Sir Nicolas Bratza served as President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from November 2011 to October 2012. He was appointed Vice-President in 2007 and was elected Section President twice. He has served fourteen years as a Judge of the Court, elected in respect of the United Kingdom from 1998 until 2012, when he retired from the ECHR. First called to the bar in 1969, Sir Nicolas served from 1993 to 1998 as the UK Member of the European Commission of Human Rights, becoming Chamber Vice President in 1997.

He has been a member of the Advisory Board of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law since 2005 and has served as both Governor and Vice Chairman of the British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR). In 2013, he was appointed President of the Advisory Board of the BIHR, which works to raise awareness about human rights in the UK. Sir Nicolas has earned doctorates from the University of Essex and the University of Glasgow and is an Honorary Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford.


Lord Carnwath was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1968. He practised in parliamentary law, planning and local government, revenue law and administrative law. He was Junior Counsel to Inland Revenue from 1980 to 1985. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1985, and was Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales from 1988 to 1994.

He was appointed as a High Court judge on 3 October 1994, in the Chancery Division, and received the customary knighthood. He served as Chairman of the Law Commission from 1999 to July 2002. He was promoted to the Court of Appeal on 15 January 2002 and, as is customary, became a member of the Privy Council. He served as an appointee to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from December 2011 to March 2020.



Juliet Stevenson has worked extensively for both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. She made her name in films playing Nina opposite Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply, a performance that won her the Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress. She has had numerous television appearances, most recently appearing in the BBC drama series The Hour. In 2011 she was nominated for a BAFTA for her role in the BBC’s The Accused. She was awarded a CBE in 1999.


Juliet performed at PBI's 30th Anniversary Gala in November 2011.




Julie Christie is an Academy Award-winning English film actress, best known for her roles in films such as Dr Zhivago and Don't Look Now.

She is a passionate supporter of the human rights movement and recently supported PBI by reading our BBC Radio 4 appeals.





In 2011, Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC was knighted for his services to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. A barrister with Blackwell Chambers, in 2010, Sir Jeffrey became the inaugural Director of the Bingham Centre on the Rule of Law, created after the retirement of Lord Bingham. He is Emeritus Professor of Public Law at University College London and Chair of British Waterways’ Ombudsman Committee and, until recently, was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. From 2000 to 2011 he was the UK’s member of the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (The Venice Commission).






Sir Peter Roth has been a High Court Judge since 2009 and is currently the president of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Called in 1976, he took Silk in 1997. As a barrister, his areas of practice were wide ranging, including commercial law, human rights, European and sports law. In 2007 he was named 'EU and Competition Silk of the Year' at the Chambers Bar Awards. He has been a Visiting Professor at King's College, London University, is Chairman of the Competition Law Association and a member of the London Court of International Arbitration. He chairs PBI UK's Lawyers Advisory Committee.

“PBI is a relatively modest organisation – but its contribution has been remarkable. It has shown how protective accompaniment by unarmed international volunteers can bring security and support to those courageous defenders of human rights in places where this is most needed."


Samuel West is an actor and director whose theatre roles have included both Richard II and Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as numerous film, television and radio roles. He is a familiar face on television: appearances include Law & Order and Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Murder on the Orient Express. He starred in the award-winning play ENRON in 2009, for which he was nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Best Actor Award. Between August 2005 and August 2007, Samuel was Artistic Director of the Sheffield Theatres.

Samuel also performed at our 30th Anniversary Gala.




Lord Scott of Foscote

The Rt Hon the Lord Scott of Foscote was a Law Lord and remains a member of the House of Lords. During his career, he has been Attorney General of the Duchy of Lancaster, Chairman of the Bar, Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster, and a Lord Justice of Appeal. He has also held the posts of Vice-Chancellor of the Supreme Court, the head of the Chancery Division, and Head of Civil Justice. From 1992 to 1995 Lord Scott conducted a government inquiry into the export from the UK to Iraq of defence-related equipment and related prosecutions. His Report was published in February 1996. He was a Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal from 2003 to 2011, and is still a judge of the Civil and Commercial Court of Qatar. Lord Scott is a patron of PBI UK, and was a member of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk delegation which visited Kenya in December 2014.


John Dew

John Dew is a British ex-diplomat who was in diplomatic service from 1973-2012 and served in various roles, such as FCO Head of Latin America and Caribbean department 2000-2003, British Ambassador to Cuba 2004-2008, and British Ambassador to Colombia 2008-2012. He has a strong record of supporting human rights defenders, including during his time as British Ambassador to Colombia, when he visited various HRDs, including those accompanied by PBI. He has repeatedly expressed his admiration and support for the work of defenders and stressed the need for accompaniment work.  He has been working as a print artist since retiring from diplomatic service in 2012.

