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Paul Clark

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Paul Clark
"A real legal powerhouse who is very innovative and whose knowledge of the law in this area is superb."

Chambers UK, 2019 (International Criminal Law)


Paul provides representation and advice in public, civil, and international law. His practice includes judicial review, private law, inquests and inquiries, with a focus upon human rights.


“He was so kind to us. He is an inspirational young man who we will never forget because he slotted into our lives and understood instinctively our situation… Words cannot express our gratitude for all the time, energy and kindness [Paul has] given us.” – A Direct Access client

Paul has a wealth of experience in representing bereaved families in all types of Article 2 and domestic inquests. His practice includes inquests concerning deaths in prison, in police custody and during police pursuits, and in the mental healthcare context.

Paul was also recently appointed Assistant Coroner for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

Paul’s recent work includes:

Inquest touching the death of Diane Waplington (2016), representing the family of Diane Waplington. Diane was found unresponsive in her cell while remanded to HMP Peterborough, having previously been in and out of mental health institutions for more than 14 years, most recently as an in-patient at Bassetlaw hospital. The jury found her death was by misadventure and they returned a critical conclusion about the care Diane received in prison, categorically stating that the opportunities to divert her away from prison custody were not adequately considered.
Further information can be found on The Parliament website

Inquest touching the death of Tracy Shelvey (2015), representing the family of Tracy Shelvey. Tracy died in February 2014, days after finding out that a man she had accused of raping her had been acquitted of her rape and the rapes of numerous other women. She fell from the roof of a shopping centre. A ‘vulnerable adult’, Tracy was known to the local mental health service and Rochdale Borough Council but was failed by both in the wake of the trial. The Coroner’s conclusion was of accidental death – that Tracy had gone to the car park roof as a protest, feeling that no state agency was really listening to her.  The coroner found a number of significant and gross failures by state agencies.

Inquest touching the death of Mohamoud Ali (2015), representing the family of Mohamoud Ali. 37 year-old Mohamoud died from ‘SUDEP’ (‘sudden unexpected death from epilepsy’) on 1 February 2014 in HMP Parc – a prison run by G4S. Despite having suffered several episodes of apparent seizures in December 2012, January 2013, and April 2013, he was never diagnosed. Although Mohamoud had been referred to hospital for assessment by specialist neurologists, the jury found that the prison repeatedly failed to transport him to appointments, failed to recognise ongoing risks to Mohamoud, and failed to ensure that adequate information about Mohamoud was conveyed to specialist neurologists. The jury went on to find that within the prison healthcare department, information sharing was inconsistent and varied, and moreover, that knowledge sharing between prison staff was inadequate.

Inquest touching the death of Paul McGuigan (2015), representing Daniel Fitzsimons, a private security contractor in Iraq, employed by G4S under a contract with the US government. Mr. Fitzsimons was convicted of the murder of Mr. McGuigan and is serving a life sentence in Iraq. The scope of the inquest included consideration of the findings of the Iraqi criminal court, as well as examination of the adequacy of the vetting process whereby G4S deployed Mr Fitzsimons to Iraq.


Public & Administrative Law

Paul provides advice and representation in judicial review across a number of areas, including the criminal justice system, trafficking, criminal injury compensation claims, inquests, education, and land rights, particularly on behalf of gypsies and travellers. His experience includes judicial review of decisions of public bodies on behalf of trafficking victims, including the National Referral Mechanism. He is also regularly instructed in a wide variety of judicial review claims on behalf of prisoners, including decisions pertaining to parole, sentencing, and welfare in prison. Current and recent work includes:

  • A challenge to key aspects of the Secretary of State’s policy excluding prisoners who have previously absconded from eligibility for open prison;
  • A challenge to the exclusion from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme of persons with unspent convictions;
  • A challenge to a prison’s failure to provide a disabled prisoner with an adequate wheelchair;
  • Challenges to decisions by the Parole Board, refusing release or progression

Recent cases include:

  • Reilly v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council [2015] EWHC 1957 (Admin) (led by Marc Willers QC): representing the claimant, an Irish traveller who applied to quash the local authority’s dismissal of his appeal against refusal of planning permission for change of use of land.
  • R (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) v. First Tier Tribunal [2015] UKUT 0299 (AAC): successful submission, on behalf of the interested party, to overturn the decision of the First Tier Tribunal against awarding him compensation.

Actions Against the Police

Actions against the police are a principal focus of Paul’s practice. He has experience of advising on all types of claims against the police including false imprisonment, assault and battery, trespass to goods and property, malicious prosecutions, police harassment and misfeasance in public office, as well as of claims under the Human Rights Act 1998. He has particular expertise in privacy issues concerning the police. Paul’s current work includes the case of serial killer Stephen Port who murdered four men he met through a dating app. Paul is advising the victims’ families in seeking redress for possible operational failures in the police investigation of Port that may have allowed him to continue to murder and rape young men.

