Who? Jonathan Black (pictured), partner and solicitor-advocate at BSB Solicitors, London.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Michael Halliday, a gay British man who faced extradition to Dubai in the UAE where homosexuality is outlawed. Halliday’s legal team argued there was a real risk he would be tortured and unlikely to receive a fair trial on allegations of theft (Halliday denied the allegations).
District Judge Jeremy Coleman agreed, discharging Halliday on article 6 grounds (right to a fair trial). In addition, he found that Halliday was at greater risk because he was gay.
Thoughts on the case: ‘There must be few things more frightening than being woken by police who are instructed on a warrant issued by a foreign government to seek your extradition to face allegations that you know nothing of. You are taken to court represented by a lawyer you have never met in a courtroom you have never entered before and face a prosecutor who, although representing your own government, is acting on the request of the very state that you seek protection from.’
Dealing with the media: ‘The media were largely sympathetic. For my client it was a [big deal], he had a relatively senior post and there were older members of his family to whom he had not come out.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘Because with a degree in English and history, a failure in maths O level, a heart on my sleeve and a place on a CPD course, it was an obvious choice (oh, and there were also a couple of family members in the profession as well, from whom I took some careers advice).’
Career high: ‘Securing the acquittal in the case of a client prosecuted for murder as a result of a cold case investigation into the death of his former partner, whose remains were discovered in an allotment.’
Career low: ‘When we lost the appeal brought on behalf of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association [Black is a former president] and Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association against the unsuccessful judicial review claim brought against the Ministry of Justice.’