The UK Advisory Board

Along with the International Steering Committee, the UK-based Advisory Board oversees EHRAC’s work and our strategic development. The members of the Board are: Samantha Knights, Dr. Chaloka Beyani, Prof. Joshua Castellino, Simon Cosgrove, Simon Erskine, Luke Harding, Natalia Prilutskaya, Sir Keir Starmer and Dr. Elizabeth Teague.

Samantha Knights (Chair), Barrister, Matrix Chambers

Samantha is a practising barrister at Matrix specialising in the areas of immigration, public and commercial law. She has been instructed on a number of high profile and test cases in her specialist areas and appears regularly in the higher courts in England and Wales. She regularly speaks at seminars and has published widely in her areas including a monograph entitled Freedom of Religion, Minorities and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2007). She has assisted EHRAC-Memorial in a large number of cases raising issues under the ECHR. Samantha is a member of the EHRAC International Steering Committee, and a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee.

Dr. Chaloka Beyani, Associate Professor of International Law, London School of Economics, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

Chaloka Beyani is Associate Professor in International Law in the Law Department, a member of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and former Chair of its Advisory Board, and a member of the Centre for Climate Change at LSE. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and served as Chairperson of the United Nations Special Procedures Coordinating Committee 2013-2014. In addition to teaching at several universities, Chaloka has advised a number of international bodies on issues pertaining to human rights and refugees. In Kenya, he sat on the committee to draft and prepare the National Constitution, and has served as an expert to the African Union. He has also drafted and negotiated 11 peace treaties. He is currently a member of the UK Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights and a member of the Steering Board of the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Sexual Violence against women in armed conflict.

Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean, School of Law, Middlesex University, London

Joshua Castellino is Professor of Law & Dean of the School of Law at Middlesex University, London, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, Ireland. He has held visiting positions in Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Italy. Having completed his PhD in International Law in 1998, Joshua went on to author and edit eight books, and several articles, on international and human rights law, among other subjects. He was part of the EU-China Experts & Diplomatic Dialogue and Lawyers for the New Millennium: Support for the Arab Law Union. He is currently on the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network where he co-chairs the Thematic Group on Social Inclusion, Gender and Human Rights.

Simon Cosgrove, CEO Rights in Russia

Simon Cosgrove is CEO of Rights in Russia, a charity based in the UK that works to publicize and otherwise support the work of Russia’s human rights defenders. Simon has worked on grantmaking programmes supporting human rights organizations in Russia for more than 15 years, both as team leader of the European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights at the Delegation of the European Commission in Moscow, and as human rights programme officer for the Russian Federation with the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He has also worked as a researcher on Russia at Amnesty International. Simon is the author of  Russian Nationalism and the Politics of Soviet Literature: the Case of Nash Sovremennik 1981-91 (Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke & New York, 2004) and also contributes occasional articles and book reviews on Russian affairs to a number of publications. He has a PhD in Russian history from UCL-School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London. Earlier in his career he trained as a high school teacher and worked in schools in London and rural Zimbabwe.

Simon Erskine, DChA, FCA, FCIE, Chartered Accountant

After graduating from King’s College, Cambridge, Simon worked for three years as the administrator of a homelessness charity before training as a chartered accountant with Arthur Young. In 1982 he established his own accountancy practice working for the voluntary sector. This merged with a similar practice which in turn merged with MHA MacIntyre Hudson in July 2011 where Simon became National Charities Technical Partner. Up to his retirement in September 2016 his clients included Greenpeace UK, Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties), CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), Refugee Action and a number of other charities and voluntary groups. Simon still advises charities on a freelance basis. He actively supports a range of charities and campaigning groups, particularly in the fields of the environment, international development and human rights. He was the Treasurer, and a trustee, of Freedom from Torture (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) for 25 years to 2014 and still serves on its Finance Committee.

Luke Harding, journalist & author, The Guardian

Luke Harding is a journalist, writer and award-winning correspondent with the Guardian. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and covered wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine. Between 2007 and 2011 he was the Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief. The Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the Cold War. His latest book “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man” was published in February by Guardian Faber. In June Oliver Stone bought film rights. Luke is the author of three previous non-fiction books. They are “The Liar: The Fall of Jonathan Aitken” (1997), nominated for the Orwell Prize; and “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” (2011), both written with David Leigh. The screen rights to Wikileaks were sold to Hollywood and the film, “The Fifth Estate”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl, came out in 2013. “Mafia State: How One Reporter Became an Enemy of the Brutal New Russia” appeared in 2011. His books have been translated into 20 languages.

Natalia Prilutskaya, Campaigner (Russia), Amnesty International

Natalia Prilutskaya graduated from the Law faculty of Tomsk State University and has since worked as a lawyer and as Senior Lecturer in International and European Law at Novokuznetsk Branch-Institute of Kemerovo State University. Her particular interests focus on human rights, including social rights and the position of older people no longer protected by being within the work force. She has published several articles on human rights issues. She also holds an LLM (Distinction) in Human Rights from London Metropolitan University, during which she undertook an internship with EHRAC and participated in several training seminars for lawyers and human rights activists conducted by EHRAC both as a trainee and as a trainer. Natalia currently works as a campaigner for Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Programme.

Sir Keir Starmer QC MP, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers (formerly Director of Public Prosecutions)

After studying law at Leeds University (LLB) and Oxford University (BCL), Keir Starmer was called to the Bar in 1987 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002. He practised from Doughty Street Chambers and was appointed Head of Chambers in 2007. His main areas of practice were human rights, international law, judicial review and criminal law. Keir was named as QC of the Year in the field of human rights and public law in 2007 by the Chambers & Partners directory, and in 2005 he won the Bar Council’s Sydney Elland Goldsmith award for his outstanding contribution to pro bono work in challenging the death penalty throughout the Caribbean and also in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi. He went on to work as a human rights advisor to the Northern Irish Policing Board until 2008, before becoming Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales until 2013. He has received an honorary fellowship from St. Edmund Hall (Oxford University), honorary doctorates from Leeds and Essex Universities, and has been appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2014 New Year Honour list, for services to Law and Criminal Justice.

Dr Elizabeth Teague

Having graduated with a BSc from the University of Surrey, Dr Elizabeth Teague spent a year in the USSR as a British Council student, before receiving her doctorate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied relations between workers and the state in Soviet Russia. She began her career as a Soviet affairs Analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, then moved to The Hague to work as an advisor to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, and an analyst at the Jamestown Foundation. From 1997 until 2012, she was a research analyst on Russian domestic and foreign policy with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working in British Embassies in Moscow and Minsk. Elizabeth was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012.