Prison Law and Immigration Detention

Paul provides advice and representation in judicial review, adjudication hearings, and Parole Board hearings. He also advises on sentencing matters and related claims for false imprisonment as well as all forms of judicial review on behalf of prisoners. Recent work includes advising Reprieve in the case of Andargachew Tsege, a British national and prominent opposition politician in Ethiopia, detained incommunicado in Ethiopia after having been abducted and ‘rendered’ from Yemen.

Paul remains committed to representation of prisoners, despite the stark cuts to legal aid provision.

International Law

Paul’s experience in international law includes pre-trial, trial and appeal proceedings before international tribunals – the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). He has particular expertise in the public law aspects of international criminal law, and recently represented the Libyan Government in two cases before the International Criminal Court, concerning the ICC’s jurisdiction in post-revolutionary Libya:

  • Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (International Criminal Court; led by Prof. Philippe Sands QC)

Paul’s previous work includes the following:

  • Prosecutor v. Stanišić & Simatović (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; Defence, led by Wayne Jordash QC)
  • Prosecutor v. Sesay et al (Special Court for Sierra Leone; Defence, legal assistant to Wayne Jordash QC & Sareta Ashraph)
  • Prosecutor v. Taylor (Special Court for Sierra Leone; assisted with advising Naomi Campbell on legal issues surrounding her testimony and status as witness)

Paul’s work was recently cited by the International Law Commission in its Third Report on Identification of Customary International Law.

He was also an author of an amicus curiae submission to the Constitutional Court of Colombia concerning the application of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of potential criminal liability of state military forces.

Before practising at the Bar, Paul worked for the UN as an Associate Legal Officer in chambers at the ICTY, and as Fellow of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute. Paul is also one of the founders of the ‘Critical Approaches to International Criminal Law’ research network.

Equality and Discrimination

Paul has experience of equality and discrimination work, particularly in the education context.


Paul has been instructed in extradition cases at both first instance and appellate level.


Lectures and conference papers

  • “Transitional Justice and Institutional Design: Towards a Structural Theory”
    University of Oxford: Taking Stock of Transitional Justice (26th-28th June, 2009)
  • “International Law in Real Life”
    Guest Lecture, Keele University (international law), 2008
  • “Illegitimacy and the Transitional Promise: Institutional Design of International Courts”
    Birkbeck College, University of London: International Political Theory and Critical Legal Thought (21st November, 2008)
  • “Victims’ Human Agency in International Criminal Tribunals”
    King’s College, London, UK 12th April, 2007
  • “Time and Human Autonomy: Where is the Root of Legal Legitimacy?”
    University of Wollongong, Australia: “Signs of the Times”: 6th International Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law (28th-30th June, 2007)

Beyond Practice

Paul’s interest in the law is both practical and academic. He is a Docent in Human Rights & Social Justice, with Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law & Policy. His previous academic engagements include research work at Harvard Law School, and teaching at both Durham University and Birkbeck College, University of London (in international law, criminal law, and contract law). Among other things, he also undertaken field research at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia concerning the involvement of victims in international trials.


Paul has extensive experience of international law in practice. Paul offers expertise in transnational legal issues, and has knowledge of civil law legal systems in practice. Having studied French law at undergraduate level, he also has practical experience in this regard as a result of both his work in international tribunals, and his experience as Stagiaire at Vovan & Associés, in Paris.

In addition to work in international law, Paul also gained experience in the field of domestic public law, having worked as a Research Assistant in the Law Commission’s Public Law Team.

Early in his career, Paul was inspired by work on a constitutional challenge to the death penalty in Uganda, led by Keir Starmer QC, Saul Lehrfreund and Katende, Ssempebwa & Co., before both the Constitutional and the Supreme Court. He is keen to further advance the cause of abolitionism through his practice and would be keen to take instructions in this area. He has engaged in voluntary work for several human rights organisations including The Coalition for Women’s Rights In Conflict Situations; the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre and Reprieve.


  • Harvard Law School, Institute for Global Law & Policy, Collaborative Research Grant, 2012-2015
  • International Bar Association Human Rights Institute Fellowship, 2009-2011
  • Arthur C. Helton Fellowship (American Society of International Law), 2008
  • Hague Academy of International Law Scholarship (public international law), 2008
  • 2007 ELSA World Trade Organisation Moot Court Competition: best written submission
  • Gray’s Inn debating team A, September 2004-June 2005
  • University of Leicester Music Scholarship, 2000-2004