Michael Mansfield

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Michael Mansfield
Michael Mansfield QC 04.jpg
Born (1941-10-12) 12 October 1941 (age 77)
Alma mater University of Keele
Occupation Barrister, legal scholar
Known for Representing:

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, the Hillsborough disaster and the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes and Diana, Princess of Wales[3] and the McLibel case.

Early life

He grew up in north 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.


Mansfield 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 currently the President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and is a Professor at Law at City University. Mansfield is a regular after dinner and keynote speaker.[4]

Notable cases

Mansfield gives the first Gerry Conlon Memorial Lecture at St. Mary’s College Belfast

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; Mahmood Hussein Mattan, Ruth Ellis and 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 families of Jean Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan. 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.

Personal life

Mansfield has been married twice, to Melian Bordes for 19 years, with whom he had five children ( Jonathan, Anna, Louise, Leo and Kieran), and for thirty years to artist/filmmaker Yvette Vanson with whom he had a son (Fred).[8][9] His daughter Anna Mansfield passed away in May 2015.

He is a patron of the animal welfare organisation "Viva!" (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals), and refers to animal production as "genocide".[10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "tooks chambers - tooks chambers". tooks.co.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer. London, Bloomsbury. 2009.
  3. Thom Dyke, "Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer". New Statesman. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Oxford University - An audience with Michael Mansfield QC". Retrieved 2012-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Road rage killer's appeal rejected". BBC News. 10 October 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Noye hires Dando QC; HE GETS 'THE BEST' IN ROAD-RAGE APPEAL". thefreelibrary.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Law - The Times". timesonline.co.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Pelling, Rowan (8 August 2015). "Michael Mansfield QC's most difficult case, his daughter's suicide". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Michael Mansfield". BBC.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals - Star Supporters". viva.org.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

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

External links