About Me

I’m a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers as well as a writer. My first book was a guide to Prague, written soon after the 1989 revolution. The version on sale nowadays is a stunted shadow of its former self, but I remain very fond of the first three editions. In 2005, I wrote The Trial: A History, from Socrates to O.J. Simpson (there are some extracts here) and my latest book is Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari’a Law, which is a combination of history, travelogue and political critique.

Most of my legal work involves international human rights, and I’ve travelled fairly widely in that context. I visited Syria in March 2011, at the very beginning of what would turn into the current civil war, to meet human rights defenders and state officials on behalf of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. The report I helped write, which led to Syria’s suspension from the International Bar Association, is accessible via this link. In August 2012, I travelled to Myanmar/Burma as the rapporteur for another IBAHRI delegation, and that report is here. My most recent IBAHRI report concerned the state of the rule of law in Sri Lanka; the government refused me and my fellow delegates visas to enter the country, unfortunately, and our mission had to be conducted remotely. The report was launched at the House of Lords in April 2013, and a film of the proceedings is viewable here.