ Neale, Matthew (16 November 2019). "Exclusive: New letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn signed by Roger Waters, Robert Del Naja and more". NME. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Vote for hope and a decent future". The Guardian. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  18. ^ Proctor, Kate (3 December 2019). "Coogan and Klein lead cultural figures backing Corbyn and Labour". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Viva! – Vegetarians International Voice for Animals – Star Supporters". viva.org.uk. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008.
  20. ^ SOSAdmin. "Home". SOS Silence of Suicide. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  21. ^ Saner, Emine (23 September 2019). "Should meat be banned to save the planet?". The Guardian.

Further reading[edit]

  • Michael Mansfield, Presumed Guilty: British Legal System Exposed. 1993.
  • Who's Who, 2006
  • Michael Mansfield, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer. London, Bloomsbury. 2009. ISBN 978-0-7475-7654-9

External links[edit]