Michael Mansfield

Michael Mansfield

Michael Mansfield QC (born 12 October 1941) is an English barrister.[1] A republican, vegetarian, socialist, and self-described "radical lawyer",[2] he has participated in prominent and controversial court cases and inquests involving accused IRA bombers, the Bloody Sunday incident, and the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes and Diana, Princess of Wales.[3]


Personal life

He grew up in 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 B.A. (Hons) in history and philosophy, before becoming Secretary of Keele's Students Union. He 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 a patron of the animal welfare organisation "Viva!" (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals), and refers to animal production as "genocide".[4] He is currently the President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. In 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Wolverhampton. He has been married twice, to his first wife for 19 years, and then to filmmaker Yvette Vanson. He has six children (Johnathan, Anna, Louise, Leo, Kieran and Fred).[citation needed]

Famous cases

As well as representing those wrongly convicted of the IRA's Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings, Mansfield has represented: the Angry Brigade; the Price sisters; Brian Keenan; the Orgreave miners; James Hanratty (in posthumous appeals); those involved in the Israeli Embassy bombing; 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;[5][6] the Bloody Sunday families; Arthur Scargill; Angela Cannings;[1] 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 family of Jean Charles de Menezes. He has been referred to as a "champagne socialist" though he has said that 95 per cent of his work comes from legal aid.[7]

Lockerbie bombing

Warning against over-reliance upon forensic science to secure convictions, Michael 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."

See also


Further reading

  • Who's Who, 2006
  • Michael Mansfield, Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer. London, Bloomsbury. 2009. ISBN 978-0-7475-7654-9

External links

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