Chair of Appeals Panel
Helena Kennedy is a leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues. She is a member of the House of Lords and chair of Justice – the British arm of the International Commission of Jurists. She is a bencher of Gray's Inn and President of the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London. She was the chair of Charter 88 from 1992 to 1997, the Human Genetics Commission from 1998 to 2007 and the British Council from 1998 to 2004. She also chaired the Power Inquiry, which reported on the state of British democracy and produced the Power Report in 2006.
She has received honours for her work on human rights from the governments of France and Italy and has been awarded more than thirty honorary doctorates.
In Helena's practice of law as a barrister – she is a member of the Doughty Street Chambers in London – she has acted in many of the most prominent cases of the last 30 years including the Brighton Bombing, the Michael Bettany espionage trial, the Guildford Four appeal and the bombing of the Israeli embassy. She has also acted in many homicide trials with a domestic setting. She was the British member of the recent International Bar Association Task Force on Terrorism. She recently chaired an inquiry for the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health into sudden infant death, in the aftermath of miscarriages of justice where mothers were wrongly convicted of murdering their babies.
As a life peer she also participates in the House of Lords on issues concerned with human rights, civil liberties, social justice and culture. She has led the opposition to encroachments on the right to jury trial and for her courageous stand against the government was awarded the Spectator's Parliamentary Campaigner of the Year Award in 2000. She is currently on the board of the Independent newspaper, which she has done since 1998, is a member of the Media Standards Trust and has been a trustee of the British Museum since 2005.
She is a patron of many charities, including Poets in the City, Safe Hands (a charity which supports maternal and infant health in Ethiopia), MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians of which she is President) the Civil Liberties Trust and the Patients Association.