Who? Mike Pemberton, 37, partner and head of civil liberties at north-west firm Stephensons.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Lorraine Allen, whose application for compensation for the time she spent in prison following the death of her son Patrick was rejected by the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg court ruled that those acquitted of a criminal offence are not automatically entitled to compensation for a miscarriage of justice.
Allen was convicted in one of the high-profile ‘shaken baby’ cases of the manslaughter of her four-month old son in 2000 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. A child born while she was serving that sentence was taken away from her and placed for adoption. In 2005 her conviction was quashed after medical evidence indicated the conviction was unsafe.
The home secretary refused her claim for compensation because it did not meet the statutory criteria under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Thoughts on the case: ‘It was a David and Goliath case in which the government had a flank of representatives and Lorraine had a lone barrister before the Grand Chamber. The incredibly narrow basis for compensation under section 133 is a shameful indictment of our criminal justice system.
‘There is no legal aid available in the UK for ECtHR cases – you take cases on their strength and the client is responsible for the bills, though I shall waive my fee in this case.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The media have been sympathetic. It’s been a privilege to work with some of the journalists who have taken an interest in the case.’
Career high: ‘I’m privileged to have been part of a number of cases that have changed or made the law.’
Career low: ‘After this judgment I wrote the most difficult letter I’ve ever had to write – telling Lorraine that I can do no more.’