Mark Stephens CBE Chair
Specialising in International, Appellate and Complex litigation, Constitutional, Human Rights, IP, Media & Regulatory work, defamation, privacy, media, art and cultural property, data protection and freedom of information, intellectual property and international arbitration, Mark Stephens has undertaken some of the highest profile cases in the country and abroad.
In 2011 Her Majesty the Queen appointed Stephens Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to law and the arts.
Mark is also extremely active in many other areas having been appointed by the Foreign Secretary to the FCO Free Expression advisory board and the Lord Chancellor to be a Champion for the Community Legal Service.
In December 2009, Mark first appeared in “Who’s Who” where he is described as “lawyer, broadcaster; writer; lecturer”. He has written and contributed to five books.
Mark has been described by the ‘Law Society Gazette’ as, ‘the patron solicitor of previously lost causes’. It is this reputation for creativity with law that leads clients to his door.
Mark has created a niche in international comparative media law and regulation. His expertise also covers specialisms in Creative Arts & Cultural Industries, Human Rights, Judicial Review, Complex Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property law, Privy Council cases - Ultimate Appeal Court for parts of the Commonwealth, as well as, Regulatory Cases & Inquiries.
Mark has practised before every level of Court in England and Wales and has also practised abroad and before international tribunals and courts. He is also a Privy Council agent regularly working with a range of overseas lawyers. Mark is also a qualified mediator.
He has been retained by a number of Governments to advise and to represent their interests including, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Greece, Jamaica, Libya, Mauritius, Romania and the Russian Republic.
Additionally, Mark has litigated in countries as diverse as Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Cyprus, France, India, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pitcairn Islands, New Zealand, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Singapore and the USA.
Mark chairs a number of bodies including the Design Artists Copyright Society, Global Network Initiative, the University of East London, the Management Committee of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy Wolfson College, Oxford Centre for Socio Legal Studies, the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and sits on the boards of Censorship Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Human Rights Council of the International Bar Association and Internews Media Law Defence Initiative Independent Schools Inspectorate and is Hon Solicitor to Index of Censorship.
Mark was winner of the Howard Kennedy AI Dispute category Appellate Litigator of the Year Award in 2016.
He was also awarded Media Defence Lawyer of the Year in England in the Corporate INTL Global Awards in 2016, and he has been selected by his peers to be included in the Best Lawyers nomination for the Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom 2017 category.
Mark regularly appears in print and on radio and television and enjoys debating.
Charmian Gooch, Director and Co-founder of Global Witness
Charmian Gooch jointly led Global Witness's first campaign, exposing the trade in timber between the Khmer Rouge and Thai logging companies and their political and military backers. Subsequently, Charmian developed and launched Global Witness’s ground-breaking campaign to combat ‘blood diamonds’; Global Witness was nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize as a result of this work.
In 2014 Charmian was awarded the TED Prize, given to an ‘extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change’. In 2014, Charmian along with Global Witness co-founders Patrick Alley and Simon Taylor, received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, awarded to ‘transformative leaders who are disrupting the status quo’. She was also named one of Fast Company’s 100 most creative people in business.
Jessy Tolkan is the Head of Labs & Executive Director of Purpose Climate Lab, a movement accelerator working to supercharge the climate and clean energy movement. She spent 15 years as an activist and movement leader working for progressive change, specialising in large-scale advocacy campaigns that disrupt politics, culture, and polluting industries.
Jessy has consulted with some of the leading social change organizations in the U.S., having led an international effort to build electric vehicle infrastructure for several major auto companies and as a senior advisor to the Working Families Organization and the Center for Working Families. She served as Co-Executive Director of both Citizen Engagement Laboratory and Energy Action Coalition and as State Director of the New Voters Project, where she helped register more than 130,000 young voters, facilitating one of the highest youth turnout rates in the country and providing the foundation for the historic youth strategies employed in the 2008 presidential election. She also led the largest youth gathering on global warming in U.S. history – POWER SHIFT 2009, a conference of more than 12,000 youth representing all 50 states which culminated in the single largest lobby day on Capitol Hill focused on global warming. POWER SHIFT has since spread to more than 25 countries, and the first Global Power Shift has since convened in Europe.
Jessy received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a J.D. and MBA from Georgetown University.
She's been featured in Time Magazine, Glamour Magazine, The New York Times, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Vanity Fair Magazine. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the 100 agents of change in America.
Juana Kweitel is the Executive Director of Conectas Human Rights whose mission is to promote the realisation of human rights and consolidation of the Rule of Law in the Global South -Africa, Asia and Latin America. Juana previously worked in Argentina as institutional coordinator of (Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) and as coordinator of their Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Program.
Juana serves on the Board of Trustees of the Brazil Human Rights Fund (2014), the Advisory Board of Open Global Rights (2013) and is a member of the Assembly of Partners of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS, Argentina) and of the Developments in the Field Panel of the Business and Human Rights Journal, published by the Cambridge University Press.
She has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, United Kingdom, and in Political Science from the University of Sao Paulo where her thesis topic was “Accountability of Latin American Human Rights Organizations”. She also holds a postgraduate degree in Human Rights and Democratic Transition from the University of Chile, and she graduated as a lawyer with honours, from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).
Patrick Alley, Director and Co-founder of Global Witness
Patrick co-founded Global Witness in 1995. Since then Global Witness has become a global leader in its field, described by Aryeh Neier, former President of the Open Society Foundations, thus: “Global Witness brings together the issues of human rights, corruption, the trade in natural resources, the role of banks, the arms trade, conflict. It is the only organisation that does this. Period.”
Patrick has taken part in over fifty field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe and in subsequent advocacy activities. Patrick conceived several of Global Witness’ campaigns and focuses on corruption, conflict resources, forests and land, and environmental defenders. He is a board director of Global Witness and is involved in the organisation’s strategic leadership.
Alongside his two co-founders, Patrick received the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.Patrick is also a trustee of the OpenCorporates Trust Limited.
Simon Taylor, Director and Co-founder of Global Witness
Simon Taylor is co-founder of Global Witness. Simon launched Global Witness’ oil and corruption campaign in 1999. This work began the global call for transparency of payments made by extractive industry companies to governments for the oil, gas and minerals that they extract– revenue streams that for many countries almost make up all government income. Exposing corruption in these sectors led to Global Witness’ conception of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Campaign, which Simon co-launched in 2002 with George Soros and other NGO’s including Transparency International (UK) and Save The Children Fund UK. The launch of PWYP, which now consists of over 840 civil society organisations in more than 64 countries worldwide, led directly to the 2002 creation of the extractives industries transparency Initiative (EITI) by the UK Government. EITI is now an independent global multi-stakeholder initiative that places civil society in the central role of holding governments and companies to account for the revenue streams developed from extraction.
Simon is increasingly focusing on climate change, with a particular interest in the way in which the fossil fuel industry has corrupted and co-opted global politics to such an extent that it has been able to prevent appropriate action to address the climate crisis.