Helena Kennedy QC

Helena Ann Kennedy QCFRSAHonFRSE is a Scottish barristerbroadcaster, and Labour member of the House of Lords. In 1972, Kennedy was called to the bar at Gray's Inn. Among her many cases, Kennedy acted as junior counsel for child murderer Myra Hindley during her 1974 trial for plotting to escape from Holloway Prison.

Paying tribute to our late Patrons

Lord Avebury (1928 - 2016)

It is with great regret that we announce the loss of one of our Patrons, Lord Avebury, who passed away on the 14 February 2016.

Lord Avebury served as a member of the House of Lords since 1971. A founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, Lord Avebury subsequently chaired the group for over 20 years. Prior to being a member of the House of Lords, Lord Avebury was the MP for Orpington. Lord Avebury won many prestigious awards for his dedication and commitment to peace and human rights including the Blomfield Award for “lifelong commitment to defence of human rights”, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace as well as receiving an award from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group for “selfless, long-term commitment to the pursuit of justice”.

Please find a full obituary here.

Lord Joffe (1932 - 2017)

Lord Joffe was a Labour peer in the House of Lords and worked as a human rights lawyer 1958-65, including representing Nelson Mandela at the infamous 1963-4 Rivonia trial. Later he moved to Britain, and worked in the financial services industry as well as the voluntary sector. He was associated with Oxfam in various roles between 1982 and 2001, including being its Chair 1995-2001.

"As a human rights lawyer in South Africa where in the 1960's I defended courageous political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, I know how lonely and dangerous this can be for the defence lawyers involved. Peace Brigades International UK plays a vital role in protecting and supporting human rights defenders in countries where such defenders are often in far greater danger than we in South Africa ever faced. The presence of PBI's defenders is critical for the lawyers and other human rights defenders involved both for their safety and ensuring that their clients and their client's communities obtain justice. That is why I am proud to be a Patron of Peace Brigades International UK".

2017 - An interview with PBI Patron Lord Joffe. Lord Joffe was the lawyer for Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia trail. In this video he talks about his experience with Mandela, the importance of non-violence and the stuggle for human rights.

Please find a full obituary here.

Sir Nigel Rodley KBE (1941 - 2017)

Sir Nigel Rodley KBE was Professor of Law at the University of Essex and Member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He was the first Legal Adviser of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, where he remained until 1990. He also taught Public International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1973 to 1990. In March 1993, he was designated Special Rapporteur on Torture of the UN Commission on Human Rights, serving until November 2001. Since 2001, he has been the elected UK expert member of the Human Rights Committee established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Vice Chair 2003-2004). He was elected Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists in 2003 and is currently a member of its Executive Committee. He has published numerous texts and was awarded a KBE in the 1998/1999 New Year's Honours List 'for services to human rights and international law', and an honorary LLD from Dalhousie University in May 2000. In 2005, he was awarded the American Society of International Law Goler T Butcher Human Rights Medal for distinguished work in the field of human rights.

Please find a full obituary here.

Sir Henry Brooke CMG (1936-2018)

Sir Henry was executive Vice-President of the Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association and Former Lord Justice of Appeal and Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). At different times Sir Henry chaired the Bar’s Race Relations Committee, the Judicial Studies Board’s advisory committee, which introduced racial awareness training for English magistrates and judges, and the Law Commission (the Government’s independent law reform advisory unit). He was also a member of the departmental committee involved in providing for the smooth implementation of the Human Rights Act and of the Court Service committee responsible for modernising the courts.

As a judge Sir Henry travelled widely across the world to speak about human rights, penal reform, access to justice and equality issues. As a well as patron of PBI UK, he was also a trustee of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund, and a registered mediator. He was awarded the CMG  in 2012 for his services to justice reform in Albania.

For more about Sir Henry's life and work you can read his obituary or access his blog, which he updated regularly in his later life. Here you can find his reflections on his work with PBI following our event entitled Shakespeare and the Law.


Lord Lester (1936-2020) was a British barrister practising public law and human rights at Blackstone Chambers. He was called to the Bar in 1964 and became a QC in 1975. He sat as a Recorder at the Crown Court and a Deputy High Court Judge before becoming a Liberal Democrat Peer. Lord Lester served as a Special Adviser to Home Secretary Roy Jenkins and was the architect of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976. In 2005 he served as vice-chair on the all-parliamentary group on Genocide Prevention.

Towards the end of his life, he served on the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, and wasa member of the Commission for a Bill of Rights. He wasthe governor of the British Institute for Human Rights, Honorary President of the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, and served on the executive board for the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative. In 2007 he received the Liberty and JUSTICE Judges Award for lifetime achievement.