Michael Mansfield

Last updated

Michael Mansfield

Michael Mansfield QC 04.jpg
Michael Mansfield in January 2015
Born (1941-10-12) 12 October 1941 (age 79)
Alma mater University of Keele
Occupation Barrister, legal scholar
Organisation Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Nexus Chambers
Known forRepresenting:
Spouse(s)Melian Bordes (div.)
Yvette Vanson (div.)
Yvette Greenway
Website Nexus Chambers

Michael Mansfield QC (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 Dodi Al-Fayed [5] and the McLibel case.

Early life

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, and is a Professor at Law at City University. Mansfield is a regular after dinner and keynote speaker. [6]

Notable cases

Mansfield gives the first Gerry Conlon Memorial Lecture at St. Mary's University College, Belfast, in January 2015 Michael Mansfield QC 01.jpg
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 at the inquest into the death of Jill Dando; 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; and the families of Jean Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan.

In March 2019 Mansfield was engaged by the family of footballer Emiliano Sala to represent their interests in the dispute over his death. [10] Mansfield has been referred to as a "champagne socialist" though he has said that 95 per cent of his work comes from legal aid. [11]

Lockerbie bombing

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

Mansfield has been married three times. He was married for 19 years to Melian Bordes, with whom he had five children (Jonathan, Anna, Louise, Leo and Kieran), and for 30 years to the artist/filmmaker Yvette Vanson, from whom he separated in 2014 and with whom he had a son (Fred). He has been with his current wife, Yvette Greenway, since 2015. [12] [13] His daughter, Anna, took her own life in May 2015. [14]

Political views

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. [15]

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." [16] [17]

Charity work

Mansfield is a patron of the animal welfare organisation Viva! (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) and refers to animal production as "genocide". [18] 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 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. [19]

Co founder and trustee of charity Silence of Suicide (SOS) https://sossilenceof

See also

Related Research Articles

Mohamed Al-Fayed Egyptian businessman

Mohamed Al-Fayed is an Egyptian-born businessman whose residence and chief business interests have been in the United Kingdom since the late 1960s. Fayed's business interests include ownership of Hôtel Ritz Paris and formerly Harrods department store and Fulham F.C., both in London.

Dodi Fayed Egyptian film producer and partner of Princess Diana of Wales

Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Mena'em Fayed, better known as Dodi Fayed, was an Egyptian film producer and the son of billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed. He was the romantic partner of Diana, Princess of Wales, when they both died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Benjamin Zephaniah English poet and author

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is a British writer and dub poet. He was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.

Jeremy Corbyn British politician

Jeremy Bernard Corbyn is a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2015 to 2020. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington North since 1983. On the political left of the Labour Party, he ideologically identifies as a socialist and democratic socialist.

The Socialist Campaign Group, also known as the Campaign Group, officially Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs is a left-wing, democratic socialist grouping of Labour Party Members of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Viva! (organisation)

Viva! is a British animal rights group, which focuses on promoting veganism. It was founded by Juliet Gellatley in 1994. Viva! carries out undercover investigations to expose the abuse of factory farmed animals and produces information on how to go vegan, including recipes and shopping guides. It is a registered charity.

Michael Rosen British childrens author

Michael Wayne Rosen is a British children's author and poet who has written 140 books. He served as Children's Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009. He has also been a TV presenter and a political columnist.

John Hendy, Baron Hendy

John Hendy, Baron Hendy, is an English barrister and politician acknowledged as one of the country's leading experts in UK labour law.

Death of Diana, Princess of Wales 1997 fatal car crash

In the early hours of 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died from the injuries she sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, who was seriously injured, survived the crash.

Anthony Grabiner, Baron Grabiner

Anthony Stephen Grabiner, Baron Grabiner, QC is a British barrister, academic administrator, and life peer. He is head of chambers at One Essex Court, a leading set of commercial barristers in the Temple, and was the Treasurer of Lincoln's Inn for 2013. Since 2014, he has been the Master of Clare College, Cambridge, and since 2015, he has served as the President of the University of Law. Grabiner was non-executive chairman of Taveta Investments Ltd, the holding company of Sir Philip Green behind Arcadia Group from 2002 to December 2015.

Sir Thomas Scott Gillespie Baker, PC is a retired English Court of Appeal judge.

After 1998, it was theorised that there was an orchestrated criminal conspiracy surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Official investigations in both Britain and France found that Diana died in a manner consistent with media reports following the fatal car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. In 1999, a French investigation concluded that Diana died as the result of a crash. The French investigator, Judge Hervé Stephan, concluded that the paparazzi were some distance from the Mercedes S280 when it crashed and were not responsible. After hearing evidence at the British inquest, a jury in 2008 returned a verdict of "unlawful killing" by driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi pursuing the car. The jury's verdict also stated: "In addition, the death of the deceased was caused or contributed to by the fact that the deceased were not wearing a seat belt and by the fact that the Mercedes struck the pillar in the Alma Tunnel rather than colliding with something else".

Keir Starmer Leader of the British Labour Party, MP for Holborn and St Pancras

Sir Keir Rodney Starmer is a British politician and former lawyer who has served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2020. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015. Ideologically, Starmer identifies as a socialist and has been described as being on the soft left within the Labour Party.

Unlawful Killing is a 2011 British documentary film about the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed on 31 August 1997 directed by Keith Allen and shown in Cannes during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Philip Sales, Lord Sales British judge

Philip James Sales, Lord Sales is a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He took office on 14 January 2019.

Leslie Thomas QC is a British barrister. He has acted on a number of high profile death cases and inquests, and is noted as a "star individual" for Police Law (Claimant) work in Chambers and Partners with specialist expertise in cases of death in custody and death at the hands of the police.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is a British public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people and destroyed Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. It was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May on the day following the fire.

Allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party of the United Kingdom (UK) have been made since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the party in September 2015. After comments by Naz Shah in 2014 and Ken Livingstone in 2016 resulted in their suspension from membership pending investigation, Corbyn established the Chakrabarti Inquiry, which concluded that the party was not "overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism", although there was an "occasionally toxic atmosphere" and "clear evidence of ignorant attitudes". The Home Affairs Select Committee of Parliament held an inquiry into antisemitism in the UK in the same year and found "no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party", though the leadership's lack of action "risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally antisemitic".

Ian Alexander Macdonald QC was a Scottish barrister who was "a pioneer of committed anti-racist legal practice" in the UK. During the 1970s he appeared in many notable political and human rights cases, including those involving the Mangrove Nine, the Angry Brigade, and the Balcombe Street siege. He took silk in 1988 and was leader of the British bar in immigration law for five decades until his death at the age of 80.


  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. 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 .
  11. "Law". The Times.
  12. Pelling, Rowan (8 August 2015). "Michael Mansfield QC's most difficult case, his daughter's suicide". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  13. "Michael Mansfield". Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4. 22 October 2010.
  14. "Mansfield on daughter's suicide: 'Why didn't you tell me it was that bad?", BBC News, 4 February 2016.
  15. 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.
  16. "Vote for hope and a decent future". The Guardian . 3 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  17. Proctor, Kate (3 December 2019). "Coogan and Klein lead cultural figures backing Corbyn and Labour". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  18. "Viva! – Vegetarians International Voice for Animals – Star Supporters". viva.org.uk. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008.
  19. Saner, Emine (23 September 2019). "Should meat be banned to save the planet?". The Guardian.

Further reading