Paul provides representation and advice in public, civil, environmental and international law. His practice includes judicial review, private law, inquests and inquiries, with a focus upon human rights. He is Assistant Coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Paul Clark is an established practitioner in the field of climate justice, as well as in international and domestic human rights law. He acts for the Applicants in the ground-breaking case of Duarte Agostinho and others v 33 States before the European Court of Human Rights - a challenge to the climate targets and policies of all of the state respondents - and has done so since its inception. He was also advised and represented ‘Climate Action Network Europe’ in Carvalho & others v European Parliament & Council ('the People’s Climate Case’) in which families and youth challenged the EU in order to protect their fundamental rights from the insufficiency of the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target. Other work includes advising on the human rights elements of Município de Mariana v BHP Group UK Ltd, following which the Court of Appeal gave permission for some 200,000 Brazilian claimants to pursue their class action for damages for the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Brazil. Having appeared before the International Court of Justice and several of the international criminal tribunals, he offers expertise in general international law that forms a key part of his practice in climate justice.
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 has been appointed Assistant Coroner for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.
Inquest touching the deaths of Terri Harris, her children, and Connie Gent (2023), representing the mother of Connie Gent and the father of Lacey Bennett and John Paul Bennett
An inquest into their deaths by Peter Nieto, senior coroner for Derbyshire, concluded at Chesterfield Coroner's Court that several serious systemic failures (as well as individual failures) on behalf of the Probation Service contributed to the murders. See press coverage: BBC News, ITV News, the Guardian.
Inquest touching the death of Diane Waplington (2016), representing her family
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 her family
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, recognise ongoing risks to Mohamoud, 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.
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.
Reilly v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council  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  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 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.
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.
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.
Paul remains committed to representation of prisoners, despite the stark cuts to legal aid provision.
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'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.
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.
Paul has been instructed in extradition cases at both first instance and appellate level.
Past notable cases can be viewed below. Click here to see a list of recent notable cases.
Paul 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)
Prosecutor v Abdullah Al-Senussi (International Criminal Court; led by Prof. James Crawford AC SC)
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.