Lord Bingham of Cornhill to become Reprieve’s new Chairman

November 14, 2008

Reprieve is delighted to announce that Lord Bingham of Cornhill, former senior law lord and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, is going to take on Chairmanship of the legal charity at the beginning of next year.

Lord Bingham retired from the House of Lords in September, after 8 years as Senior Law Lord, the highest judicial office in the United Kingdom. He has also held office as Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Lord Bingham is a leading human rights jurist – in the Belmarsh case, he led the law lords in holding that it was unlawful to detain foreign terror suspects without charge. He also chaired the judges who held in A and Others that evidence obtained by torture could not be admitted in UK Courts.

In his persistent defence of the rule of law, Lord Bingham has emphasised John Locke’s powerful dictum “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.” It is such tyrannies that Reprieve has steadfastly confronted in its attempts to reunite prisoners with the rule of law. Reprieve was founded by human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith and now fights for prisoners denied proper access to justice – from death row to Guantanamo Bay.

It appears that Guantanamo Bay will close, but there are over 27,000 prisoners in US custody who do not have access to lawyers. These include those held out of reach of the rule of law in US secret prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, among other countries. Even after Guantanamo closes, much work will remain to be done.

Reprieve is privileged that Lord Bingham is willing to apply his courage, astuteness and profound legal knowledge in the defence of the human rights of prisoners from death row to Guantanamo Bay.

Reprieve is very grateful to outgoing Chairman (and founder) Paul Hamann for his untiring dedication to Reprieve’s work. We are delighted that Paul will remain on Reprieve’s Board.

At this time Reprieve also remembers the great Dame Anita Roddick who was previously set to become Reprieve’s chair until her tragic death in September 2007. Clive Stafford Smith says “It is great to have Lord B working with us. It is sometimes lonely out there for the rule of law, and his name carries immense weight in the effort to rehabilitate democratic values after the misjudgments of the past few years.”

Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve says: “We are very excited about Lord Bingham taking over as our Chair. His brilliance as a lawyer and his commitment to human rights make him a very valuable addition to Reprieve. We hope that he will rally further lawyers to Reprieve’s cause.”


For further information contact Clare Algar Reprieve’s Executive Director on 0207 4271091 or clare@reprieve.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

1 Reprieve is a charity providing front-line investigation and legal representation to prisoners denied justice by powerful governments across the world, from Guantánamo Bay to Death Row.

2 Outgoing Chair Paul Hamann is one of the founders of Reprieve and a renowned documentary maker. He received the BFI’s Grierson Award for ‘Fourteen Days in May’, the powerful documentary about the execution of an innocent man, Edward Earl Johnson on Mississippi’s death row, and for the controversial film ‘At The Edge Of The Union’. The Observer newspaper voted him the ‘Documentary Maker’s Documentary Maker’.

3 The inspiring pioneer and defender of human rights, Dame Anita Roddick died suddenly in September 2008. She was a profound supporter of Reprieve’s work and due to become Chair of the Charity.


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Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Jon Snow, Marina Warner