Mark Stephens CBE is the new co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI).
He succeeds Michael Kirby AC CMG, former Justice of the High Court of Australia, and was previously vice-chair and a council member.
Stephens was honoured in 2011 for his ground-breaking work in defending human rights and freedom of expression.
He joins existing co-chair Dr Anne Ramberg in heading up the IBAHRI for 2022/23.
Stephens, a partner at Howard Kennedy LLP commented: “I have throughout my career sought to promote and protect human rights and this is at the core of what I do.
“I am deeply honoured to be asked to serve as co-chair of the IBAHRI which, as part of the world’s leading organisation of international legal organisations, provides the platform to help promote and protect human rights and professional independence worldwide.”
Stephens has held several positions at the IBA, including on the media law committee advisory board and the legal practice division.
A stalwart defender of human rights and freedom of thought, opinion and expression, Stephens is an expert in constitutional law, IP, media and regulatory work, defamation, privacy, art and cultural property, data protection, trusts litigation and international arbitration disputes.
He is also a qualified mediator, and his cases include the defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against extradition from the UK to Sweden; and representing Zelda Perkins (Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant) in fighting against the non-disclosure agreements that kept the ex-film producer’s crimes of sexual harassment from being revealed.
Stephens also represented Washington Post veteran war correspondent Jonathan Randal in The Hague at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, subsequently establishing the principle of qualified privilege for the protection of journalists in war-crime courts.
He has twice been listed as being among the ‘100 most influential people in London’, by the Evening Standard.